By Danna Reubin
On July 4th of each year we celebrate Independence Day. For many of us – moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmothers – the day is filled with family BBQ’s, picnics, the raising of Old Glory, and evening festivities of fireworks, music and laughter. Since arriving in this country in 1983 – and more so since earning my citizenship – Independence Day has become my favorite holiday of the year. The very idea of Independence strikes a chord in a first generation immigrant. It is the goal realized as the reason for our travels to this land. In America, women are fortunate to have the same level of “independence” granted to men, unlike in many countries around the world. I recently looked up the word “independence” in Webster’s and found these three definitions:
1. Not subject to the control of others
2. Not requiring or relying on another person or thing
3. Not looking to one for other’s opinions, and guidance in conduct
Then came the epiphany. These three things are at the very core of the Tea Party movement.
Women in America have always fought for independence. We played key roles in every step of American history. We won universal suffrage. We have fought hard to work and are now paid an equal wage for equal labor and talent. At the same time, we still maintain the option to stay at home raising a family or even a combination of career and motherhood. When feminists cast their lot with American Progressives, little did they realize that – rather than gaining true independence – they would be trading one master for another. Instead of being told what to do by a husband, they are now being told what to do by Big Mommy, the Nanny State.
Through the Tea Party movement, we stand as a coalition of citizens who realize our Federal Government has strayed so far from these foundations of independence that they have almost flipped the equation from a Government made up of the people to a Nation consisting of a citizenry of dependents. Today, if our Representatives in DC think they know the truth about a matter of practical importance, they enlist the power of the State to force all citizens to conform to their ideas. As we are all so painfully aware, those new regulations ultimately result in obligations for one segment of the population while another segment receives unwarranted benefits. Since creating rights for one class of people conversely creates obligations for another class, we are no longer advocating “independence” as the word is classically defined. Now, we are fast approaching an Orwellian era of Newspeak where a word which used to mean one thing is redefined by Government to mean just the opposite.
Let’s take a look at the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. The rights defined by these documents are generally rights to non-interference by society. We profess to believe in Rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Bill of Rights guarantees free exercise of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, the security of persons and property against searches and seizure. Later Amendments define the abolition of slavery and the right of all citizens to vote. All our treasured American Rights and Freedoms are recognitions of our natural individual freedom of action, the exercise of which we were meant to enjoy without the intrusion of an almighty Government.
Now, suppose for a moment there was a claim mounted against the Government for not providing medical insurance for those who cannot afford it. Does this violate any of our basic rights to non-interference? Some may feel it is beneficial for Government to provide such a service or that society is morally obligated to do so. The fact is – however – that a failure to provide this “service” does not restrict a citizen’s right to be left alone. Furthermore, since all Government programs are financed through a mandatory confiscation of a portion of its citizenry’s money, the complaint is really a claim to the resources of one’s neighbors in order to pay for the service of medical insurance, a service for which the recipient pays nothing. Well, nothing but the loss of freedom – his and everyone else’s. Emmanuel Kant said it well, “Treat each man as an end in itself and never as a means.”
Our children – before they are even born – are saddled with debt. The freedoms their forebears enjoyed have been eroded to mere shadows of what they once were. One average income used to be sufficient to support a family, now two are barely enough, even before the Government puts its greedy hands in our pockets. Our schools no longer provide our children with adequate education but they do tell parents how to feed their children while interfering in their moral upbringing.
What Big Government Liberals did not count on is the fact that equality has placed women on the front lines of this new American Revolution. Whereas the Minutemen were men, today’s revolutionaries are often led by moms who are horrified at the future their children face. We are the ones who see what tomorrow is bringing our way and we don’t like it.
Independence is no longer a privilege of being American. It is once again something to fight for. Both men and woman are fighting for freedom for today. We are determined to make sure that fight is won for our children and grandchildren.
We are the league of mama bears. Hear us roar!