EDITOR’S NOTE:Â The following is Michael Boldin’s “Tenther Rant” at the end of Episode 17 of TRX: Tenther Radio, which airs live online every Wednesday at 5pm Pacific Time at http://radio.tenthamendmentcenter.com.
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In a recent interview with a reporter from the BBC, I was asked – â€œIs the Tenth Amendment Center affiliated with the Tea Party movement?â€
My answer? Â â€œWeâ€™re affiliated with the Constitution. Â When people in the Tea Party take proper constitutional positions, we applaud them. Â When they donâ€™t, we educate – or when needed – we blast them.â€
The reporter seemed a little stunned. Â He was given my contact info as someone who could help him put together â€œviewpoints from the Tea Partyâ€ on some recent economic issues. Â He researched our website and seemed certain that the Tenth Amendment Center was a tea party group. Â He pretty much asked me, â€œare you sure – what is it, are you with the Tea Party or not?â€
My response was the same. Â The only thing that the Tenth Amendment Center is â€œwithâ€ is the constitution. Â And furthermore, since our organization was founded in 2006, a few years before the Tea Party explosion, shouldnâ€™t the question be the other way around?
The fact of the matter is this – we work with Tea Party groups all the time. Â Many have sponsored our Nullify Now! events around the country, and many others reach out to us with questions. Â And, as long as people from these groups are interested in learning about the Constitution, weâ€™ll be more than happy to educate and lead.
When talking with strict constitutionalists, Iâ€™m often asked – â€œDo you think it might be a bad idea to participate in events with the Tea Party groups? Â People might think you support all their goals, and many of them take positions that are totally repugnant to the principles of the Constitution.â€
To verify that view – and the concern – you donâ€™t need to look any further than tea party leaders like Michelle Bachmann or Herman Cain.
Bachmann proudly voted to extend the Patriot Act – a wildly unconstitutional act that Judge Andrew Napolitano called the â€œmost hateful piece of legislationâ€ in over 200 years. Â She regularly twists the Constitutionâ€™s meaning by claiming that the federal government has control over health care in the states. Â She refers to Mitt Romneyâ€™s awful health care mandate as â€œunconstitutionalâ€ instead of a â€œbad idea.â€ Â Is she proposing that the federal government go in and stop Massachusetts from making their own decisions in this area?
Her house vote against letting states make their own choices on marijuana might be an indicator of her view of the constitution and centralized decision-making. Â And no, itâ€™s not good.
Herman Cain is no better. Â He supported the TARP bailouts that took money from you and gave it to politically-connected corporations. Â He considers the Patriot Act â€œabout 90% right on.â€ Â And, this week’s republican debate, while praising the inflationist Alan Greenspan, he lied about his opposition to an audit of the federal reserve. Â Even worse, just look at his website. Â In reviewing his positions on the issues, he doesnâ€™t name a single program or department that would be completely eliminated. Â Even Obamacare would be repealed, but â€œreplacedâ€ with something else. Â No mention of the fact that the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in the health care industry at all.
On ten major national issues covered on his website, the word â€œconstitutionâ€ isnâ€™t mentioned even once. Â Not one single time does Hermain Cain say that a program, act, or department is unconstitutional. Â With just thirty powers delegated to the federal government in the constitution, he has plenty to choose from. Â Â If the word Constitution is off-limits to this guy, is he even interested in it?
So, no, with bad constitutional positions like these – and many others – I donâ€™t consider the Tenth Amendment Center as part of the tea party. Â We are more than happy to work with and educate Tea Party leaders and activists as long as theyâ€™re willing, though.
THE OTHER SIDE?
In recent days, Iâ€™ve been hearing the same kind of questions – â€œdonâ€™t you think itâ€™s a bad idea to be involved with these people?â€ – but directed towards a different group of protesters, the Occupy Wall Street groups. Â Like the Tea Partyâ€™s general consensus that government power is too big and taxes are too high – which I agree with – I find myself also opposing some of the things these new protesters appear to oppose. Â Wealth redistribution to the rich? Â Happens every day, and itâ€™s not good. Â Bailouts to banks and corporations? Â Unconstitutional and economically destructive.
The best way to sum up what Iâ€™ve seen from them so far was a sign in New York – “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
Absolutely true. Â But many, if not most of the solutions Iâ€™ve heard offered from Occupy Wall Street protesters are things I vehemently oppose. Â More regulations, more government control, more centralized power. Â These have nothing whatsoever to do with our mission for the Constitution. Â And because of this, the Tenth Amendment Center is absolutely not â€œpartâ€ of the Occupy Wall Street movement – just like weâ€™re absolutely not â€œpartâ€ of the Tea Party movement.
Some people have suggested to me that because of incorrect, constitution-violating solutions like these being offered by people at Occupy Wall Street, we should have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Â We should even be wary of simply going there and talking with them – trying to educate people on different, better, and constitutional positions.
Itâ€™s almost like saying – â€œyou donâ€™t agree with me already, so Iâ€™m not going to talk with you!â€
The fact of the matter is that we want to talk with everyone. Â Our mission is to educate people on the proper role of government under the constitution. Â And whether itâ€™s people from the Tea Party or from Occupy Wall Street, many, if not most, have plenty to learn.
If we only wanted to talk and work with people who already had it right, weâ€™d not only be idiots, but weâ€™d be wasting our time. Â This would be like demanding that a university only accept fully-licensed, practicing doctors into a pre-med program. Â Whatâ€™s the point in trying to educate people who are already educated?
All this makes me think of a great quote from Sun Tzu – â€œthe enemy of my enemy is my friend.â€
These days, as a constitution-supporter, weâ€™ve got enemies all across the political spectrum. Â And, until we recognize the need to connect with and be peaceful with all of them, with a goal of educating them in mind, weâ€™ll just be spinning our wheels in the mud.
With adherence to the 10th Amendment becoming a growing concern for Americans, we arenâ€™t part of any other movement. Â We are our own movement. Â Small, but growing, our efforts must continue no matter what. Â And, as long as someone is willing to listen, weâ€™ll be willing to talk.