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Is it time for a Tea Party in Edgefield County?

A Column by the Editor
web posted February 8, 2010
COLUMN – I had an interesting weekend noting the birthday of one the greatest presidents to ever be a resident of the Oval Office - Ronald Reagan, who would have been 99 years old on Saturday. A president who inspired the nation not demonized it. A man who admired the greatness of the American people, not its government. A man who was proud of America, not one who apologizes for it. A man who showed that conservatism works every time it is tried.

I watched the speech by Sarah Palin at the Tea Party Convention in Tennessee on Saturday night (Video by CSPAN) and saw some of that same “proud American” spirit in her and the thousand or more who attended. And I watched the liberal “major media” attack the very people who speak of freedom, lower taxes, a limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the Constitution.

You know, those silly out dated things that founded the greatest country ever on the face of Earth.

Then I thought about what makes the Tea Party movement so powerful. It, like our government is supposed to operate, is from the bottom up, not the top down. Its power comes from the people, the people that politicians are there to serve, not the other way around. They are willing to stand up and be counted and hold our political “ruling class” accountable by replacing them with public servants.

America has awakened from her slumber and is very angry because she is suffering from a hangover from the drunken spending by Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress in the last year. A record debt so large my grandchildren will still be paying for it.

But on that same premise, our current out-of control federal government is not the only problem; we have problems at the state and local level as well. And that is where you matter the most, and the Tea Party movement knows this, just as Washington fears it.

You, the individual, are a party of one. You are who empowers the necessary evil known as government, as our founding fathers described it. It gains its power from you. It has to have your permission to even exist. You, the individual, knows that the US Constitution does not grant you any rights, it handcuffs the government from infringing on your God-given rights. It limits government, not you.

And the place that you are the most powerful is at the local level. America has awakened from her slumber of complacency, when will the rest of Edgefield County awaken from theirs?

Last year we saw Merriwether and the Westside remove two long serving members of the county council and replace them with true conservatives, Genia Blackwell and Rodney Ashcraft. Sadly, the ruling majority, who has controlled the county for nearly two decades, were left in place to continue doing “more of the same”.

The same failed policies that have seen industry after industry leave our county. The same failed leaders controlling every aspect of our local government - including trying to lure other industries actually looking to relocate to our county. Obviously, they have failed, but they are rewarded by being kept in their positions by the old guard of the county council.

With all due respect, their ideas and their appointees have had twenty years to do something positive and grow our county with little or no success. It is time to try something else. It is time for someone else to hold these three seats on our county council. And it is up to you to make that happen.

It does not matter if they are Democrat, Republican, or Independent, what matters is that new ideas and new leadership takes control and, as Johnston Mayor Willie Campbell said recently, we “begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” of the problems we all face locally.

Maybe it is time for a Tea Party in Edgefield County. I know there are those connected to the movement in our county. Maybe they should do what others have done and grow the power of “we the people” at the local level.

If the people of this county begin holding their elected leaders accountable more often we would be a more attractive county to relocate to as business and industry leaders would be greeted by business professionals and those willing to work together to grow our tax base.

We could see our county council place our needs ahead of their wants and the pet projects of the political ruling class.

We could see term limits for county council members and appointed officials.

We could even see our county leaders elected on their ideas and abilities, not their party affiliation in gerrymandered districts, by making the elections non-partisan.

We could see Edgefield County once again rise to be the example followed by other counties.

It all depends on you. The individual.

Run for office, help a candidate you believe in get elected, make phone calls, write letters to the Editor, volunteer, educate others on the issues, and vote. Even more important, get four or five other people to also vote.

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