Don't think for a second that the Tea Party Protest back on 27 February was the only one. Nope, that was just the opening act. The New Patriot Revolution is tracking several in-state follow-up protests; all leading up to the next National Tea Party Protest scheduled, fittingly, for our great national anti-holiday, April 15th.
Unfortunately, I missed the one on March 11th in Shelby Township. But I understand that there is one happening this Saturday, March 21st, in Kalamazoo at the Michigan Avenue Courthouse. Judging by the comment section on this post, Wendy and Joanie seem to know something about it. (Ladies, could you enlighten us please?)
Jason tells me that there was a follow-up protest in Cincinnati just a day or so ago that drew in around 5,000 people. My guess, if this is any indication of a national trend, is that the common folk are starting to get more than a little fed up with a government that's outgrown its britches. All it's going to take is critical mass, or one high-profile event, and the revolt against the political class will be unstoppable.
And let us absolutely not forget the next big nationwide event. Joanie's posted a bit about it already, but I'll go ahead and put it up here. High noon on April 15th, 2009, at the capitol steps in Lansing. Show up and make them listen to your voice.
I was reviewing some notes from my Professional Ethics class at Davenport University. One of the questions that I had to answer on Week 7 was "What is patriotism? Explain, taking the events of September 11 and the national reactions into account." My answer I quote here:
According to Merriam-Webster's (2002), patriotism is a love for or devotion to one's country; a patriot is one who loves one's own country and supports its authority and interests; and patriotic is behavior inspired by patriotism, or befitting or characteristic of a patriot. But what does it mean to be devoted to one's own country?
There are many who believe that a patriot should follow his country, right or wrong, but according to G.K. Chesterton, this is like loving one's mother, drunk or sober. And while we may indeed do these things, just as a true child's love for his parents will manifest differently depending upon the parents' behavior, so a true patriot will act differently depending upon his country's behavior. The fact of the matter is that the protections covered by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (religion, speech, press, assembly, redress) were purposely designed to ensure that the government would always be accountable to the citizens of this country.
Edward R. Murrow once said, "we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty." Likewise, James Baldwin, Carl Schurtz, Norman Thomas, Mark Twain, Margaret Chase Smith, and even Theodore Roosevelt agree that blindly following the government is not only unpatriotic, but morally treasonable conduct for the true American patriot. The true patriot knows that it is his job to call his government to account, and does so at every reasonable opportunity. Our text (page 555) says that the American patriotic tradition is to continually ask questions and expect that they will be answered.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Government passed the Patriot Act, which gave very broad powers to law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies; but according to some this same act at least risks, and in some cases violates, the very rights guaranteed to the citizens of this country. Many are now questioning whether or not the Patriot Act should be renewed as is. Ben Franklin once said that a country that sacrifices liberty for security properly deserves neither liberty nor security.
It should be noted that most Americans hold up as the original batch of patriots the Second Continental Congress (whose contribution to American history is the Declaration of Independence). Originally, the leaders of America were very loyal to the British crown, and broke with it only after exhausting every means of correcting the abuses of King George. Likewise, a twenty-first century (or third-century, if reckoned from 1776) American patriot will publicly call his government to account. This should not be done lightly or for trivial causes, but should focus on reasoned questioning of policies and actions that do not seem to square with Constitutionally correct behavior.
I don't know that Aristotle included patriotism in his list of virtues, but I suspect that he would have said that it, like any other virtue, has a Golden Mean between excess and deficit. If we follow the guidance on page 379 of our text, then the vices may be reasonably labeled disloyalty (deficit) and uncriticality (excess), with patriotism being synonymous with true loyalty. In keeping with Aristotle's philosophy that virtuous character is built over the course of an entire lifetime, though maybe not intentionally, Adlai Stevenson said that patriotism is "not a short, frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."
The silent majority are getting tired of being silent. We have had it with a government that refuses to answer to the people who have granted its just powers. It is long past time that we demand answers from those who have forgotten that they answer to us. I do not doubt that there are those in the halls of power who may consider our protests treasonable. Let it be so then, for I swore before God and Man to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. My first loyalty as an American is to her Constitution, and to the leaders of this country only insofar as they preserve, protect, support, and defend it. If treason is the charge, then I intend to enjoy sentence.