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Melissa Kaufler: Does the tea party represent you?

Democratic Voices

Posted: September 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: September 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.

People all across America have very important votes to cast when they make that trip to the polls Nov. 2. They are faced with the decision of choosing to vote for a Democrat, a Republican or a member of a frightening new party. For those who realize we cannot return to the Bush era or worse, the choice is clear. Others who wish to return to the Dark Ages will cast their vote for a member of this radical new party.

Since the 2000 election of George W. Bush to presidency, America has seen a new type of right-wing conservatism that we now know as "neo-conservatism."

Since early 2009, an even more conservative and alarming movement known as the tea party came onto the political scene.

It came bearing politically (and grammatically) incorrect signs of protest, with misplaced aspirations to "take America back" from Muslims and socialists (as if either of those is inherently evil).

First of all, let's establish what this "tea party" really believes in and stands for. Its main focus is to substantially shrink and permanently limit the size of the federal government. Most Republicans and conservatives strongly agree with that, and we all know how I and many other liberals feel about it.

But there seems to be a flaw with some tea party candidates, like Christine O'Donnell, who recently won the senate primary in Delaware.

O'Donnell is a member of this tea party that believes in "limited government," meaning the government has very little involvement in the lives of its citizens. I find it peculiar because O'Donnell founded and presided over an organization called SALT (Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth), with the sole purpose to not only tell young adults to be abstinent, but to also refrain from masturbating.

This contradicts O'Donnell's strong beliefs, and is highly intrusive for someone who is favor of a government that is not deeply involved in the lives of its citizens. But for O'Donnell, I guess this doesn't apply.

Another self-proclaimed focus of the tea party is to preserve the Constitution. But again, we see a contradiction in O'Donnell's philosophy. She was a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, which is a political-action committee that would like to see biblical principles reflected in legislation and judicial decisions.

I find that interesting because it plainly states in our Constitution that there shall be no law made "respecting an establishment of religion," which means no preference of one religion over another. But O'Donnell clearly seeks to implement legislation that reflects Christian teachings.

Reinstating prayer in school is on her list as well. She is also pro-life, which is a position I can respect, but I also respect the right to choose.

Sadly, O'Donnell opposes abortion even in cases of incest or rape. She feels women will just simply get through it, yet she has no understanding or compassion for what it would be like to experience something so traumatic.

With the possible election of this woman to the U.S. Senate, Americans are right to fear a return to an extreme, uneducated and dark time in history when such outrageous restrictions of freedom were mandated by people in authority.

I find it terrifying this woman is one election away from having policy-making powers that would not only affect her own state of Delaware but the rest of the country, because of how extreme her votes in the Senate will be.

I am aware that one or two extremists alone like O'Donnell could not set in motion this feared retrograde of modern civilization, but is one of many who potentially could.

If uninformed Americans elect one extremist, they can always elect more in the future, which is what many people have failed to realize. Unfortunately, Christine O'Donnell is only one example of numerous tea party candidates with very similar views who are appearing on ballots all across America this November.

This is why it is so important that people, especially my younger generation, get out and vote in this election. It's not only up to liberals and moderates in this country, but it's up to the youth, whose future is seriously threatened.

As Vice-President Joe Biden recently and rightfully said, "This is not your father's Republican Party. This is the Republican tea party - the party of repeal and repeat."

Valencia resident Melissa Kaufler is a Hart High School graduate and political-science major at College of the Canyons. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.


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