Sowden’s take on TEA Party’s

All Americans today enjoy political representation; in Congress, their state legislatures, boards of supervisors, city councils, etc. If it is not quite the representation of which they approve, well, then, the next election will be here soon enough. Why, then, a TEA protest at all?

Count me as one sympathetic to the TEA Party participants. Americans ARE taxed enough already. I believe, as Ronald Reagan professed, that Americans are not taxed too little, but that government spends too much. Less government spending is a necessary corollary to lower taxation. Government at all levels today is wasteful, bloated and largely unresponsive – citizens are correct to express righteous indignation at the fiscal excesses perpetrated by their lawmakers, whether in Washington, in Jackson, or their hometowns. Amen, I say!

Nevertheless, as an elected official, and one possessing the authority to vote for higher taxes, I hesitate to inject myself into what I think should be a citizen movement. It is not that I would feel hypocritical in doing so. Indeed, my political principles, and, if I may say so, my voting record, largely is in accord with the philosophy of the TEA Party folks. They are my kind of people.

But, the TEA Party movement should be one of citizens, not of elected representatives, no matter how well-meaning, nor of wannabe candidates for public office. I would strongly caution TEA Party advocates to carefully avoid the real danger of becoming co-opted by those with other agendas; even those with agendas with which you basically agree.

Elected officials are paying close attention to the TEA Parties. I know I am. I hear you and respect what you are doing, and many others in public office do as well. Hold us accountable. Demand that we do right. But keep us at arms length. Don’t embrace those of us who are part of government, even those of us whom you like and intend to vote for again.

Keep the TEA Parties a CITIZEN movement wholly separate and apart from elected officials, partisan agendas and candidates for public office. Only then can you truly hold our feet to the fire to do right by you.

Greg Snowden’s Clarion-Ledger Blog