It’s Tea Time!

A few months ago, I attended my first political rally. Just two days ago (April 11), I attended my first political protest: Pittsburgh’s Tea Party. (Actually, Pittsburgh’s first Tea Party. Another is scheduled on April 15 at noon in Market Square downtown.)

If you haven’t heard, the Tea Party movement is spreading across the country (see how many places here) in tribute to the Boston Tea Party and its protest against excessive taxation. Tea Party-goers are against the profligate, wasteful spending of our hard-earned tax dollars by an overblown government out of touch with the people who hired it. Supporting the Tea Party Movement is not about being a Democrat or a Republican — it’s about being a citizen who:

  • Is tired of billions upon billions of dollars being spent in legislation our elected officials can’t even be bothered to read
  • Believes in the individual freedoms and responsibilities upon which our Founding Fathers built this nation
  • Wants less government not more
  • Is fed up seeing the fruits of his or her labor “redistributed” and our children’s future ransomed with debt

So, Mike and I were happy to join two or three thousand other folks near Pittsburgh’s Allegheny River under a glorious blue sky to practice our civil liberties. (Tellingly, the only TV report we saw said “hundreds” of people in typically biased fashion; other newspaper reports more accurately placed the attendance anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000.)

Dr. Alan Keyes, constitutional scholar and former ambassador to the United Nations under President Reagan, was the very articulate and inspiring keynote speaker. My favorite quote from his speech, which you can watch here:

If the thing is right, then you stand for it. And you don’t wait until someone else comes along beside, because the heart that maintains liberty is not the heart of the herd, but the heart of the individual. This country was built by those who understood that the wilderness could not be opened except  by those who are willing to venture forth alone if need be. That the new idea could not be explored, the new invention could not be created except by those who are willing to break new paths of understanding. And we must understand that no herd will save this country if we are not willing to stand alone if we must for the sake of its liberty.

By the way, he spoke extemporaneously — no teleprompters or even notes.

Here are some views of the day. Loved the signs. Loved the enthusiasm. Loved seeing as many people younger than ourselves as older. Loved knowing that we are not alone in our beliefs.

Pittsburghers love our Steelers and our homes.


We believe in the free workings of capitalism.


We are who we are — it’s a ‘Burgh thing.


Dr. Alan Keyes


It certainly is time.


It’s time to stand for what our forefathers stood for.


Thanks to organizer (and ordinary citizen) Robert Baehr and his Web site If you agree, scatter some tea — actually or proverbially — in your own life.

At the end of the day, there is only one sure bulwark of liberty:
that is the self-discipline, self-government, faith, piety, and
responsibility of every single individual who wishes to be free.
~ Dr. Alan Keyes
speaking at the Pittsburgh Tea Party
April 11, 2009


  1. Barbara Basham said,

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Dr. Keyes,
    Surely God has raised you up for such a time as this!

  2. Facie said,

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    When Alan Keyes ran for president in the ’90s, he was asked during one of those town hall meetings what he would do to stop the shutdown of government (at the time to save money, federal employees were being temporarily furloughed or something like that). Keyes said he would do nothing, that he thought it was a good thing (I am paraphrasing). I wanted to vote for him then, but he never made it past the primary. In truth he is a little too extreme for my taste, but I do appreciate a lot of what he stands for. And Lord knows I would love a smaller, less involved, less socialistic govenment.

    Good for you for going. I wanted to but was visiting relatives. Thanks for the pics; they are great.

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I didn’t know anything about Alan Keyes until someone sent me a link to an interview he gave prior to the last election. I found his eloquence and message impressive. So far, I haven’t heard him say anything too extreme or “out there,” though his overt Christianity and anti-abortion stance no doubt alienate him from many. I’ll keep following him and “the movement” in general. I’ve certainly never been an activist or even particularly political, but this is a cause I believe in.

  4. mel said,

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 10:13 am

    You GO, Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m jealous, but glad you and M were there to represent me, too. AND my sister and my uncle were there, too. Sounds like we got the wrong guy in the Oval Office…

  5. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Greensburg’s Tea Party is tomorrow at noon at the courthouse. We will likely go because it’s so close. Will be interesting to compare the two…

  6. Rita said,

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I feel the need to express a different viewpoint here. Speaking for myself, as someone who grew up in financially challenging circumstances, I wouldn’t have received an education if it hadn’t been for federal student loans, paid for by our tax dollars. And later in life if it hadn’t been for Medicaid and Medicare, my mother’s care would have been my financial responsibility–thus denying me of my own future savings, my home, and my well-being. Again, our tax dollars at work.

    I’m grateful. So grateful in fact, that I want to see the wealth spread around. I want the needy child who may be brilliant, who may hold the answer to many of our societal problems to receive as much support as we can possibly afford to give her, through our tax dollars so that she has the opportunity to succeed–for all of us.

    Whether it be unemployment compensation, or disability payments, or support for more education, I want to see my friends benefit from any social program they may need so that they have a springboard to a better life.

    And yes, I am willing to pay my taxes to see it happen. I view it as in investment in our collective future.

  7. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks, Rita. I appreciate your expressing your views. I too received student loans — the difference I see — I paid them back. On my own. And it took 10 years. Someone else didn’t pay them back for me. I always worked part-time to put myself through school. I’m all for programs that help fund education — as long as they are a hand-up, not a handout. I don’t believe anyone “deserves” a college education.

    As for Medicare, of course my own mother is benefiting from this program. However, should she need to have in-facility care, we will have to deplete all her resources first. Again, that is fair. She is not the government’s responsibility.

    I guess it comes down to, for me, that so much spending is not going to programs I consider valuable or worthwhile — and I don’t believe you can spend your way into prosperity. Every dollar in the Stimulus will be borrowed. (“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” indeed.) I really don’t want the government controlling the banks or health care. And I sure as hell don’t want tax dollars funding ACORN.

  8. Rita said,

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I hear ya, especially on the ACORN thing. As far as the banks go, I don’t like it either, but if you have time listen to today’s edition of Fresh Air from NPR. Not because it presents an opposing point of view, but because it does point out that the banks are on the verge of running this country instead of the government–not something any of us want, I think!

  9. Anonymous said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I shall hold my tongue and refrain from political comment! However, NPR, really?

    I was at the Market Square tea party with out of town guests. It was good to see Americans out and concerned. From this we can only hope tax unrest continues to grow and result in major reform. The solutions are simple it is the politics that complicate. It is time for a tax revolution!

  10. HAREHILL said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 10:53 am


  11. Facie said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I have no problem with some government help/handouts (which, yes, is the taxpayer helping). The reality is some people cannot give money to help others, and others just won’t do it, so you need someone to step in. But I have a problem with too much help, particularly to people who won’t help themselves.

    I am getting unemployent comp right now. However, I have paid into it for the 13 years I was at my job. So I am really just paying myself back. After all, I did not ask to be laid off. But I don’t think I should get it for years on end, as I found out a woman in my choir is. She said she keeps getting an extension. That goes not seem right to me. Eventually, you should take a job, even if it is for less money and you have to sacrifice for awhile.

    I also recall in high school two friends whose mothers quit their jobs so they could get financial aid and grants (they would be making less money). Both of my parents worked, so we used savings and some loans (yes, thank goodness for loans). But to this day, I still think about that one friend who got a ton of grants and owed nothing.

    I also take issue with Obama’s comment about being socialistic if he gives his peanut butter and jelly sandwich to someone else, or if he shares his toys. Either he does not understand what socialism is not, or he hopes those who are listening to him don’t. I may not understand a lot about it, but I do know it is not when you give something of yours to someone else.

    I am very heartened when I read stories about people coming from nothing and succeeding, and I am glad those people have been given opportunities. But it is the rest of them that drive me crazy!

  12. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Good article in the Trib this morning about yesterday’s Market Square Tea Party.

    Mike attended the Tea Party in Greensburg; about 1000 people he thought. He chatted with several people standing near him — one couple in their 80s and another man in his 20s. Quite a mix, including lots of people with kids and strollers.

  13. Rita said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    In reference to comment 9. Yes, NPR, really. The interviewee is Sim Johnson who describes himself as a practical centrist. He claims the feds and financial sector are too tightly connected. Here’s a link to a summary of the interview.

  14. this great country said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    The government takes too much of the workers’ money. The return to those paying is far too little and is much too great to those not paying. The problem with continuing down the road of socialism is that it creates incentive to NOT work, which contributes fewer and fewer tax dollars to the system, thus leading to total collapse. I’ve never understood how anyone can rationalize the good in taking money from one person and simply giving it to another? The US has plenty of social networks to help those in real need. And in the end, isn’t it better to provide for yourself before asking someone else to provide for you? I think it’s called responsibility.

  15. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I agree especially, this great country, about the point of giveaways creating incentive not to work. Even unemployment compensation (UC), which I think is a good thing and took advantage of 18 or so years ago when I was out of work, is problematic in this way. I took a temp job and as a result, had to jump through enormous hoops with UC to prove I did not in fact have full-time employment, didn’t go over any income limits, shouldn’t have to pay back benefits, etc. Talk about an incentive not to work! I guess I should have just sat around collecting my check rather than trying to get out there and earn something.

  16. Rege said,

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Rita has the answer! Nationalize the banks, that’s what the person who “describes himself” suggests.

  17. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I can’t see that that once it nationalized the banks, the government would ever “sell them back to the private sector” as Sim Johnson suggests. To quote the great Ronald Reagan:
    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

    Anybody up on this movement to audit the Federal Reserve? Sounds like a wonderful idea to me! (If companies have to be audited, why not the Fed?)

  18. robbie said,

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    The banks think that, too (never to sell them back to the private sector). Just read the CEO of Goldman Sachs is quickly putting together cash to settle its obligation to the government. Or was it Citi Group? Or both? See, all you socialists, even the big nasty banks and investment firms don’t want Big Brother in their house!

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