2020: The Year of the Citizen

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by Brendan Jennings

American citizenship is under attack.

The past few years have seen the cheapening of American citizenship in a variety of actions taken by federal, state and local government officials. From judicial, executive and legislative incursions into our 2nd Amendment rights to government coercion against religiously-formed conscience to speech codes on college campuses to the virtual invasion of illegal aliens along our southern border and their forced insertion into communities that had no say in the matter, the last decade has seen a systematic assault on American citizenship by our supposed leaders.

This assault, in each case, has been led by well-funded so-called “Progressive” groups and individuals. There is usually some “social justice” reasoning given for each attack on our citizenship. “Public safety” is the reason commonly given for a variety of ever more intrusive gun control measures that target law-abiding citizens rather than criminals. “The rights of others” is the excuse for bakers, florists and others of faith coming under attack for standing up for their inherent free exercise of religious conscience. Providing “safe spaces” on college campuses helps to explain the illicit restrictions on free speech. Giving refuge to those allegedly fleeing from persecution, often across the ocean from another continent with little in common with Western culture, is the most-cited excuse for the government-sanctioned invasion of tens of thousands, most of whom will be dependent on government (i.e., taxpayer-funded) benefits for the duration. The reasons matter not. The results are always the infringement of one or more of our Constitutional rights.

We have long seen this as government of the elites, by the elites and for the elites – and nobody else.

Now, in all fairness, the American public voted for a lot of this by voting for nice-sounding, politically-correct, emotionally-charged progressive pieties. But most did not consider the results of choosing to give government centrists greater control over the levers of government power – more government-sanctioned coercion to make citizens dance to whatever tune government leaders and bureaucrats decide to play.

Americans of today have been conditioned by 60 years of government benefits to expect the government to do things for them. One of the most common phrases I’ve heard in my lifetime is, “The government really needs to do something about that.” Most don’t really seem to care what that “something” is – they just want to see someone ELSE take action. And most of the time, that action involves government spending, which is about the most inefficient way of doing anything these days.

Well, I’m here to tell you enough is enough. 2020 will be a year marked by a massive pushback on these and other affronts to American citizenship – if and only IF you are willing to get more involved in the political process, your community and your family life.

Nobody else is going to stand up for good citizenship better than us. This year, the Chattanooga Tea Party needs you more than ever to help us stand up for good, conservative government for our citizens. That will require some of us to go to county commission, city council, school board and other meetings that are likely to have some influence on decisions our elected officials will have to make. If our elected officials do not see or hear from us, we might as well not exist. It will take many of us voicing our opinions through telephone messages, emails or letters to our elected representatives (letters delivered by the post office still carry a lot of weight, according to many elected officials). And, since this is a campaign year, it will be important for many of us to talk with relatives and friends about issues and engage with them to help influence their decisions based on the information you and your fellow Tea Party members have shared.

And I will ask for your attendance and participation at our monthly meetings, at least as many as you can attend. Those of us setting up these meetings are doing so strictly as volunteers, because we believe voluntary, independent associations like the Chattanooga Tea Party will be the best way we can hold our elected officials accountable for their decisions.

2020 is an important year for our nation, our state and our county and local cities. Please join us so that, together, we can make it a year that our voices as citizens are heard – and heeded.

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