Column by David Reynolds
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Or should that be, “Tea, everyone?” A few million of my closest friends are having a party. Please join. But I must warn you, there are long lines forming from both the political right – and the left! Still, the bandwagon won’t leave without you.
Surprised? You need not be. What a week! It was also an early Ground Hog’s Day. Americans came out of their winter holes to see the light. And they discovered that they were not alone.
So, what happened last week? Of course, it was important because it started in Virginia. (Sorry, Massachusetts, that was a nice election day surprise party you put on, but as we like to say in Mr. Jefferson’s land, “I’ve been to Plymouth, it is no Jamestown.”
In Richmond at high noon on the 16th, in front of our man’s masterpiece, a Republican, one Bob McDonnell, was sworn in as our governor. (Bob’s hand, and not Creigh’s, was on the Bible because Bob ran his campaign out of Richmond with Virginians on his staff. Creigh’s campaign was run by those across the river from his Alexandria kindergarten.)
You remember the Republican Party? It was the elephant everyone buried in oh-eight. Well, somehow the elephant has risen from its grave. Its terrible sounds are scaring away donkeys.
Back to the week that was.
Forty-eight hours after Mr. McDonnell became governor another elephant, this one in a true blue state said, “I do.” I know, there is no reason to go to New Jersey except to see the shore in the summertime. But, my friends, the times, they are a changing. So Chris Christie, no lightweight, was sworn in in front of Trenton’s War Memorial Building, a building that will not win a Jefferson architectural award, but does have plenty of free parking. So why big Chris instead of rich Jon? Could it be that Barack campaigned in the Garden State? Hmm. I also believe something else runs through New Jersey besides a turnpike. It is little sanity. NJ did its tea party thing against high taxes.
Seven hours later that evening our new governor delivered his State of the Commonwealth speech. It was a preview of the latest incarnation of the Grand Old Party. In case you missed it, please don’t be upset. It will be rerun tonight following Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address. I wonder if those who voted for the president wanted change this way. And this fast. A Republican governor in office for only eleven days debates a Democrat president over a full year in office!
Now you know the rest of the story. Twenty-seven hours later Senator Kennedy was buried a second time. I have a feeling that Teddy would not have been that upset. He, too, was getting tired of all the referrals to his seat as the Kennedy family seat. As with the Mass voters, he knew it was the people’s seat. And Ted knew the meaning of the word Congress — to come together. There are those at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue who do not.
And you know what New England patriots do when not playing football? They party. The first tea party was held just a short Paul Revere ride from the Copley Plaza where a freshly minted senator was talking straight to his supporters. (Afterwards the television pundits threw the curve balls.) As any school kid used to know, it was held in the Boston Harbor. Now, 236 years later, its waters cover 342 chests of King George’s finest English tea. We have gone full circle. What a great country!
Yep, the Grand Old Party did the old hat trick. Independents in three states went their way by 2:1 and 3:1 margins. In politics, losers normally tack to the center. But with Ted the sailor gone, the old Dems are lost at sea. And the new ones are untested.
Now what? How do we take back America? Many ways. Here’s a few. Respect all groups; but get rid of the dependency class. Allow everyone to speak for themselves; we are fully capable. Don’t short change anyone’s God given abilities; government has been known to do that. Capitalism is a human institution, it has its faults; but so does government. Do away with villains; big is not always bad. Restore representative government; allow all representatives a say, regardless of political party. And one more: Keep America as the best place in the world in which to get sick.
We need strong governments, not national paternalism. We need federalism to make a comeback. It is our Founder’s second best idea. Maybe we can have all federal employees be required to name all fifty states. It should not be hard. My ten-year-old grandson can do it. But he has humility.
That does it for this week, except for this: With whom do you wish to have tea? The king or the people? I’m a people person.