Longview Tea Party September 13, 2010

Thank you, Cindy, it is a pleasure and privilege to be here with you tonight.

Isn’t it great to be an American and to live in East Texas?

Cindy asked me to share with you tonight the differences in today’s Congress and the one I had the privilege to serve in from 1985 to 1997. I would also like to add to that subject the issue of labels.

A long time ago I learned it is important to know your audience. A wise man told me to never underestimate your audiences intelligence or over estimate their knowledge.

So I would like to conduct a little test. How many of you in this room have, at some time in your life, maybe shaded the truth just a bit? Let’s se the hands...

Okay, now how many of you have ever, well let’s say borrowed something but never gave it back?......

Now that makes a politician feel right at home in a room full of liars and thieves.

George Burns once said, “secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.”

That also applies to speeches. So I will do my best to adhere to that policy.

Since you don’t know anything about me let me share a few things with you. I am a recovering politician. Background wise I have been hired, fired, owned businesses and managed a factory. On my resume you will find US Army, Police Officer, IBM Customer Engineer and radio broadcaster listed. And I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Let me share with you a true story that, I think, tells the story of what this country is all about.

Take yourself back to the days of the Great Depression. A young couple had fallen in love and decided they wanted to get married. He was the oldest from a family of seven (7) and the lady in our story was the youngest of a family of eight (8).

The man in our story borrowed $10 from his sister in order to have enough money for the wedding. Ten bucks was a lot of money in those days.

The young couple settled down in a small four room house. He farmed in the day time and cut wood at night to sell. In addition to all the household chores she made quilts to sell. They lived in two rooms of the house and rented out the other two in order to provide enough income to keep food on the table and a roof over their head.

As the depression slowly came to a close the young couple moved on to another farm as share croppers. They decided it was time to start a family, however for reasons know only to God, they were not able to produce a child of their own.
The decision was reached to try adoption so they left their names at some orphanages in the area and prayed for good results.

Time passed and then one day a call came from the Children’s Home Orphanage in Council Bluffs, IA. They had a baby available for adoption, however it was a boy and not the girl they had listed as their preference.

The wife ran out into the field to tell her husband of the news. They decided to go take a look anyway. It was a 60 mile drive over rough roads, many of them dirt, from their farm to the orphanage. What they didn’t know at the time another couple from their neighborhood had also been called and they too were on the way to the orphanage. The race was on.

As it turned out, the couple in our story arrived first. They were taken into the nursery to see the baby boy. The lady picked the child up and she would tell people for years afterward that “they bonded”.

However, the drama had just begun. A worker from the orphanage accompanied them home to do an inspection of their home to be sure they were fit to be parents.

All kind of doubts started to fill their heads. When the call came she had been baking bread and just ran out of the house without cleaning up the kitchen. There was clean laundry waiting to be folded. In her mind, the house was a mess.

The inspector went through everything in the house, even opening closet doors and pulling out the drawers on the dresser.

After many anxious moments she informed the couple that she was satisfied and they could keep the baby. She told them she was very happy as the house was sparkling clean, the smell of the fresh baked bread was still in the air and the clean laundry was another indication that these were people that cared about their home and she felt they would be good parents.

In the rural Midwest, every town had a baseball team and town team baseball was the primary summer time recreation. The competition was fierce and folks like Bob Feller were products of that competition. Scouts lived at the small ballparks scattered over the countryside.

The man in our story was one of the better players. He had a reputation as one of the best catchers in the area. The St. Louis Cardinals had scouted him and offered him a try out the next Spring. Things were looking good.

Then one Saturday night as they were preparing to make the weekly trip to town, the man in our story was shaving and his left shoulder blade was dropping down from his back. He has been experiencing a great deal of pain for a number of days but just never said anything about it. Now, however, the pain was such that he couldn’t raise his arm to shave.

Several trips to doctors provided no results as they were unable to diagnose the disease that was affecting him.

As time went on he grew weaker and weaker until the point was reached where he had little use of his left arm and leg. The only relief he found was taking a hot bath. Now keep in mind this was in the early 1940’s in a farm house with no indoor plumbing and no electricity. The cook stove was fired by wood and the heater in winter burned kerosene.

A hot bath was not an easy thing to do. The wife would heat water on the cook stove in an old copper boiler. She would struggle to get it off the stove and onto the floor. Then the wife and the young boy would drag the hot water across the floor from the kitchen to the bathroom where the water was then ladled into the tub.

Once the water had become cold the husband would struggle into his clothes, a job that took nearly 45 minutes. These were his work clothes. There was no way he was going to stay in bed. Then, pulling himself along the floor with his good right arm and leg he would drag his limp left side with him to a site probably a hundred yards from the house where he ws tearing down and old corn crib.

Using his good arm to place the bad one on top of a board and use it for weight, he would hammer the nails out of the board and throw them in an old coffee can to save them for use when he would rebuild the crib.

He would stay at the crib site until it got dark and then drag himself back into the house. Keep in mind it was also early winter and early winter in Iowa can be very raw and nasty.

Eventually, the paralysis started to recede. He started to walk again and some strength returned to his left side. And then the doctors figured it out, he had polio.

Needless to say, his professional baseball career was over before it started.

A few more years passed and WW-II broke out. The National Guard Company in the near by town was one of the first activated. A lot of them never came home and several ended up spending years in German Concentration Camps. The man in our story was exempted from the draft along with quite a few others in the area as the government had declared them as necessary to the war effort as food producers.

To help in that effort he had taken a big chance on moving to a very large operation where he as still a share cropper but required a hired man to help him with the work. The hired man lived in the house with the family and the two men worked from dawn to well after dark.

Finally, the war came to an end and the couple decided they would do something they had never done, take a one week vacation to go visit relatives in Colorado. It was a two day drive one way and a couple of sets of tires.

On the return trip they decided to drive all night to avoid the heat of the day. No A/C in cars in those days. As a result, they arrived home a little earlier than expected.

As they pulled into the driveway they could see a crew with a corn shelling machine taking corn from their side of the corn crib. Turned out the landlord was stealing their share of the corn. A trip to the sheriff wasn’t of much use as the landlord was very rich and owned about half of the county.

They made up their mind it was time to strike out on their own. There was an old farm that had been let run down the owner wanted to sell. Taking all the money they had saved the local banker said he would back him for a loan but he wanted the place paid off in just ten years. A pretty tough bargain.

Farming with used equipment he picked up from sales and repaired himself, he rented an additional 700 acres and farmed it by himself with two row equipment. A herd of mother cows was maintained and each year some 600 pigs were raised.

The wife and son helped where they could and everything was a family affair. The garden produced all the fruits and vegetables they needed and the wife canned goods all summer long for use during the winter. Beef and pork came from the animals raised on the farm and about the only thing they bought in town was sugar, salt, pepper and a few other staples that they couldn’t raise themselves.

They never had much money, but neither did most of the rest of the people. The wife was famous for her comment, “We might be poor but we are not going to be dirty.” And she lived that to the hilt. School clothes might be threadbare, worn and patched but they were clean and ironed.

He surprised the old banker and paid off the place in seven years.

The couple stayed on that farm the rest of their lives until she was killed in a car wreck right in front of their house. She was 86. He lived until the age of 92, drove his car everyday, cut the grass at the farm and only spent about the last month of his life in a hospital.

These people never asked anyone for anything. They felt it was their responsibility to take care of their own. They were good neighbors and always there to help when someone was hurt or sick and needed help getting their crops out or whatever.

In fact, the entire neighborhood was the same way. If you needed to build a barn, put up hay, clean up after a tornado, no one was ever hired. Neighbors just showed up to help out. The women would get together and fix a huge noon dinner and the men would do the work with the kids helping out where they could depending on age and size.

Your word was your bond and a handshake was as solid gold as any written contract.

I know this story is true because the two people I have been telling you about are my Mom and Dad.

So now you know a little about me and where I came from and why I think the way I do.

Let’s take a look at the difference between the Congress of 1985 - 1997 and the one we have today.

There is really no comparison. About the only thing they have in common is the House and Senate Chambers are in the US Capitol and the Congressman and Senators occupy the same government supplied office buildings.

In 1985 - 1997, as a visitor you could walk virtually anywhere you wanted on Capitol Hill. The Capitol Building was open for guided tours, but you could just go in and wander around on your own if you wanted. Same was true for the Senate and House office buildings.

Even the White House was very easy to visit. Just get in line and wait your turn.

Not today. Everything is behind concrete barricades decorated to look like grotesque flower pots. You can only enter the Capitol and Congressional office buildings through metal detectors, x-rays and shake downs. Once you are inside the office buildings you still have to go through even more metal detectors and x-ray machine to use any of the various tunnels that connect the buidings to the Capitol.

Tours of the Capitol Building are short with requirements to clear security points. Much of the Capitol Building is totally off limits to the general public.

Our public structures are as closed down to the public as are the proceedings in Congress.

It wasn’t that way when I was there.

Today the atmosphere is charged and extremely unfriendly. The knives are always out to “get the other guy”. Re-election appears to be the primary purpose of many of the legislators rather then taking care of the Nation’s business.

When I was there it was a bit like Saturday night wrestling on TV. During the day there was much debate, argument, discussion, compromising here and there but when the day ended, the players all went out to have supper and a drink together. It was about issues, not personalities.

However, from my point of view, the greatest, and in my humble opinon the most danmgersous change, lies in the structure in which today’s debate is held. All these other things are symptoms.

Prior to 2008, debate and issue discussion was held in a framework of American values.

Yes, we had Democrats and Republicans with their own points of view on how policy should be conducted. Many times those points of view were very divergent and totally opposite. However, the framework in which those points of view were expressed was 100% American in thought and substance.

They were discussed in a framework built over 200 years of a great nation rising to be the super power and envy of the world.

A nation where anyone could rise to the top if they would just get off their rear ends and work for it.

A nation where those truly in need were cared for and given a hand up rather than a hand out.

A nation that was proud of the freedoms its people enjoyed and was the destination for people from all around the world that just wanted a chance to be free and work for their future.

A nation where the President, Democrat or Republican was an individual raised with American values and a strong sense of loyalty and dedication to making this the best place on the face of the Earth.

Even though we as individuals might have great disagreement with a President and his policies we never ever doubted their loyalty and dedication to this country. We knew what they would do would always be within those American bounds we all grew up with and accept.

Today, our Congress is dominated by people who's thinking is far outside that box of traditional values.

It is dominated by a group that does not believe in the American people but rather their own elitist attitudes and teachings.

A group that believes we are all to dumb to think for ourselves and that they in government have the correct answers.

A group that sees what you and I would deem success as a sin and should be penalized by giving the fruit of our success to those that have none.

A group that sees government as the answer rather than as Ronald Reagan once said, “The government is not the answer, government is the problem”.

A group that does not know how to win a victory in war as they see any participation by the US as a cause of that war. How many times have you heard them say 9-11 is our fault, we caused it to happen because of what we stand for in the world.

A group that is apologetic to anyone that will listen for anything that they deem to be “uncomfortable”.

A group that has turned Political Correctness into law and virtually outlawed common sense.

A group that has pandered and continues to pander to those that will line their war chests with pieces of gold while selling out the country and blaming the other side for doing it.

A group that has no compunction about lying about what they are doing and misrepresentation is an honorable tool in their sight. Any means to reach an end.

A group that is now lead by a narcissistic individual, of questionable background, of life long associations with activists and teachers of Marxist doctrine, a silver tongued orator that has proven he makes promises after promises he has no intention of keeping, who has many people believing he is going to make their house and car payments, a person that spent his formative years outside of the United States and has never even had the business experience of operating a lemonade stand.

A President that was not nurtured in nor holds the American values of all his predecessors.

That my friends, is the difference between then and now.

The second issue to discuss with you is this whole business of labels.

We hear all the chatter about profiling and how bad it is and how unfair it is. The same goes for labels and every last one of us in this room do it everyday. Why? Because it is human nature and built into ever person that has ever lived.

For example, take the subject of religion. If I would introduce you to a total stranger and say something like, “I’d like you to meet my friend Joe, he is a leader in the Catholic Church.”

What’s your first reaction? Don’t you immediately call to mind your impression of what the word Catholic means as you understand it?

Depending on how you believe about Catholics you have already formed a partial opinion of the kind of person Joe might be. If you have a favorable impression about Catholics you probably think, “okay, let’s give this guy a chance”. If you have negative impressions of the word Catholic more than likely your reaction is, “I’m not sure I am going to like this fellow”. If you happen to be Catholic your reaction is probably, “hey another brother, maybe I can get him to join the Knights of Columbus.”

So now we have three very different and distinct versions of who Joe might be.

Had I introduced Joe just as my friend, there would have been an entirely different set of impressions. Had I introduced him as a doctor, Marine, police officer or any of the other “labels” we give people you would have immediately had different impressions of who Joe was before he ever opened his mouth or uttered a word.

That my friends, is profiling. We all do it. It is a part of human nature. And the profile we apply is the one that has formed in our individual minds from years of experience and exposure to the world in general.

Is it wrong? In this country boy opinions it is perfectly fine and natural.

However, the so-called progressives have learned how to use this natural phenomenon against the rest of us. They make us feel guilty for doing what comes natural. They use it to fan class warfare. The use it to fan racial fires. Bottom line, they use it for political gain, regardless of who gets hurt in the process.

Let’s try one more. How many years have we been hearing that to move this country ahead, we have to stick it to the rich. They can afford to pay more and etc.

Why has this been such a successful political tactic? Let’s define or profile rich.

Who is rich? Is it the guy that made $2 million last year or the manager down at the Valero station? They both are rich.

In most people’s minds the “rich guy” is the one making a couple of bucks and hour more than you are.

At the Valero store, the person working for minimum wage thinks the manager of the store is “rich”. The manager of the store believes the person that owns the store is “rich”. The owner of the store thinks the guy that owns two stores is “rich” and so on up the ladder it goes. Donald Trump probably thinks Warren Buffett is rich.

So politically, none of us are “rich’, it is the other guy so let’s stick it to him. And that’s how some of the impossible legislation we see gets passed.

My point is labels are very dangerous. One label can mean many things to different people. Some labels are very corrosive to the persons they are applied to.

So when we hear the media refer to Tea Party members as “radical”, “extremist”, and all the other labels they use you can go to the bank that these are words that have been tested and proved to excite anger and resentment in the people that hear them. And there use is deliberate and programed.

In closing, we are in a very different world than we were even ten years ago. Our Federal Government is in the hands of a group of people who believe strongly that more and bigger government is the answer to our country’s problems. To them, our Constitution is just an old piece of paper that is outdated and outmoded. Their self preservation is more important than the future of the country.

And I might add, this all came about with the help of some of our side not standing up to be counted when it was critical to do so.

In a few weeks we have an opportunity to start to change this situation. With 12 million illegals awaiting amnesty to be soon followed with a special citizenship that will allow them to vote, this may well be our last chance to save our country at the polls.

It will be important to reach out to friends and family living in other parts of the country and getting them engaged in this battle for freedom. It is up to us to fight this battle and win.

Thank you for your time and attention.

I’ll be happy to field any questions you may have.



Copyright©2009 Jim Ross Lightfoot All rights reserved