Friday, March 20, 2009

Tea Time In Edenton Once More

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

History has a way of repeating itself. On Oct. 25, 1774 in Edenton, a small colonial village in the province of northeastern North Carolina, the earliest known organized political action by women in U. S. history took place. Penelope Barker, along with some 50 women of the town, organized a tea party. Barker convinced the women present to stop drinking tea and buying English goods. Each signed a petition sent to England, declaring their patriotism and opposition to the tyranny of rule by the crown. The British leadership knew their grip on the colonies was further loosening.

Dr. Troy Kickler of the North Carolina History Project points out that, Edenton was a “hotbed for political debate.” The women at the tea party were basically saying to England, we’re standing with our husbands, families and fellow colonists, united in resistance to our oppression under British rule.

Today, America is a republic with elected legislatures at the national, state and local levels. It’s becoming clear however, that representing us is one of the last things many of our elected officials have on their minds. A new form of tyranny has emerged in the form of many elected representatives paying little or no attention to the will of the people, rather engaging the will of their respective party’s leadership and their often partisan agendas.

The “taxation without representation” slogan that originated from 1763-1776, was a result of colonists believing they lacked direct representation in the British Parliament. Who ever thought that slogan would jump off the pages of America’s history books to embed itself into our present day vernacular?

We are now living in an era of bailouts, spending sprees, so-called stimulus packages, earmarks and fiscal irresponsibility that are beyond the pale. In North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue recently proposed tax increases totaling half a billion dollars in her budget for next year. Ostensibly this spending is to stimulate the Tar Heel state’s ailing economy.

The trillion dollar stimulus bill passed by Congress, and signed by President Barack Obama was to be used primarily for stimulating our economy too. The president and those in Congress supporting this behemoth bill told us there was no time to waste. We must pass it immediately or risk imminent financial collapse, they said. This was such an emergency, they led us to believe, that there was simply no time to waste; apparently not even enough time to read the bill to see what was in it before voting to pass it.

Webster’s defines stimulus as “encouraging an activity,” in this case the government spending money to help our bruised economy recover from its current doldrums. In spite of the stated “immediate” need to act, the Congressional Budget Office reports that only 23 percent of the stimulus money will be spent in this fiscal year. In fact, the spending will occur in unequal annual increments stretching through 2015. The CBO had previously stated the recession would have ended by late 2009 without any stimulus.

Many conservatives opposed the stimulus bill, not only because of its enormity, but because it is too broad in scope. Instead of emphasizing long term job creation as the top priority, this bill was all over the map. Congress should have taken more time reviewing all options from both sides before enacting any stimulus.

In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, states that “Less than 10 percent of the bill could be considered true stimulus….” He goes on to say that “the other 90 percent of the bill represents one of the most egregious acts of generational theft in our nation’s history, with taxpayer money going to special-interest earmarks, and ill-conceived bailout to states…”

Our nation’s unemployment rate is 8.1 percent. North Carolina’s unemployment is just below 10 percent. In northeastern North Carolina Chowan County has an unemployment rate of 12.8; Pasquotank County, 10.6 and Perquimans County 11 percent. Currituck unemployment is 8.8 percent; Camden at 9.8 percent and Carteret at 10.2. Bertie County’s unemployment is at 12 percent; Pamlico, 9.3; Washington County 11.9; Wilson County, 12 and Edgecomb County at 15.6 percent. Dare County has the highest unemployment rate in the state at 17.3 percent.

In spite of these staggering numbers and the entire hullabaloo about “cuts” in our state budget, Gov. Perdue and the Democrats who control our legislature are proposing to increase spending and taxes in this state’s worst recession since President Jimmy Carter.

Folks across America are fed up. Tea Parties are being held in every state. Here citizen’s from all political persuasions will have the opportunity to show those who govern us that we the people have had enough; enough wasteful spending and enough pork; enough irresponsible tax increases and enough catering to special interests; enough corporate bailouts and enough political self interest.

Two hundred thirty five years ago a group of women, ordinary folks, met in a home in Edenton to protest the inequities of those who governed them. Their seemingly innocuous tea party helped forge the humble beginnings of the American Revolutionary War, and the ultimate birth of our republic. We will soon have an opportunity to follow the lead of these brave Edenton women, by reclaiming what is rightfully ours- a voice in the halls of governance that has been emasculated to a whimper.

On Wednesday, April 15th at 5 PM in the shadows of the old Historic 1767 Chowan County Court House in Edenton, ordinary citizens armed with nothing more than a symbolic tea bag can send the same message to those who govern us today that Edenton’s women sent to the English Parliament 235 years ago: We will no longer bend under the oppression we've endured all too long. We demand the voice of governance be returned to where it rightfully belongs; in the hands of the people. Its tea time in Edenton once more.

The huge debt being piled up on our nation is beyond belief. Everyone knows George W. Bush was fiscally irresponsible during his eight years as President. He became even more wasteful with the election two years ago of a liberal Democrat Congress. It was Bush, and this Democrat Congress that ran deficits to their highest level in history last year, including a questionable $350 billion bailout of the banking industry. Despite this, Barack Obama (with the even larger Democrat congressional majorities now in office) is going to increase our national debt more in the first two years than Bush did in eight years. This year Obama's deficit will be FOUR TIMES the worst deficit of George W. Bush and next year the deficit will be more than TWICE the record. Not a good start unless your goal is to raise the deficit so much you can brag about cutting it in half by only doubling the previous worst record ever.

Even the greatest economic power in the history of the world cannot stand such ignorant and wasteful spending. There used to be a saying "The only things certain are death and taxes." Barack Obama has changed that into "The only things certain are DEBT and TAXES."

Even fiscally cautious Democrats are becoming frightened by the huge debt being piled up. They are abandoning the Obama regime effort before it bankrupts our nation. The Tea Party movement is thus, a bipartisan opposition to crushing our nation with Debt and Taxes.

Please bring a tea bag and join us on April 15th at 5:00 PM on the Courthouse Green in Edenton for the SECOND Edenton Tea Party.

To find out more about the Edenton Tea Party, click here.


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