Fed up with govt.? Tea party group forming in Oxford
June 09, 2010 - Fed up with big government and high taxes? Looking for a productive way to channel your frustration and bring about reform?
Then circle Tuesday, June 15 on the calendar, so you'll remember to head over to Oxford American Legion Post 108 (130 E. Drahner Rd.) to attend the 7-9 p.m. planning meeting for the North Oakland County Tea Party Patriots.
"Everybody feels like they don't make a difference, but we've proved in the last couple of elections it takes very few people to make a difference," said Oxford resident Ron Estrada. "One person can take a stand and be heard by an entire nation."
Estrada is founding and organizing this local Tea Party group with Leonard resident Bob Zerwick. The two met through the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots.
"We're working together to get this going," Estrada said. "Our goal is to get as much help as possible, so we don't end up running the show. There needs to be a much bigger involvement (here) than just a couple of guys trying to start a club. It really needs to be a community effort."
Local Tea Party groups are part of a grassroots movement that began last year as a reaction against both the continued growth of government beyond bounds of the U.S. Constitution and the tax-and-spend policies of politicians on both sides of the aisle.
"We've been sitting idly by for a generation now, watching as the government has just taken more and more authority and power," Estrada said. "In our lifetime, we've watched a great deal of our freedoms and the states' powers (get) usurped by the central government and that was never the intention of our founders or what is clearly defined in the Constitution."
"The cost of a large central government is just unsustainable," he continued. "We are definitely heading down the path to a centralized European-style socialist government that will bankrupt this country."
With the formation of the North Oakland County Tea Party Patriots, Estrada hopes to accomplish three things.
According to the group's website www.nocteaparty.com, the first is to educate its members about the nation's history, the intent of the Founding Fathers and the failures of a century's worth of progressive politics.
By doing this, the members can then go educate their neighbors. Estrada said making a difference starts "in your own backyard," not just Washington D.C.
He said the problem is "people don't talk to each other anymore."
"The good old days of the tavern debates, where people would sit down and talk to each other, are gone, Estrada said. "Now we all go home, turn on the TV and kind of just disconnect from each other."
"People need to get back to talking to each other again," he noted. "That's really where the political process starts – over the back fence. It takes very few people to make a difference in their own town."
The second aim of the local Tea Party is community involvement. According to the website, this will be accomplished not only through "public, peaceful protests," but also by "taking an interest in our community, our neighborhoods and lending a hand to those in need."
"We cannot stand up and say that we represent North Oakland County without being involved in the community," Estrada explained. "There has to be community outreach. We can't stand up and say we want to cut all spending and government aid without turning around and offering some sort of 'helping our neighbor' kind of attitude. I think that's paramount to what we need to do."
Finally, Estrada hopes the North Oakland County Tea Party Patriots will encourage its members and others to take an active role in the political process.
"I think the average American isn't aware of how simple it is to get involved," he said. "Whether you're a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, you can walk into any of these guys meetings and get involved."
Left-wing critics of the Tea Party movement often characterize its members as racists and political extremists.
"That's the typical response of that group when their thoughts and actions are questioned," Estrada said.
That's why he's encouraging people to come to the June 15 meeting and see for themselves who's in the Tea Party and what the group's all about.
"I would invite them to join us," he said. "The truth speaks loudly. If they want the truth, they'll come to a meeting or come to a rally. What you'll see is grandmothers, families, fathers, business owners – good, hard-working people who are tired of seeing their money taken and wasted."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.