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Steve Lunetta: It’s time to (tea) party

Right About Now

Posted: April 18, 2010 11:23 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
“In America, it’s always easy to find party. In Soviet Union, Party always finds you.”
— Yakov Smirnoff

The phrase “tea party” sounds so innocuous. It conjures up a vision of little girls with stuffed animals sitting around a table, drinking pretend tea and munching on scones (probably goldfish crackers). And then Buzz Lightyear, pointing at the funny fedora on top of his spacesuit exclaims: “See the hat? I’m Mrs. Nesbit.” Yes, tea parties can be viewed as fun and fanciful.

And then there’s the tea party that wreaked havoc on the Boston Harbor ecosystem. All that tea and caffeine in the water must have kept the halibut and scrod up all night. Where was SCOPE? Where was the Sierra Club? Busy for Earth Day, probably.

The latest tea party is a movement of folks motivated by a variety of issues. The most important, of course, is the reason why the movement bears the name that it does — a protest against taxation without representation. This is why all that lovely Earl Grey got dumped overboard in 1773.

Many around the nation feel that government has grown too large and is spending tremendous amounts of money. This money is obtained by taxing the populace at an incredible rate.  

Here in California, we are well aware of this phenomenon, with the some of the highest personal, sales and business taxes in the country.

But other things are bugging the tea partiers as well. The recent debate over the health care plan has driven folks to the tea parties in droves. The strength of the movement has probably tripled over this one issue alone.

Add in further incentives such as anger over TARP bailouts, a perceived socialist president and a sense that government is no longer responsive to the will of the people, and a crucible has been created from which the most significant conservative movement in recent years has arisen.

It is not to be taken lightly.

However, tea partiers are often painted as racists, bigots, violent homophobes, puppy haters and Evil Incarnate. This is very strange, as it seems like they are middle-class, mostly conservative, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens.

Yep, there are also more than a few gray-hairs in the crowd. But, in my experience, these are the folks to whom we should be listening. The older generation has been there, done that. They have the wisdom and knowledge to help us in these difficult times.

To ignore them would be foolish.

Often, however, the Eastern Elite that seems to be running the country and the media these days scoffs at this wisdom with a condescending dismissal of any viewpoint that does not agree with their own. This is truly unfortunate.

The black Democratic congressmen who claimed that racial epithets were hurled at them by the tea partiers were truly distressing.

Not that their unfounded and unprovable claims were true, but that they would attempt to smear so many good Americans with shouted claims of racism.

Another fine gentleman was at a tea party function wearing a shirt that exclaimed “Arrest Bush.” Of course, a camera crew followed him around in the crowd, hoping for a single indiscretion that would be splashed across the evening news.

Funny thing: No one attacked the fellow in the shirt. There was no need to. The cynical ruse was seen for what it was — an attempt to smear a noble and clear cause with a contrived situation that, quite possibly, was the machination of a leftist group or the media itself.

Why does the left fear the tea partiers so much that they would go to any length to discredit the movement? The answer is simple: The strength of the movement is growing and will change the balance of power in November.

President Obama will face a Republican Congress that will actively resist, if not reverse, many of the ultra-liberal policies his administration has brought upon America. A reinvigorated right has been born from the irresponsible and callous policies of the left.  
Interestingly, common sense is making a fashionable comeback. Blue Dog Democrats, seeing the failings of their own party’s policies, have become fiscal conservatives to reign in the growth of government.

As Yakov Smirnoff stated many years ago: “In America, it’s always easy to find party.” Maybe it’s time for you to go find a party. A tea party.

Steve Lunetta, a Santa Clarita resident and quite a partier himself, can be reached at His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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