Tonight I attended my first Tea Party/ 9-12 meeting. My friend Jill and my neighbor Brad were at the Caucus meeting last week and we got to talking. Brad has attended some 9-12 meetings in Bayfield so he suggested we have a meeting closer to us. Jill was really excited about the idea and so was I... So we did!
We met at the Grange building and we told people about it through email and facebook. I asked Brad if I could give a short presentation and I thought we would be lucky to have 20 people. I convinced John to come with me and our dear friend Lanae made it possible by running our kids around and watching the little guys (Thanks!) When the meeting got started we had 60-70 people there! I was pleasantly surprised though somewhat intimidated by how few of the faces were familiar. It was nice to see several faces of folks in the ward. :) I showed a quick clip from the 'School House Rock' series of my youth about the Preamble to the Constitution. I told how when I was young, the Constitution was taught even on Saturday morning cartoons. I asked for suggestions from the crowd on books we can read to Educate ourselves on the Founding Fathers and their original intentions. We got lots of great suggestions. I then talked about Unification. We need to strengthen our Families, neighborhoods, communities, church groups, etc. We need to be sure to talk to those around us and invite them to get involved. Our families and communities are the building blocks of the country and we need to keep them strong. Then of course there are Elections. This is where we will make a change. We need to encourage good candidates and be sure we know who we are voting for. I personally do not want to see any 3rd party candidates and it sounded like most others agreed. I think it went well. :)
We then heard from Wendy Cox who is a 9-12 Group leader out in Bayfield. She told us about her adventure to Washington to protest the passage of the Health Care Bill. After her we heard from 2 Republican Candidates. Walker Stapelton is running for State Treasurer and just happened to be in town (I called his campaign and invited him to speak to us). We then heard form J Paul Brown, a local who is running for our Congressional Seat in the Colorado legislature. Both emphasized a desire to return to conservative fiscal policy which was encouraging to me.
I think the meeting dragged out a little bit at the end, but went well overall. Lots of people signed up for email notification on our next gathering and were very interested to become more involved in the political process. That was so encouraging to me! I have serious concerns about our increasing debt levels and the sheer size of the Federal Government. I think Health Care reform is essential, but I do NOT think more government is the answer. I think the Republicans failed for YEARS and while I have to acknowledge that the Democrats have at least done SOMETHING, it is certainly NOT what I believe the country needs. I am glad that people want to get involved and let the government know what it is they want. I think we as citizens have been apathetic for too long and we need to let our leaders know what we want so they won't misunderstand. I feel that the best government is close to the people at either the local or state level. I think a Federal government that is too large or powerful is ripe for corruption. I am hoping we can swing the pendulum the other direction although I think it is certainly harder to shrink the government than it is to grow it. I think we should be helping our neighbors, but I don't think it's the governments job to see to that.
We will have another meeting in 2 weeks where we will organize and set a course. I am so encouraged by the level of interest expressed. People want to get involved. They want a voice. They want to make a difference. That is what makes our Republic great and I am glad that so many people want to see it through. You know people have to be fired up if we could fill up the Grange on a Tuesday night! I am excited to see if we can keep the momentum going and continue to get the community involved.