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Name calling, then and now

Published May 01. 2010 09:00AM

© 2010 Gordon Smith All rights reserved.

As a member of several Tea Party organizations, I am saddened by the commentary from some politicians and a few members of the press concerning our grass roots efforts to restore core American values. Tea party members have been called racists, terrorists, birthers and many other names. The fury of the attacks from our elected representatives, the President and the press proves to me that we are having an effect. Our meetings, which started out with a handful of people, now attract hundreds. Our protests in Washington, D.C., which attracted a few people on April 15, 2009, have grown to over a million on September 11. We expect at least a million people at the next large protest on August 28th.

So who are these people who are so vilified, yet remain determined? Many of us are "Baby Boomers" born after World War II. We grew up with Father Knows Best, Red Skelton and Jimmy Durante. Martin Luther King pointed out the racism in American in the sixties. We heard his message. Many of us marched in the civil rights protests that desegregated the South. We stood firm on the side of Equal Rights. We believed that every man, woman and child was created equal and deserved to be treated with respect. We stirred the nation to pass Equal Employment Opportunity legislation to encourage corporations to hire based on skills and capabilities, not on the color of one's skin. I believe that our actions in the sixties and seventies built the foundation for equality based society.

The press and the powers that be gave us a bad name then. They called us hippies. They believed that every one of us was high on dope and lived on free sex in communes. Most of us, including me, did not do drugs or communal living, yet they grouped us together because it made good press. They were just as wrong then as they are now. As we left our teenage years behind us, we matured into adults. Some of us were drafted. We got married and had children. We bought houses and we worked hard to pay for them. The pressures of raising a family in difficult times caused us to lose our political focus. We never lost our passion for doing what was right or supporting our country. But we were busy raising our families and schooling our children.

Once our children were grown, we had time to again monitor our politicians and what they were doing. As in the sixties we were outraged that Congress deviated from the constitution, bailed out corporations, and passed health care. The deficit is now so high that it cannot be paid for by our generation or by our children. We have left a legacy of debt for our grandchildren.

When we protested health care, the politicians and some in the press claimed that we must be racists, as we do not want health care for all. They forget that we were the ones that fought for and won the battle for civil rights in our country. Our actions then and now are not the actions or bigots or racists. We are the same people now as we were then. We are older but we have not lost our passion for our great nation. Now we protest the actions of tax and spend politicians. We know that the debt burden that we are bequeathing to future generations cannot be condoned in silence.

For this, those in power call us Tea Baggers or AstroTurf. It is much worse for the many democrats in our group who are called Republican Party pawns and puppets. Is being called AstroTurf any worse than being called a hippie? Have we morphed from hippie activists to geriatric, senile tea drinkers? I believe that we have not changed. We protested for equal rights as hippies. We protest now the excesses of our politicians, the disregard for the constitution, and the redistribution of income we worked a lifetime to save.

The common thread is that our generation will not accept wrongdoing. Then we protested discrimination. Today we protest against big government and irresponsible polities. We are a generation that holds true to our constitution, and our love for our country. Let those who are threatened by us call us what they want. They can't defeat the facts, so they are trying to discredit the messenger. Their foolish name-calling will not deter us for we know that we stand for freedom and liberty. We know our time is limited. Our actions now and in the November elections will preserve our nation for our children and our grandchildren. With our last breaths, we will pass the torch of freedom to the next generation so that the flame of liberty will shine brightly, now and forever more.

As always, I lookforward to your comments. Please email themto me at

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