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As we told you in our column of the 29th ult., we maintained our desire, and our intention to attend a Tea Party meeting, so that when we saw that they would have another meeting on the day after Independence Day, we resolved to attend and we did. This is our report of that meeting, and of our impressions and conclusions:
Despite the fact that the bad wind, thunder, and rain storm was just ending, the attendance was impressive, although it was probably swollen by adherents of one or the other of the three congressional candidates (Ron Bhalla, incumbent Chuck Fleishman, and Weston Wamp,) who were there for that forum, but it was well attended in any case.
The first thing getting one’s attention on entering the room (the central meeting room in the Kingston Community Center) was a huge banner bearing the wording “Original Tea Party Radicals” under a line of a half dozen eighteenth century portraits, including Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, as well as Dr. Franklin and two others whom we think were of Tom Paine and Sam Adams.
While we might argue as to the labeling of Gen. Washington as a “Radical,” no doubt George III thought he was one.
This presentation of the Pantheon of Patriots and identification with them certainly shows that the hearts, if not the minds, of the Roane County Tea Party members are firmly fixed in the right place.
And this is the impression we got and continued to have: That this local group are devoted, activist, patriotic citizens who want to do the right thing, but who have simply gone astray in their analysis of what the right thing is.
For instance, the group gave an enthusiastic response to a spirited clarion cry about the imminent dangers posed by a United Nations group’s Agenda 21, which they regard as the manifesto of enemies of the USA and its way of life.
While we have not read this proposal, and probably won’t waste much time in doing so, it seems that those on the right think it presents a clear and present danger to the life of the Republic.
As they, and others of the right-wing seem to be alarmed about it, we will no doubt hear much more in the future.
(Here we must digress to report that our first knowledge of the passions provoked by this U.N. position paper was a harangue delivered by a guest speaker from Knoxville at the recent “Reagan Day Constitution Dinner.” This lady, too, issued the clarion call to man the barricades against this onslaught of internationalist attacks on our life style. This lady was particularly outraged at the concept of “sustainability.” Well if truth be told, every one ought to question the sustainability of our current policies, especially our use of energy and what we are doing to the planet. Anyone who can understand that we are presently pumping billions of barrels — not gallons, but barrels — of material out from the internal structure of our planet and then burning that matter, whether coal, oil, or gas, and discharging the residue of that burning into the atmosphere, and also discharging poisonous materials utilized in the extraction processes into the water table should be concerned, if not alarmed by the sustainability of that process, and seriously studying what can be done about it.
The process of “fracking” currently used to extract combustible products has already been shown to pollute ground water, and even to produce small earth quakes. Yet there are ones who do not understand, or refuse to understand, the dangers of these activities for ourselves and our descendants. They continue to ridicule those who point out these dangers and blithely insist on continuing, even expanding the process, all for the sake of current convenience, and a few dollars profit, oblivious to future consequences. So, we cannot be upset that a United Nations body has looked into this matter. After all, the ones who apparently are so upset about this “global” body looking into conditions and activities affecting this globe, are not the least bit upset about international money men and their “global economy,” which does present a clear and present danger to the USA and the lifestyle of our country.)
To return to the meeting of the Fifth, the main activity was a forum for each of the Republican candidates for the nomination to seek the Third District Congressional seat to present themselves and their respective platforms.
Although there are four such candidates, Scottie Mayfield had sent word that he “doesn’t attend forums!”
The three who respected the ancient tradition of Republicans participating in debates were Ron Bhalla; the incumbent — Rep. Chuck Fleischmann,; and Weston Wamp, who were called upon in alphabetical order, resulting in Mr. Bhalla leading off.
As an immigrant from India, he was most impressive, and should be lauded for participating so actively in the political life of his adopted country.
Next was the current congressman, Chuck Fleischmann.
Although we vigourously contest many of his positions, we respect how he has, despite many handicaps from his early life, pulled himself up and achieved much success.
And, whatever might be his failings, we will always be grateful to him for taking on and defeating Robin Smith, who was supposed to have a lock on this seat in the last election.
But Chuck took her on and soundly defeated her to such an extent that she did not even suggest that she wanted a re-match. All true patriots who decry the sort of politics personified by the outrageous Robin will forever look kindly on Rep. Fleischmann.
Finally Weston Wamp gave, as he usually does, an impressive performance, displaying an agility on his feet, and grasp of the issues, that belie his youth and inexperience.
Probably the most profound statement uttered by any of the candidates was during the question-and-answer segment when Mr. Wamp observed that, if you read the Constitution you would have a hard time finding a place where it sets out a duty on government to create jobs.
This is such a self-evident truth that you would think that it need not be pointed out, but as everyone who has heard a speech, debate, or campaign commercial knows, everybody is crying out that it is the job of the president to create jobs.
We were pleased to hear young Mr. Wamp make this observation.
We are not sure the audience grasped the full import of the statement.
WW may not have himself, but we think he did. It brings to mind the famous anecdote when President Truman was asked if he thought President Nixon had read the Constitution, to which he replied that, if he has, he didn’t understand it.
From his statement, it is clear that Weston Wamp has not only read the Constitution, but he understands it.
We may attend another Tea Party gathering to see if the benign countenances of the patriots pictured on their banner incites them to re-examine their core beliefs and more closely align them with those of Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine, et al.
Note — our piece in the Roane Review this month is about our fight to overturn Ray Baird’s Firecracker Ban Bill.