continued from WHY I JOINED THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT – by Tom Balek

I worked hard to be the best husband and father I could be for my young family. As I matured and aligned
myself with other hard-working, conscientious friends and business associates, I began to notice more
individuals whose main interest was self-interest, and whose honesty and values seemed flawed or

It made me question "what am I missing?" How could the beliefs of more and more Americans be so different
from mine? I've always been quite sure that the best way for all of us to succeed is the path of individual
responsibility, "doing the right thing", respecting our Constitution, preserving our freedoms and being ready to
fight to defend them. I studied economics and built successful businesses by making sound financial decisions,
expecting the best from people, and using good common sense. But all around me, something was changing.
My values and hard-won knowledge were increasingly under attack.

I watched as our political leaders began to stray from a focus on public service to one of self-promotion. It
became clear that being elected was now a life-goal in itself that, once won, must be preserved at all cost.
Somehow, in spite of apparently meager salaries, elected officials were becoming incredibly wealthy and
powerful. At some point I realized that there was so much personal profit at stake that to even qualify to run in a
national election, one must sell his or her soul to one of the "parties", relinquishing all independence of thought
or vote. Embarrassing scandals were brushed off and excuses made for any culprit who is on "our side".
Politicians pandered to shallow voters, making ridiculous promises. Half or more of our citizens were no longer
ashamed to ask "what's in it for me?"

We had become a polarized society - the "left" versus the "right". "Redistribute the wealth" versus "individual
responsibility". "Apologize for being American" versus "proud of our accomplishments". "Love the one you're
with" versus "church on Sunday".

The media abdicated their important role in society as responsible truth-givers. Schools and universities
stopped teaching honest history, economic reality, and life skills. I began to think that maybe this evolution was
no accident. Our leaders started lying to us - directly and without shame or hesitation - knowing that enough of
our citizens had become indoctrinated or "dumbed down" that they would not be held accountable. In fact, our
national leadership had devolved to the point where they looked down at their constituents with contempt. They
no longer worked for us.

I feared the November 2008 elections as they approached. For the first time, in race after race, my only choices
were one candidate or another whose beliefs and values were entirely foreign to my own. The weakening of
"the right" had left an opening that "the left" was ready to exploit. I knew that we, as a nation, were headed for
big, big trouble.

It didn't take long after that steam-roller election to see that the result was even worse than I feared. Our
economy, our infrastructure, our security, and our future is imperiled to a greater degree every day. We shake
our heads in disbelief as our principles are shredded one by one.

I can no longer waste any time trying to understand how so many people can be so dead wrong. I just know that
those of us who can still think MUST ACT NOW. This is a crossroads in the history of our nation. I know that
everyone thinks their time is the most important time in history. But I am convinced to the core that the intent of
our leadership is to benefit a select few at irreparable cost to all others. The only means of resistance left to us
is a grass roots uprising, and that is the Tea Party Movement.

In April of 2009 national news reports indicated that in some cities groups of concerned citizens planned to
gather for rallies on tax day, voicing their displeasure with the radical policy changes already underway. My wife
and I wondered if anybody would speak up in our small town, a place where political views are strongly held but
seldom discussed, in avoidance of conflict. We made up a couple of signs and went to our local courthouse at
noon. To our astonishment, about 40 other citizens were there, signs in hand. It was reassuring to learn that we
weren't completely alone. We held our signs high and waved to passing motorists, most of whom honked and
waved back in support.

And then we, like the others, went back to work, feeling temporarily a little bit better about things.

But the onslaught of policy blunders continues, punch after bloody punch. Recession. Bailouts. Corruption.
Unemployment. Nationalization of industries and the closing of local car dealerships. More bailouts. Union thugs
and community organizers. Outrageous spending on unproductive government employees and programs.
Removing crosses from public view. Backroom deals with lawmakers. Embarrassing gaffes in foreign affairs.
Refusal to enforce our borders. Confiscation of private land. Threats to increase taxes and impose crazy
environmental restrictions. Capitulation to rogue, evil regimes. It seems that our leaders are intent on rewarding
all bad behavior and punishing all good behavior. And every policy decision is calculated on empowering the
ruling elite.

A few months ago I decided that I had to act now, as forcefully as I can. I found the local men and women who
were already trying to be heard, and threw my weight in with them. I created a website and a newsletter. We
hold informational rallies explaining who we are and why we are so concerned. We offer each other
encouragement and support. We are in contact with candidates in upcoming elections and sponsor candidate
forums. We hold all kinds of events to educate and win over as many voters as possible to our single, focused
cause: reduction in the size, reach and cost of government, and preservation of our individual freedoms. We
are not racists. We are not violent. We only want the best for all Americans.