PJ Media

Smashing the Left's Stereotypes about Tea Partiers

I had the privilege of interviewing three interesting individuals among the 500 or more who attended the Tea Party Express III rally Monday afternoon in St. Charles, Mo. One is a student at nearby Lindenwood University. Another is a small business owner from Belleville, Ill. The third is a black ambassador of conservatism from Deltona, Fla. Together, they smash the left’s stereotypes about who attends tea parties.

College Student

Despite a 30-minute deluge of rain prior to the rally, a college student with dreadlocks named Josh Ciskowski was determined to stand up for conservatism and constitutional values.

A history major at nearby Lindenwood University, he displayed and articulated a thorough understanding of what’s wrong with this country when government officials supplant the ideas of the Founding Fathers with their own misguided, big government ideology.

“It’s movements like this that reassure us that the government is not going to take away our freedoms that were guaranteed to us through the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, what America was founded on,” he said.

Most adamantly, he said, “We are not supposed to have our freedoms taken away by the people we elect.”

To watch the interview, click here.

Small Business Owner

Many people on the left like to paint business owners as greedy. Sandy Richter owns Sandy’s Back Porch, a small garden center and gift shop in Belleville, Ill., and she doesn’t fit that description. She shared her story with me prior to the event’s kickoff.

During her first five years in business, she said, she paid out around $400,000 in wages to her 10-12 part-time workers.  Conversely, she’s taken in only $7,000 — or 20 cents an hour — for herself during the same period. Understandably, she’s concerned about the future.

“My concern with the current administration is that they have a tax-and-spend philosophy,” she said, “and, as a small business owner, you have to take a major risk in your life, you work for many, many hours for no pay until your business is actually profitable.

“At that point in time, when you do make a profit, I’m concerned that our tax rate with this new health care issue will grow to be 50 or 60 cents on every dollar that you have made,” she explained.  “Why would you hire people to run a business to make money just so you can give the administration 60 cents on the dollar?

“And it may not happen tomorrow and it may not happen two years from now, but this health care reform — that is what it is going to do to this country.

“I believe this is the land of opportunity,” she said.  “If you want to do anything bad enough, you can do it here.  It’s not a land of entitlements.”

To watch the interview, click here.

Ambassador of Conservatism

Lloyd Marcus makes it a point to tell audiences that he is not an African-American; instead, he says, “I’m an American.” And that’s exactly what the entertainer and author did when he took the Frontier Park stage within a stone’s throw of the Missouri River about 20 minutes west of downtown St. Louis.

Afterward, Marcus spoke with me about his most recent publishing effort, Confessions of a Black Conservative, and about conservatism in general.

Describing his book as one that presents conservatism in common-sense terms, Marcus said, “I think (conservatism has) been so intellectualized and so many people — especially black people — they don’t know what conservatism is. They feel conservatism is rich, racist white people.

“I know that conservatism is best for all folks, so I simply tell my story of why I know conservatism is best for everyone.”

Not a product of country club conservatism, Marcus grew up in the projects of Baltimore. He recalls that people living there received free food, free housing, and free health care, but had no self-esteem.

“That’s where I really learned that you can’t just simply give people stuff,” he explained. “Self-esteem really comes from personal achievement.” He added that liberal Democrats are wrong when they tell black Americans they need lower standards, affirmative action, etc.

Having become quite the media-savvy conservative as a result of his involvement with the Tea Party Express during the past two years, Marcus recently gave an interview to CNN. During the interview, he explained, he was asked how conservatives can attract more blacks to tea parties.

“I say, ‘Keep telling the truth,’ because I don’t think we need a message for blacks or a message for Hispanics. We need an American message, and I think that, if we keep telling the truth, people will gravitate to the truth.

“That’s what Ronald Reagan did, and that’s why he got Democrats, Republicans and Independents to vote for him,” Marcus said. “He spoke the truth and spoke of values everybody could relate to.”

To watch the interview, click here.

Final Thought

There wasn’t a single report of violence at the rally.