This blog and the articles in it are my opinions and not those of the Lehigh Valley Tea Party or it's executive board. This post is my response to the resignation letter of Joe Hilliard, reproduced below with my comments in the bold colored font.
- Wayne Schissler
Dear Fellow Patriot,
It has been three weeks since that ridiculous attempt to remove me from the Lehigh
Valley Tea Party organization.
Yes, when I saw the charges I thought they didn't have a chance. But sometimes people act on principle, not a guaranteed outcome.
First, I would like to thank the membership for their overwhelming support and the solid rejection of the effort. I had no idea how things would turn out but felt obliged to make a stand and make my arguments to the membership.
When you won the only thing I could think of was, “Well, at least we still have Joe Hilliard to kick around”. Figuratively of course. Just looking on the bright side of things I was.
Since then, I have been engaged in a lot if thinking and listening to advice from friends and other advisors.
Must be nice to have advisors. I'm left to winging it pretty much solo...
There is no doubt that a portion of the membership will continue to advocate that we must “support” candidates and become more involved in elections.
Since support is prohibited by our by-laws I would tell these members that they must be in the wrong organization. Of course you are saying “support” with the scare quotes around it so I guess that “support” can be defined by you in any way you please to use it.
Since the start of the Tea Party movement it seemed quite clear that most members understood a simple premise - electing the “right people” is not a solution to our problems.
Hmmm... that's a nice assertion you have there. I can agree to it in principle because putting your trust and loyalty in people is often a recipe for disaster. I know from recent experience where I've seen loyalty abused by the spreading of lies and the assigning of false motives on people's actions and statements. It wasn't a pleasant thing to experience. But it has motivated me quite a bit lately...
This model has been followed for many decades. Even when the “right people” had total control of Washington D.C. or Harrisburg, government grew, spending grew, and debt grew. To date, even the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has been a major disappointment. The budget fight accomplished nothing and they broke their promise to cut $100 billion of spending. The debt fight produced yet another commission to do the job our elected officials should be doing. The only concrete action on ObamaCare was a bill that actually EXPANDED ObamaCare and Republicans in the House voted for it.
Someone who knows much more on that subject than both of us appears to differ with your assessment:
The great success of the Tea Party has been to shape public opinion about various issues and forcing politicians to deal with such issues because we educated our fellow citizens. Who, other than a few political geeks like me followed national debt increases five years ago? Our great power is the fact that both parties now have to deal with facts instead of political spin. Do you really think the Republicans are standing tough because we are praising them or because they are worried about us?
I think that lesson was learned when DC was flooded by protesters on 9-12 and at the Kill the Bill rally. Political pressure works. It works especially well on politicians that have to worry about the next election. Hhmmm...
Elections solve nothing. Remember the great hope for Scott Brown? Remember the historic election in the House? Now we hear that we all have to wait for the “next election”, then real things can happen…. Of course, then we will hear, “But we can’t risk losing our majority in the next election, so we have to act cautiously…”
I'm not sure where you're hearing this except from your exceedingly fertile imagination.
Changing public opinion to set new expectations and demands on our elected officials is the only sure method to produce great reforms.
It is certainly important to do that. And as a result of that changed public opinion if an elected official does not conform to it he will become un-electable.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government…”
He also said, “Public sentiment is everything… He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws.”
Ronald Reagan simplified the concept when he said, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.”
And the great economist, Milton Friedman, was once asked if a “throw all the bums out” election was needed (sometime in the 1970’s). His comment was profound -
"People have a great misconception in this way. They think the way you solve things is by electing the right people. It's nice to elect the right people, but that isn’t the way you solve them. The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things!"
Milton Friedman said, “politically profitable” - gee, what does that mean? Couldn't have anything to do with an election, could it?
Those who advocate that we must focus on electing the “right people” will continue to be frustrated by politics because this is the hamster wheel we have all been running on for decades. It is time to hop off. After all, isn’t doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results the very definition of insanity?
Question: If we, as individuals, are not interested in electing the better candidate (Mr. Right never comes along) and “hop off” how does Milton Friedman's politically profitable pressure get applied? That's not a rhetorical question Joe, I want an answer!
Not only that, but you will open up the door to heated conflicts in the future. The most obvious answer is to look at the last congressional race. Who should we have supported? Towne, Dent or Benol? If we simply say all three, what is the point? And that would not be acceptable to the most ardent supporters of each individual. Then will the LVTP do what the Republican Party does and merely choose candidates who “can win” regardless of their principles or voting record?
Strange, you are recounting the last local congressional race and then asking how we would handle it. The same as we did last time, the LVTP does not endorse or support. Your nonsensical argument is over a situation that does not exist.
Some advocate that we should just “acknowledge” members. Commissioner Browning qualifies as an Associate Member. He raised property taxes 16%. Should we “acknowledge” him? Then the LVTP will be in the game of determining that only certain members who share our values should be “acknowledged”. That will lead to some heated debates in the future.
Again you are raising a strawman argument. IF the group would like to somehow acknowledge it's members that have gone the extra mile and have decided to become involved in the political process it not would pick and choose which ones to list, but list all with a strong disclaimer (caveat emptor). A sample: http://i231.photobucket.com
Many more hazards could be explained. But, once the door is opened, the LVTP will lose effectiveness for two main reasons:
- Once the LVTP “supports” or “acknowledges” certain candidates it will lose credibility with many in the public and with the media. Our credibility was based on our willingness to be impartial with politicians regardless of their party label. This will be lost as the LVTP is viewed as just another political hack organization shilling for certain candidates.
2) The LVTP will be consumed by the election process. Every election year for the last twenty has been the “most important election ever”. Each year a majority of time, effort and argument will be focused on candidates and the election instead of issues.
And again, what are you talking about? LVTP does not support. You have used this strawman of an argument as a bludgeon over and over but it's still a strawman and a non-sequitor.
And a note for those candidates who are desperately trying to change the focus of the group to become involved with campaigns – if you think such “acknowledgement” will win the election for you, you have probably already lost your election. Candidates win elections, not organizations.
You are absolutely correct there Joe. A blind squirrel does occasionally find a nut!
Based on all of these factors, the LVTP will be consumed by this debate for the next 3 – 5 months and there will always be an effort by those who wish to make the LVTP into an electioneering organization.
You mean based on all the strawmen and non-sequitors that you have set up.
I cannot waste any more time because we are in the middle of a historic political era. The fundamental nature of our government is being decided. And it is being decided by the people, not politicians. Our current situation is similar to the independence debate, the proposed Constitution, the abolition movement, and the civil rights movement. All were great advances of liberty.
Please, by all means, don't waste your time on us. But maybe you could first answer a few questions for us:
We have been virtually silent for the last nine months because of a petty squabble because a few cling to the failed belief that electing a few more of the “right people” will solve our nation’s problems.
Ahhh, here we are. At the heart of the matter. Joe, who was constantly bringing these matters to the board? Who was it Joe? Who wouldn't let the board function because they where constantly accusing others? Do you know Joe? Who is it that characterized every question or request from a member that touched on this matter as an assault on the organization or themselves? When hearing a question from a member at a general meeting, who on the executive board made a big deal about it and even thought that who they sat next to was relevant? Who would act like that Joe? Please explain who was tying the board in knots over THEIR petty squabble and inability to rationally deal with the matter without demonizing members. Anytime you're ready to answer these questions Joe, this post will be here with it's comment section waiting for you.
Therefore, I have decided with several other people to focus my energy, effort, and skills on another effort which will, hopefully, yield a far greater impact on public opinion about fundamental issues. We must shape public opinion to set new expectations of government, local to national, in order to accomplish our goals. A new organization has been established which will focus on strategic plans and well planned tactical initiatives to fundamentally reform government at all levels.
Any organization with you on it in a leadership position should be avoided like the plague. IMNSHO
Because of this, I hereby resign from the Executive Board of the LVTP and as a member of the LVTP.
I hope all of you continue this great patriotic struggle to renew limited government in our country. For those of you who believe that electing the “right people” is the answer, I wish you luck. We can always use a few more in government. However, for those of you who understand that we must shape and change public opinion to force elected officials to implement fundamental reforms, please stay in touch. We will have much to do! It is the latter course of action that produces fundamental change in society; not merely changing a few names of those who sit in elected office.