As the dust begins to settle following last week’s election fallout, some of our leaders are beginning to figure out what it meant. Many members of Congress, particularly the new ones, understand that there is a strong national mood for putting away the national credit card and cut spending. And although there are still many who believe this is not the case, there are not enough of them to take us all on the next round of the shopping frenzy.
All of this will have a powerful trickledown effect. Our local politicians will be getting less pork from Washington, and they will squeal more and more about unfunded mandates, and they will be looking for more ways to tax you directly for government services. In other words, we will no longer get away with believing that someone else, somewhere, will be paying for our services with someone else’s money.
This is why we need local leaders who will make the tough decision to tighten the city’s belt. The days of getting extra money from Washington or the State of Florida are numbered. State and Federal subsidies have helped city hall disguise its careless growth of government services in the past, but not much longer. We, as Gainesville residents, will soon have to come to terms with what we can really afford to do here.
When I see our city busses trundling around town empty, or with only 2 passengers, I want to find a creative solution to this problem. We have these large, air-conditioned, diesel-belching vehicles doing the work of a single taxicab, and I wonder how we can replace some of these wasteful behemoths with 15-passenger vans. Our bus system burns over 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel per day. I am sure we can do better than this. But we won’t as long as we believe there is someone, somewhere else, that can be taxed to pay for it. Before long, it will be YOU who will shoulder the burden of all of it.
Just yesterday I was in the home of one of my customers, and I met someone who voted for me in the last election. We were both complaining about the ugliness of politics when she started telling how terrible the Tea Party movement was. I quickly came to the defense of the movement, telling her I thought it was great that so many people who were not involved before were beginning to care enough to do something.
This reminds me of the hard time I got for listing the Gainesville Tea Party on my campaign site last spring. Even then, the Tea Party was being slandered and vilified by the media and everyone who felt threatened by it. When Craig Lowe’s campaign was offering to take students to the polls, we decided to send some ringers to get these rides. We were just trying to find out what they were saying about us. Here is how the conversation went:
Don Marsh Ringer: “So, Don Marsh is a conservative, right?”
Craig Lowe Stooge: “Oh, no. He’s Tea Party.”
Ringer: “But that’s conservative, right?”
Stooge: “That’s beyond conservative!”
There was never much more of an explanation than that. It was a label, and an easy way to demonize me without having to handle those pesky issues: sky high utility rates, $7 million budget shortfall, rising crime rates.
Last year, the media was calling the Tea Party a Republican Trojan Horse. They were just a gimmick, a repackaging of the party. This year, we are finding that even Republicans are not safe if they are part of the over-taxing, over-spending, control-freak culture of Washington. Last month, incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) lost to the unknown Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller, in the Republican Primary. Since then, the undead Lisa Murkowski has decided to run as a write-in candidate in an attempt to be a spoiler and get the Democrat elected. This is a fine example of the entitled politician (who is also the daughter of an entitled politician) who is so deranged with outrage that one of the little people has insisted on taking the reins of government that she must strip away every last vestige of dignity to stop him. That is also an example of the new lunatic fringe: the political know-betters that hate the political nobodies.
So, what is so terrible about wanting to get back to the roots of our government, the Constitution? And what is so terrible about wanting to cut back the size and scope of our inept government? And what is so terrible about wanting to make your own decisions with your own money? Does this really make you a nutcase? The Tea Party bashers think you are.
This is all quite relevant to our local government. For many years, the Gainesville City Commission has been elected every spring by a tiny minority of the voters. These are the Know-betters. They know better than you do about the size and scope of a city government, about how necessary it is to have a city golf course that loses $300K per year, and a $5 million Homeless center to draw more indigents to our community, and to close down our coal-fired generating plant so we can burn trees to make electricity at an even higher price.
This past spring, we got voter turnout to the lofty heights of 16.75%. It was almost enough to unseat a 7 year incumbent Know-better. He won by 42 votes in a race where 60,000 voters stayed home. If you are one of those people who stayed home, I am inviting you to the Tea Party. I believe you matter and that you will make the difference.
For your enlightenment, I am including this link to the CATO Institute Book Forum. There is a presentation there on the Tea Party that you can watch on video, or just listen to the audio in the background while you are working. It will help you get past the jeering, sneering, slandering Know-betters of the political class and the media. Make up your own mind. Know better for yourself.