Tag Archive | "Fourth of July"

Whatever Happened to our Independence?

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Here we are once again: awaiting the day that we have marked to celebrate our independence from England through the birth of a new nation in 1776.


To most Americans, Independence Day is ushered in with picnics, cookouts, or visits to the seashore or mountains.  Whether in a park, on a city balcony, or from our TV screens, most of us will view the fireworks displays as the day’s culmination.  But in celebrating the Fourth of July, how independent are we, truly, as a people and a nation?


In 1776, the people and nation experienced the dream of being set free from tyranny (taxation without representation in England’s Parliament).  This was an era when men and women were responsible for carving out their own destinies.  Then, America was wide open, a vast and as yet largely unexplored land holding the promise of unlimited opportunities.


From the wilderness, pioneers created log cabin homes, farms, and eventually, towns and cities.  Basically, these hardy, brave settlers lived off the land for food, shelter, and clothing, with the raw materials supplied by Mother Nature.  Those were the days when we were truly independent.


Two hundred and thirty five years later (the year 2011), how things have changed!  America no longer has the unencumbered opportunity and land to equate to true independence. Government, major financial institutions, and legislation have all changed the true meaning of independence.


True home ownership will never exist in the land of the free and the home of the brave, because such undertakings are encumbered by taxation and interest charges. One would think that the freedom for which we fought as a new nation would protect honest homeowners from such situations.  These situations include the Sword of Damocles known as potential loss of home due to a recession that is, in actuality, a lot closer to an actual depression.  So much for the time-honored cliché, “A man’s home is his castle.”  Or a woman’s, for that matter.


Since the birth of this nation, government has manipulated laws and taxation to created dynasties; they’ve dubbed these dynasties “Departments.”  Each Department has a Head as well as lots of staff whose salaries and perks have added to our country’s financial woes.  The taxation that we viewed as unjust, the taxation that stimulated the birth of the United States of America, has now become stifling to our independence.  We have, you see, become more and more dependent for our very existence upon our ever-ravenous, tax-siphoning government. 


On July 4th, 2011, as we watch the display of fireworks and other entertainment in Washington DC, try not to choke on your hot dog or hamburger when they hand you the bill.  What bill?  Why, the one that will incur more taxes for average citizens due to the cost of the DC celebrations, of course!


How strange and unjust and plain insane is it, to view such costly festivities on national TV, including patriotic songs, Old Glory waving proudly, and “bombs bursting in air” in a country that is going broke?  When you have the answer to that, you’ll also have the answer to the question, “Whatever happened to our independence?” 


The Cryogenic Tongue and Other Fourths of July Past

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There is no moral to this story.  Neither does it contain a caveat or even a philosophical issue to be pondered.  It is simply the indulgence of a writer casting her mind back upon the sweet and innocent Fourths of July of her youth, when time seemed to stand still as it can only for the young.


Stevie Wonder was sending me into ecstasy each time My Cherie Amore floated out of my little transistor radio.  Whenever that radio cranked out the dirty bass beats of the Stones’ Satisfaction or Paint it Black, my mother made the Sign of the Cross (oh, why couldn’t her eldest daughter follow those clean cut boys, The Beatles?!?).  The Stones were the least of her worries, at least until I hit my mid-teens. Had she known that my grandmother was sneaking me fat, juicy peaches marinated in red wine out the side window of her kitchen — a forbidden, summer-only treat — my mother would have said a novena!


In those long-ago summers, my kid sister beat every other kid on the block with her hula-hoop feats: she could do more than 200 gyrations without breaking a sweat and she performed them with utter grace.  Roller skates — real metal ones with four wheels — were all the rage, and God help you if you lost your skateboard key!  The forest that had once carpeted my neck of the woods in Brooklyn, before my birth, was gone.  But my neighborhood still clung tightly to some pleasures of the past while welcoming innovations like color TV (which my family could not afford).


The milk man still made deliveries, and every morning, my grandfather fished two fresh bottles out of the aluminum box on our stoop: one for him and my grandmother and one for my family, who lived on the floor above them.  On summer mornings, the bottles were sweaty and the elixir within them cool and sweet.  Just after sunrise, before the sun climbed high in the sky to bake small children and the patience right out of their mothers, a horse-drawn cart clopped beneath my window.  A man behind the reins sung out cheerily, “Strawberries, blueberries, ch-her-heries!” Long before the Internet was invented, this was a much simpler way to have goods delivered right to your door. “Stop him!” my mother would cry madly, and my sister and I would holler down to the man with the horse that our mother wanted to buy some fruit.  The other ladies on the block all congregated around the wagon, too, trying to wheel and deal a bargain.  Looking down from our second story windows in the early morning light, the bed of the truck appeared as a pile of jewels, each variety neatly housed in wooden cartons: green striped watermelons, pale netted cantaloupes, ruby cherries and strawberries, dusky blueberries, and all manner of fresh vegetables.


Hailing from a small island off the coast of Naples, my grandmother, a magician on many levels, had transformed our tiny backyard into a lush urban farm.  The fig tree was the central figure in summer, and if you have never tasted a ripe, juicy fig plucked fresh from its tree, I pity you.  Herbs and zucchini also grew there, and we ate the deep yellow flowers of the squash (delicious when batter dipped and fried) as well as the vegetables.  The entrance to the backyard was a wooden trellis, crafted and painted white by my grandfather. Over this, my grandmother had trained what I came to call her “wild roses” (the roses in the front yard were genuine showstoppers).  With every waft of a warm summer breeze, my little backyard was perfumed with the scent of pink and red roses climbing all over that trellis, as well as the small cream-colored ones spreading profusely over our back fence.


With all of this vegetation, our yard was too small for even a kiddie pool.  So I took full advantage of Kim’s pool.  Kim was my best girlfriend, and on a hot summer day, I’d brave that pool even though I knew that Donald, Kim’s cousin and my nemesis, was waiting to drown me.  At least it felt like that, as he’d hold me under the water long enough so that I was sure my lungs would burst and I’d soon come face to face with Davy Jones in his locker.  Born a Scorpio and no dumb bunny, I’d plot my revenge and lie in wait for the best time to exact it, which was usually the Fourth of July.


Kim lived around the corner and down the block from me, but she may as well have lived in a foreign land.  Although she had four children and a paying job in the days before women burned their bras, Kim’s mother spared no effort pulling out all the stops for her kids, her family, and her friends, particularly when it came to the holidays.  Her Fourth of July fetes were her pieces d’ resistance.


Because I liked to cook, I was allowed to help out in the kitchen.  Every Fourth, I’d stare fascinated as Mrs. J. injected one fat watermelon, over and over like a hapless hospital patient, with medical syringes.  Those syringes contained vodka.  She’d carve a symbol on that particular watermelon to distinguish it from its non-alcoholic brother, put it aside to marinate, and fix me with her eye. “For the grownups,” she’d drawl, and then add conspiratorially, “I’ll sneak you a little piece later, okay?”  I’d brew the iced tea, from scratch, cut up the lemons and oranges to float within it, and pile Mrs. J’s endless homemade salads into serving bowls.  Donald, who lived one flight below Kim’s family, always had to be chased from the kitchen as that good-looking devil filched the goodies and wrecked mayhem upon the cook and, of course, the cook’s helper.


On a hot Fourth, the climb up and down the long flight of stairs and around the big house into Kim’s backyard, to cart and replenish the food and drinks was hell on the adults.  Or so they said.  I became their “angel”, offering to take charge of that particular chore.  Donald was invariably lurking in the shadows to pester me, and on a few Fourths, I caught him with his tongue stuck to the ice cube compartment in Kim’s fridge.  It was hot in the backyard, Donald’s middle name was Trouble, and the frosty icebox too much of a temptation for him.


While the adults reveled in the sun, growing happier and happier with each swig of their Tom Collins’s, my nemesis and I were all alone in that kitchen.  Whatever Donald was blathering at me with his tongue stuck to the icebox, I couldn’t rightly decipher.  But I got the gist of it, all right.  He wanted me to bail his sorry ass out.  Standing small beside him, I looked up him with gleeful murder in my eye as I told him not to move and I’d be right back with some boiling water … to pour over his tongue.  In whatever junkyard that old fridge now rests, DNA testing will prove that a certain Donald K. of Brooklyn, New York was intimate with it.  Rather than suffer my brutal ministrations, Donald ripped his tongue hastily off the icebox, leaving many a taste bud behind.


Prior to these Fourth of July bashes that culminated in fresh strawberry ice cream hand-cranked by us kids and the biggest and best fireworks display for miles around, there were some very lean and trying years in Kim’s family.  Those years, my family had to be content with grilling hot dogs and burgers on a little hibachi in our own backyard.  We sat on Adirondack chairs that my grandfather had brought back from yes, the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York.  The striped, Joseph-coat fabric on those chairs was already faded when I was a kid, but they were sturdy, and my sister and I were so small, we needed help getting out of them.  We all drank lemonade out of tall, bright aluminum cups the colors of jewels.  And after the dogs and the burgers, we’d enjoy slices of sweet watermelon and honeydew, with the juice running down our chins.


Long before Mayor Rudy Guiliani outlawed fireworks in New York City and its boroughs, my parents were terrified of the dangers that would befall their daughters if we tarried with fireworks.  My mom had grown up with a kid stupid enough to put his eye to the neck of a bottle that contained a rocket, a kid who wound up losing that eye.  And my mom had shared that story with my father.  Fireworks, therefore, were the tools of the Satan!  But, my sister and I managed to cajole my dad into buying us sparklers. So that’s all we had, sparklers bought from the candy store in those long red, white, and blue cardboard boxes.  As soon as the sun had set, my dad would light the sparklers and my sister and I would hold them up and write our names in the sky.  They were magic and beautiful and sometimes, we’d get singed slightly by the flying sparks.  But we never told, for that would have been the end of the sparklers!

One Fourth, my Uncle Steve swung by the house, asking where were the real fireworks “for the kids.”  When we explained that we didn’t have any, and why, he jumped right back in his car, drove to the other side of Brooklyn, and returned loaded for bear.  I don’t know what was more fun, watching my dad throw a fit or watching my uncle laugh his head off, and delight in our glee as he set off mat after mat of firecrackers and tossed those little exploding balls down on the ground.


One year, I was lucky enough to have three or four Roman candles. The secrecy surrounding those Roman candles must have rivaled that with which the CIA guarded its carefully culled intelligence.  Into this caper, I conscripted my cousin, Joe D.  I’d been blessed with great boy cousins, and Joe D. was my all-time favorite.  The son of my mother’s sister and her husband, Joe was a sweet, extremely bright kid a little more than two years my senior.  Unlike Donald, Joe did not seek out trouble (well, most of the time, anyway) but trouble seemed to dog him nonetheless.


One summer day, with the Fourth of July approaching, Joe told me about the Roman candles that he and his buddies had set off the year before.  When I asked what Roman candles were, his dark eyes grew as large as saucers.  He was floored.  I’d never seen a Roman candle go off!  I hadn’t lived!!!  The way he described the Roman candles, they put every other firework to shame.  They were gorgeous, miraculous, spectacular!  Joe then deemed that my ignorance of Roman candles had to be rectified, and soon — but how?  He couldn’t invite me to his house to set the fireworks off there, for he’d be nailed by his parents.  And he couldn’t set them off in front of mine, for he’d be nailed by my parents. We conspired, then, or perhaps I’d twisted his arm, to meet around the corner and up the block from where I lived, for there were no grown-ups there who knew us well enough to rat on us.


I don’t remember what I told my folks about where I was headed for a few minutes.  God knows what Joe had told his.  Once we rendezvoused, my cousin drew the verboten items, with reverence, from a rather ordinary looking brown paper bag.  They were small, narrow tubes that looked not only innocuous to me but pretty dang boring.  Casting furtive glances around him, Joe stuck the first candle into the ground, lit it, and jumped back, hollering for me to do the same.  I prayed I would not lose my eye like my mother’s childhood friend. I prayed I would not be incinerated as a penance for my disobedience.


As I watched with delicious anticipation, three tiny colored balls of fire shot out of the tube: green, blue, and red. They reached the astronomical height of about four feet, maybe five, and then immediately fizzled. Clearly, I was not impressed. Joe lit another one and the same thing happened.  Ditto with the third and the fourth.  The look on his face told me that he’d let me down, and I didn’t mitigate it any.  Finally, I said, “Don’t worry about it.  Uncle Steve will be by later with the noisy stuff, to tick off my parents.”  “Oh, the noisy stuff is cool!” Joe agreed enthusiastically.  Truth to tell, I’d forgotten this little story until I began to write this article


My Uncle Steve has passed on, as have both of Joe’s lovely, funny parents. My grandparents are also gone.  My grandfather, who wasn’t supposed to have made it out of World War I alive, reached the age of 80.  My grandmother was 93, en route to party at the local senior citizen’s center (no lie; she was a party animal), when her heart finally gave out.  Joe moved way down South, landing in the city that gave birth to my favorite musician-singer-songwriter even before that musician had been born.  Joe’s eldest child, my beautiful second cousin, will take her wedding vows this October.  I have no idea where Kim and Donald are now. I know that God was just in Kim’s case by sending her a handsome, loving doctor to marry.  I met him once.  I hope they are very happy.


I do know that Uncle Sam nabbed Donald as the Vietnam war reached its zenith.  He returned unscathed, at least physically, even better looking than before and yet, very much changed.   We met once, briefly, and I sensed that he was interested in me, and not just romantically. I think he’d wanted to share something with me, maybe open up a bit about what he’d seen and done in a jungle so far from home. I think he knew that his cousin’s childhood best friend, who was no longer pug-ugly and who had finally grown some curves, and who’d been feisty enough to outlive his torture, could take whatever he needed to tell me.  I think he sensed that, in return, I would offer him some honesty.  Perhaps all he really wanted to do was apologize to me for those childhood pranks. But Scorpios have long memories and I was not quite ready to forgive him.  So he sped off in his little yellow Carmen Gia and I never saw him again.


Looking back, I’m sorry that I didn’t blow off my part-time, college-tuition-paying job that day, go down to Coney Island with Donald, put our feet in the surf, and talk.  While Vietnam was changing Donald, other forces were at work, changing me profoundly — more than the usual forces confronting every normal adolescent.  But there hang other tales.


Each year, I find that I change a little bit more.  Each year, those sweet, gloriously simple Fourths of July spent on a Brooklyn stoop and a friend’s pool move a bit farther out of my reach.  Thank God for my memories.  They are as bright and welcome now as the sparklers on which my sister and I wrote our names in the sky.

Independence Day

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I’ll bet I know what you’ll be doing this Fourth of July.  You’ll be at a barbecue, either in your back yard or that of a loved one or a friend.  You’ll be noshing on hot dogs and hamburgers, swilling down a cool brew or two.  You’ll tell a few jokes, laugh at others, and slurp some sweet, juicy watermelon. Finally, you’ll settle in as the sun sinks low to enjoy a dramatic fireworks display.  A moment before those bombs go “bursting in air,” I invite you to do something a bit different this Fourth.  I invite you to meditate upon the true meaning of the holiday and its place in all of our lives.


In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776, representatives from the thirteen original colonies gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence.  Based upon the conviction that all men are created equal and that those men — and women — must have a voice in how they are governed, the infant nation of America was formed.  Our Founding Fathers had taken a stand, and a gigantic leap of faith, in breaking away from England in order to enjoy the freedoms they’d deemed God-given, freedoms for which they, and many others, fought hard.


Since that first Independence Day, this country has seen many wars, too many.  But, we have also seen enormous achievements and great prosperity.  From sea to shining sea, our nation has been blessed by an abundance of resources and the most beautiful and diverse natural “architecture” the world over.  You create what you envision, and so, the concept of Manifest Destiny birthed wagon trains rumbling over our fruited plains, wagon trains laden with brave and hearty pioneers.  Headed into a great unknown, the pioneers were driven solely by their indomitable spirit and the desire to make better lives for themselves and their families. From the forests, the streams and lakes, and the plains, those pioneers carved outposts and farms that bloomed into towns, cities, and eventually, States.  Now fifty in number, each bright star on our flag symbolizes one of our States.  Together, those fifty States forged a large, strong, and proud nation.


History repeats itself, indeed.  We patterned our Constitution, indeed our nation, upon that of France, which had liberated herself from the tyranny of a government that cared not a whit for its people.  However, the emergence of our nation also mimicked that of another country, or rather, an empire.


The Roman Empire was the superpower of its day.   Rich in culture, art, and monetary means and bolstered by a strong army that conquered outlying lands, ancient Rome’s arms stretched deeply into Mesopotamia (the Middle East) and as far as what is now the United Kingdom.  An Emperor presided over this vast and mighty realm, much as our own President heads the U.S. today, and her government boasted a Senate: an official forum in which representatives from Rome’s various city-states determined how their government operated.  The government was Imperial in nature but built upon a Republic whose core principle was, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  This form of government set the standard for future governments the world over.  But despite all her glory, the Roman Empire only survived for approximately 300 years.


Scholars and historians attribute the fall of the Roman Empire to the social, economic, and military changes taking place within her.  Other contributing factors were the moral decay of her people as well as governmental officials whose attitude had become self-serving, downright cruel, and even psychotic (i.e. Nero and Caligula).  Does any of this ring a bell with you — as in the Liberty Bell?  Does it sound at all like the America in which we now live?  Our government has been in existence for 234 years.  Where are we headed in the next 66?


This Fourth of July, as you thrill to the fireballs bursting brilliantly in the sky, you may well consider how many more Fourths you, and your children, and your grandchildren, will spend in this manner, with something to celebrate, something uniquely American.  Consider whether or not you wish to revive the spirit of our Founding Fathers and the pioneers who followed them, driven by their independence, vision, and gumption.  Do you wish to take a stand in how our government is run, or are you content with the status quo?   Do you want this nation to continue, and to flourish, despite the tough times we have faced in recent years?  Or will you watch as we crumble into dust like the Roman Empire?

Reflections on Independence Day

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Fireworks

July 4, 2009 marks the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thus establishing the United States of America as a new nation.  The reason that the Thirteen Colonies determined to separate from the mother country was widespread disagreement with Great Britain’s “taxation without representation,” the practice of taxing the colonists without granting them a voice in Parliament.  Our Founding Fathers reacted to this tyranny with the first peaceful, anti-government demonstration conducted upon these shores.  Dumping carton after carton of tea (a major staple for the colonists) into the Boston Harbor in protest of taxes, the protestors took part in what came to be known as the Boston Tea Party.  The rest is history.

 

233 years later, America stands at another crossroads, deciding whether government will make certain choices for us or whether once again independent citizens will choose their own destinies.  These revolve around issues that include but are not limited to the proposal for a national health insurance plan, a major controversy.

 

It is my contention that the introduction of insurance into this county was the beginning of another round of taxation without representation.  Mandatory insurance coverage, as sanctioned by our legislators, was intended to protect us from the pitfalls of life.  However, insurance carriers are strangling us with premiums. AIG, the giant of the industry whose motto was “Never outlive your money” had to be bailed out by the citizens of this country to ensure that they could live up to their own motto!

 

As with auto insurance, legislators are considering bills that would make health coverage mandatory, at the risk of a hefty fine for violators.  Before the institution of mandatory insurance coverage — during the Great Depression, for example — the family doctor solved everyone’s medical needs.  He did not charge his patients co-pays and even made house calls at no extra charge.  And we all survived nicely.  Now with a national health insurance plan on the horizon, the cost for such an initiative will once again fall upon the shoulders of the already overburdened taxpayers.  If this is not taxation without representation, I don’t know what is.

 

As we celebrate the dream of our founding fathers on this 233rd Fourth of July, I wonder what they would say about the state of the union today.  Would they cry, “Give me liberty or give me death?”  Would they depend on the Constitution that they authored to protect the independence of our citizens?  Would they, recalling the Boston Tea Party, rise up in protest?  Almost one thing is certain about those men and women who were courageous enough to establish this country and fight for its independence.  They would not “go quietly into that good night;” they would not, meekly, like sheep, accept a governmental edict with which they did not agree.  They would, at the very least, make their voices heard. 

Tea, Anyone?

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Boston Tea Party

On July 4, 1776, patriots from the 13 British colonies in North America declared their independence from England and formed the United States of America.  Decrying “taxation without representation,” colonists demonstrated their displeasure with British rule via acts of civil disobedience, the most famous of which was the Boston Tea Party.  233 years later, a new group of self-proclaimed patriots is again expressing its displeasure with the direction of government.  Alarmed by high rates of taxation and plans to further expand the scope of government at all levels, a loose affiliation of groups from around the country have dubbed themselves “Tea Party Patriots.”  This weekend, in concert with Fourth of July festivities, they will conduct 1300 events across the country and anticipate more than 1 million participants.

 

On July 3rd at the “Green” in Summit, New Jersey, several hundred citizens from the general area rallied in support of this nascent movement.  They came to listen to speeches, sign petitions, and voice their general disapproval of the direction of government at all levels.  Many carried flags and signs critical of universal healthcare, pending cap and trade legislation, and current political figures including President Obama and Governor Corzine. One man wore a shirt bearing phrases from the Declaration of Independence.  Many people bore hats or accessories indicating affiliation with military and other organizations.

 

Political candidates consonant with the viewpoint of attendees circulated among those gathered.  Tents and tables were setup to facilitate collection of signatures.  On one end of the “Green” was placed a wall of posterboard and a table with post-it notepads.  Participants wrote and posted messages.  Among the messages were “Legalize Liberty,” “Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians,” “Just Say No to Socialism,” and “Send Illegals Home Now and Save Trillions on Healthcare and Education.”

 

From a podium, a number of speakers shared points of view, among them a self-avowed Presidential candidate, Warren Mosler, who explained monetary policy in some detail and the Libertarian Party Gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming election, Ken Kaplan, who beseeched the audience to consider the possibility that a third-party candidate might actually win this year’s election.

 

The real stars of the show, however, were those ordinary citizens who, without expectation of personal gain, expressed their opinions clearly and persuasively.  One such individual who inspired those in attendance was Barbara Summers of Plainfield, New Jersey.  One of only two minority members in attendance, Barbara, an African-American mother of three, grandmother of four, and a lifelong Democrat, electrified the audience with her personal experiences with public healthcare and her recounting of the failures of government in general.  When asked what motivated her to appear and speak, she stated that she was witnessing “her country fall apart before her eyes” and that “half the country doesn’t know what’s going on.”  In response, she vowed to “keep knocking on doors” and to “stand up for America.”  When asked to what she attributed the lack of African-Americans and other minorities in attendance, Barbara indicated that many people were uninformed.  She further indicated that she was the only member of her family who did not vote for Barack Obama, indicating that she stands with the philosophy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and judges candidates “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

 

Another such ordinary citizen was Joe Schilp, a video producer and State employee.  Joe gave an impassioned speech detailing the large tax burden endured by the citizens of New Jersey, quoting “53%” as the combined tax rate (federal, state, municipal) paid by the average New Jersey family.  A father of three and lifelong resident, he indicated that the birth of his children motivated him to become more active politically.  He is concerned about the direction of government and doesn’t want to leave his children with a “socialist state where the government controls everything.”  Stressing that he is not a professional politician, he expressed his concern about the growth of government and established goals of “getting liberty back, getting tax money back, and…stopping government from growing so fast.”

 

Regaining liberty and control over government were themes common to both speakers and those in attendance.  Among those in attendance were a young couple John and Nora Brower and their adorable young daughter Angelina.  With a sign saying “You Bankrupted My Future,” the Brower’s message was clearly in tune with that of the speakers and others in the audience.  Tim Adriance, an organizer for NewJerseyTeaPartyCoalition.org from Bergen County, historical restorationist, and historian with no less than fifteen ancestors in the American Revolution, believes it essential that the message “preserve your liberty” be impressed upon every citizen.  He further indicated the Federal government has overstepped its Constitutional bounds, infringing upon the rights of the individual states.  On the Fourth, he and his group will march as a contingent in the Ridgewood, New Jersey Fourth of July Parade to increase public awareness of the current threats to liberty.  Brian Arnesman of Morris County attended because he “felt it was time to stop just speaking with [his] vote and…to do something more”  Travelling by motorcycle with a group of other bikers, Brian relished the opportunity to meet and speak with other like-minded individuals.

 

A common theme among speakers and attendees alike was dissatisfaction with both Democrat and Republican parties.  While no surprise that the more liberal Democrat party would receive low marks from the Tea Party Patriots, the loudest boos were reserved for Republicans considered turncoats by virtue of their abandonment of conservative principles.  New Jersey Congressmen Leonard Lance, Chris Smith, and Frank LoBiondo were pilloried for their alignment with the Democrats in recent House passage of cap and trade legislation.  Even a local Republican candidate criticized Congressman Smith as an example of Republicans who had “compromised their ideology” to gain reelection.  Richard Piatkowski, Republican State Assembly candidate for the 19th Legislative District, shared this and other views while circulating among the event’s attendees.  Pointing to a public works project in Perth Amboy, he tied cost overruns to campaign contributions to the Mayor and his 19th District opponent, flagrant examples of “pay to play” in New Jersey..

 

Perhaps the most unique political perspective was that of Neil McGettigan, President of the Objectivist Party of New Jersey.   Convinced that the upcoming Corzine-Christie race does not provide New Jerseyans with a real choice, McGettigan and his group are promoting a write-in candidate, John Galt, as a protest vote.  Now, if you are wondering who John Galt is, he is not a person at all, but a character from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.”  In the dystopian novel, Rand depicts a United States that has fallen into socialism.  Tired of the dictates of the government, society’s innovators and producers, led by the mysterious John Galt, progressively disappear from society and start their own, one of absolute freedom.  The Objectivist Party, according to McGettigan, wants to “go back to the Jeffersonian ideal.”  And, by writing in John Galt for governor, you can send that message.

 

Will the Tea Party movement, with well-known supporters including Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, succeed in reversing the course of big government and returning power to “we the people?”  Only time will tell.  But, if the enthusiasm of those attending the Summit Tea Party is any indication, one of their own will be sipping tea in the Oval Office in January 2013.

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