Colleen Conley: What Will It Take For You to Take a Stand?
Recently, I attended a GOP meet-and-greet, hosted by a group of beautiful women at one of their gorgeous “House and Garden” homes in an affluent neighborhood. The food was delicious, the wine sublime, and the hospitality of genteel, like-minded couples unparalleled. The Governor and his delightful wife made an appearance and both gave heartwarming speeches, as did a candidate for Governor of our state. It was a picture-perfect evening that went off without a hitch.
So why did I awake the next morning with a sinking feeling? I had just met a great group of educated and presumably informed people who had an understanding of the issues which face our state and our nation. These were not your average folks; the resources at their disposal put them in a unique position, somewhat buffered by the economy which ravages the average working folks, and with time, money, and access to information that gives them a distinct advantage over those who live from paycheck to paycheck.
As I watched speakers, perched on an impressive staircase in front of a rapt audience, discuss their ideas for a better tomorrow, I pictured similar scenes that might have taken place 240 years ago, in which our founding fathers stood to make their pitch for the creation of new nation; a nation of the people, for the people, and by the people. I imagined that those orators suggested to their listeners that the time had come for action; that as leaders of their communities with resources, means to spread the word, and ability to sway the masses working simply for their everyday survival, that now was the time to take a stand for freedom. And not just for their freedom, but for the freedom of generations to come.
In my state and my country, we are at a not so dissimilar point in history. Our freedoms are under assault in all corners of our state and federal government. As the leader of the Tea Party movement in RI, I am proud and honored to have met thousands of average working folks who have had “enough” and who are willing to take a stand for their freedom. Junkyard owners and nurses, retirees and teachers, stay-at-home moms, and small business owners; each and every one fills me with a sense of hope that all is not lost.
But some members of the political party which should embrace the tea-party ideals of fiscal responsibility, accountability, and a return to Constitutional principles seem content to converse amongst themselves and host beautiful gatherings with beautiful people. By and large, they do not show the fortitude to speak amongst a room full of foes, and debate the merits of their stances on the issues. Why is this? Why are people, even educated people of means, cowed by the opposition, which has nothing but tired, long disproved theories in their arsenal?
My charge to the leaders of our communities is this: it is time for bold action in defense of our freedom and freedom of our children. It is no longer acceptable to simply host gatherings and hope that change will come, for without the concerted action that only you can take, it will not. You could, and should, be the contemporary Statesmen of our time. You must consider running for political office (no matter how distasteful that seems), you must donate your time and money to go on offense against the corrupt status quo, you must speak the truth, even if you feel that it may offend some. Times which test us require men and women of strength and resources to reach outside of our comfort zones. Be models for your children. Our future, and theirs, depends on it.
Colleen Conley is a founder and the President of the Rhode Island Tea Party.