Sunday, April 19, 2009

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Schakowsky

Dear Ms. Schakowsky,

I have always had great respect for you as I perceived you a true liberal who wasn’t swayed by politics or political contributions but stuck to your own philosophical framework as a liberal. As a left leaning libertarian, I have found myself in great agreement with you on personal rights issues and foreign policy even as I have diametric opposite views to you on economics.

The “Tea Parties” in which I participated, are the quintessential exercise in the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, heretofore honored and celebrated by the left and liberals like yourself. So it is with extreme regret that I see your reaction vilifying the “Tea Parties.”

Why did I protest? The continued out-of-control spending by Congress and presidents, past and current, is bringing our economy to the brink of destruction. Bush’s trillion dollar war was a waste of human and financial capital and crowded out the lending markets. And now the “stimulus” package is doing the same only by multiple factors. As one who dislikes the overreaching power of corporations in this country and their partnership with government that has kept the “little guy” and small business down, I was appalled by the act of government bailing out these hat-in-hand corporate thieves who have had a big role in driving our economy down. The sign I carried at the Tea Party was, “Billions for the bankers, for the taxpayer, the shaft!” This was a position I would think all good liberals and people on the left would agree with, indeed would want their message heard at a protest.

I have heard many people on the left blame the lack of regulation under “unfettered capitalism” as the cause of our current financial crisis. But what those on the left don’t understand is that it is the very possibility of failure that is the self- regulatory mechanism the makes participants in the free market accountable on the one side, and flourish on the other. Bailing them out has taken away that very necessary and essential regulation that the free market provides.

The trillion dollar bailout and spending packages are going to over-burden everyone, especially the poor and underclass. It can be financed in only three ways, higher taxes, printing money–the most destructive taxes to the underclass and disenfranchised, i.e., inflation, and borrowing–which will burden our children and grandchildren with a huge debt that will have to be paid with confiscatory taxation. Our children and grandchildren will be saddled with this taxation with no voice–no representation on its passage. Taxation without representation!, which is why the framers carried out the first “Tea Party” and ultimately a revolution seceding from King George. So one might say that we are doing it for the children.

To call what I and a million others did “despicable” is for you, unconscionable. I was protesting not for the corporate interests but against them. And I am not right wing. I can only conclude that you are either totally ignorant of the motivations of the “Tea Party” protests, you have sold out to the corporate interests, or you are just totally disingenuous in your playing of party politics.

That makes you, in my mind, as despicable a hack as Newt Gingrich.


  1. As always, well said, Ken. Unfortunately, it seems as if a strong argument can be made that your well reasoned views, and valid, consistent, opinions applied across most of the Presidential administrations during your life as an activist, are still in the minority.

    I purposefully didn't attend a Tea Party. But, from watching and reading multiple news coverages of the Chicago event, youtubes, and talking to friends, neighbors, family, and strangers about the event, I'm afraid that your reasons for attending the Tea Party also may have been in the minority of the attendees. It seems to me that the Tea Parties had a distinct right-wing, Republican-partisan atmosphere, including the philosophical blinders that go along with such views.

    There is nothing wrong with being in the minority. As Mark Twain wrote, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect.)" However, it seems as if Rep. Schakowsky's views concerning the Tea Parties may apply to most Tea Party attendees.

  2. John,

    It maybe true at other city events, but I don't think it was true in Chicago. Michael Steele, Republican national chair tried to worm his way into the event and was turned down. Small l libertarians or Ron Paul activists controlled the event. One Democrat spoke and one who was probably Republican, one objectivist--the "Capitalist Pig", and Brian Costin, a libertarian, emceed. Almost all of the signs were libertarian types, not too many references to Obama. Of course, the splitter's sign, "Republicans suck, too" has gone vrial on youtube. Yes, some of the crowd were definitely Republicans, and the chant USA, USA seemed somewhat indicative of that. I was trying to replace it with "End the FED." At any rate, I truly believe we have a golden opportunity to move these disgruntled Republicans to our ranks--I'm talking to those rank and file, not leadership types. Yes, it happened because of the Obama election, granted, but I think those people in attendance are sincere in their distrust of govt--no matter led by whom. Mike Fogelsanger recruited one young lady from the ranks. She came with us to lunch- and is ready to get active as a libertarian.

    I regard it as my job to push the envelope with those newbies who attended. Their ears are wide open.


  3. Excellent essay, Ken!

    And I'm glad that the Chicago Tea Party was so good. (Wish I had been there.)