1980 brought us the contest between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. While I hadn't dwelled much on politics during the preceding 8 years, I had reached a point where I had developed a genuine interest. I knew Jimmy Carter was not someone I was proud to call President. I paid attention to what Ronald Reagan had to say and I liked it. I wasn't able to vote until November 1981, but that didn't stop me from getting involved. I proudly campaigned for Reagan and was truly happy when he won his bid for the presidency. (And still am... I think Reagan may have been the most insightful president so far in my lifetime.)
Countrymouse grew up in a very Mother Earth News-conspiracy theory-liberal family. He started drifting more towards the middle after we met and Bill Clinton gave him the final push to full-on conservatism.
Unlike my own childhood, my pups are being raised in a *political* family. I don't think a day goes by that we don't discuss some issue. We speak in terms of liberal and conservative, not democrat and republican. My pups know the difference between socialism and fascism, what a republic is and why the Constitution is crucial to our country. They will all make their own political decisions one day, but I am confident they will get there knowing the basics.
This past week, Countrymouse, pup #4 and I had the privilege to exercise our First Amendment rights, which, among other things, guarantees freedom of speech and the right to assemble peaceably. We took the day off from work and school and traveled to Annapolis to take part in one of the many national Tea Parties held that day.
Many people, including some close to me, dismissed the Tea Parties and even mocked them. I find this offensive. These are the folks who freely exercise those same rights by involving themselves with groups like CODEPINK or ThinkProgress and other liberal causes. People like Janeane Garofalo feel empowered to run off at the mouth (and looking like a complete idiot, I might add) speaking about the Tea Party participants, "
Well, I have news for Ms. Garofalo, that ain't me.
Part of the greatness of this country is that we can each believe what we choose and we can live without fear of retribution. That includes Janeane Garofalo, even though she seems to believe you should only have that right if it lines up with her views.
Personally, I consider myself a libertarian; I believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life - as long as he respects the right of others to do the same. By the very nature of this, I think government should be as small as possible. This doesn't quite fit in with either of the major parties. Liberals, conservatives and libertarians are defined in the college textbook, The Challenge of Democracy: Government in America this way:
"Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas conservatives favor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or order." I think this is pretty spot on.
Although he really wanted to go, Pup #1 couldn't join us at the Tea Party. He did, however, send Countrymouse and me a text message in support (ahhh, modern technology!). In his message he quoted Alexander Hamilton, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything". Attending the Tea Party was taking a visible stand. Not agreeing with someones views doesn't make that stand any less meaningful. Disparaging someones stand only reflects poorly on the detractor. When the day is done, each one of us should be thankful that our country supports our freedoms and we have the ability to exercise them.