Commentators stopped deriding the Tea Party and began recognizing it as a legitimate political force. They began to think that maybe it was different from some of the other fringe movements that had popped up over the course of the preceding decades. Officials of the Obama administration stopped calling them "tea baggers" and began treating them with respect. As this book is being written, the conforming phase is beginning, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the transformation phase arise before or soon after the 2012 presidential election.
Our Nation Is in Hot Water
For several decades now, America has basically had a two-party system: Democrats and Republicans. Each of these parties has been engaged in the gradual but consistent growth of the central government and its claim on power. Ever-expanding programs offering benefits to the masses are difficult to resist, and with the proliferation of the news media it also became possible for elected officials to gain great notoriety and power. This power became addicting to many elected officials who, instead of going to Washington, DC, for a brief time to represent their constituency, wanted to hold their positions for extended periods of time—even for life. This growing power and the progressive intrusion of government into the lives of the people was so insidious that it went largely undetected. This process is much like the frog that willingly sits in the saucepan as the temperature is gradually increased until the water is boiling, killing the frog. The frog would have immediately jumped out of the saucepan, however, if the water was already boiling from the beginning.
In early 2009, many throughout America voiced their discontent as they began to worry about the excessive government spending for such programs as TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) and the proposed bailout for many Wall Street entities and large companies such as General Motors. The country was already in significant debt, with no clear indication of how that money was going to be repaid. It is easy to see how our growing debt, excessive spending, and elected leaders ignoring the will of the people closely resembles the set of circumstances that precipitated the American Revolution.
Will We Once Again Rebel for Positive Change?
America got off to an auspicious start centuries ago because its citizens were unwilling to be herded like sheep by an elite group of "leaders." They were driven instead by a desire to take ownership of their own fate and establish a nation created by them and for them. Their self-determination and celebration of freedom to control their own lives helped birth our great nation.
Today, however, a fundamental shift has occurred in the role of our nation's government and the role of its people, and so throughout this book, we will determine whether those seeds of independence still remain viable or whether they have been supplanted by passivity and acceptance of the status quo. For freedom is an elusive bird, constantly on the move, progressively distancing itself from complacency. Do we value our freedom enough to pursue it, or have we lost our way without realizing it? Do we benefit from the principles that established this nation without understanding them?
What will we as America's citizens write in this next chapter of our history? Will we settle for being herded by our leaders' understanding of what is best for us? Or will "we the people" once again rally together, educating ourselves as to the best possible solutions for a way forward, communicating to our leaders our collective desires, and demonstrating that we truly are a nation that rebels for positive change?