The following is the speech by Michael Vass, given to the Southern Tier Tea Party at its monthly open meeting on Tuesday Oct 4, 2011. The speech was given at Brothers 2 in Endwell, New York.
The subject of the speech was the media and the Tea Party. The speech was followed by an open question & answer period. Video of the actual speech and the Q&A will be presented seperately.
Thank you for inviting me to speak with you. For those that are not familiar with me, I am Michael Vass, president of M V Consulting, a media company. I am a former Marine, raised in the Bronx, and have worked and lived overseas. Most may know me from covering local state and national politics, including the 2008 presidential election, the 2010 mid-term elections, and currently the 2012 presidential election – via my political commentary blog at www.mvass.com.
Recently, just prior to being asked to speak before you today, I wrote about Morgan Freeman and his comments on the Tea Party. The words of Morgan Freeman echo those of Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Shirley Jackson Lee, and the Congressional Black Caucus. In fact they are almost quotes of the stream of statements that have come from certain portions of the media.
That is part of what I would like to speak about today. The impact of the Tea Party on the media, and what that means to America in general. Which may sound odd coming from a member of the press, considering the major media stance on the Tea Party.
For the last 2 1/2 years, the majority of news outlets, like the New York Times and MSNBC on cable television, have derided the Tea Party. There have been article after article attacking every aspect of the Tea Party and its members. The Tea Party has been called racists, ignorant, fascist, even terrorists. Why?
If we look over history in America, every time there has been a watershed moment in the country there has been dissent. When America has changed there has been opposition. The greater that opposition, generally the more massive the change that occurred, the more beneficial that change was.
Think of the news media outlook on the 14th Amendment and ending of slavery. There was the resistance to suffrage. The vociferous challenge to Civil Rights. The ERA, Reaganomics, and now the Tea party. Each was a sea change in the nation. Each was blasted as the end of America.
Today, we have Liberal and far-left pundits heaping visions of despair onto the backs of the Tea party. We have celebrities parroting these calls, and essentially calling for restricting the Right to Freedom of Speech – a Right they claim to be champions of. We have blogs and bloggers that assert unfounded personal beliefs as fact, and elected officials that have equated support of Tea party values akin to the darkest travesties of mankind.
This is all a positive.
Yes, a positive. because it demonstrates the fear that is amongst the political elite of the nation. Democrats and Republicans alike are terrified. Not from fear of force, but fear of votes. For decades, if not longer, politicians have forgone their obligation to the public. They have advocated political party values over the will of constituents. They have made choices based on preserving political power, and dictated to the people the choices before them. Such a perch is now being threatened.
The Tea party, by the simple act of speaking out, has caused a ripple in America. Millions that are among the Tea party, and tens of millions that are not in the Tea party yet agree with its principles, are engaging in their Right to be heard. Politicians are in the uncomfortable and unfamiliar (for them) position to have to be accountable for their votes and their actions.
Think of the status of Social Security. For decades it has been approaching complete insolvency, a condition that received lip-service and no action from either political party. Their fear of losing their political power base left them impotent to the needs of the people that elected them. They rejected, wholesale, any action – until the Tea party appeared. Now there is serious discussion and at least the start of action. The potential for the tens of millions of Americans to come has improved because a small group of Americans demanded action – and were demonized for it.
Look at the Health Care Reform. A convoluted mix of regulations, mandates and taxes that took over 2000 pages to hold its specifics on. A law that has new revelations being uncovered every month since its passage – a passage that was so partisan and politically inept that it required virtual bribes within the Democrat Party while they held a supermajority in Congress.
Were it not for the voice of the Tea party, what other items might be in that Law? What might have been allowed if the Tea party did not insist on politicians reading the Law or else – as they learned in the mid-term elections. How likely would the 26 States that are now challenging the constitutionality of the law have been to fight against this law, if it were not for the Tea party gathering a groundswell of support to repeal a law that the majority of Americans have never wanted since before its passage?
Also consider, that the news media – which is supposed to be the watchdog against the Government – likely would never have investigated the multitude of discrepancies and intrusions on the American people that the Health Care Reform imposes. Even as they denounce the Tea party, they are required to announce how the Health Care Reform enables the Government to gather the health records of every American – which the Department of Health and Human Services is actively preparing to do as I have reported. Does anyone think that we would hear about these kinds of consequences if the Tea Party was not a consistent voice challenging this law?
Or even the national deficit. A matter of concern to tens of millions of Americans for decades. An issue that was routinely ignored or used as a political chopping block during election campaigns. An issue that was so far from the minds of some politicians that they could not even fathom discussing the matter – as in the case of Rep. Maurice Hinchey during a town hall meeting in the 2010 mid-term elections displayed and we reported. A situation that has progressed to the point of endangering the quality of life of every American, and those yet to be born. All due to inaction of politicians, who were more than ready to just keep passing the buck onto the backs of another generation as long as they kept political power. Until the Tea Party caused the nation to look at the numbers, and demand that Government act as responsibly as voters do every month. That process has just begun, and the Tea party – instead of being thanked for pointing out there was a hole that was sinking the ship – has been lambasted. The media has tried to kill the messenger.
Yet, the Tea party remain a vital voice and a catalyst for getting Americas involved in politics again. Whether for or against the views of the Tea party, Americans are becoming more and more active in who is being elected, and how those politicians vote on the legislation that affects their constituents.
Such a reversal of power frightens these career politicians that have become lazy and sloth-like as they retain their seats because they dole out favors and befriend advantageous groups. That’s why the former watchdog of politics has now turned on those it protected, the media lashing out against those that it should defend.
But before I go further I want to address something that may be a question for some. The question is if this is really a sea change in America. Defenders of President Obama would claim that his election was a sea change, that this is only the very defense from change that I am speaking about. The argument sounds persuasive on its face.
The reality is that President Obama was not the forefront of a movement to change America. If we recall, Sen. John McCain was leading in polls for much of the 2008 election campaign. Until the economic crisis took hold, President Obama was close but not the resounding choice of the nation.
It was that crisis that made the difference. or more to the point, the manner in which the media was used to mold an emotional response to the crisis. Republicans were the blame of the downfall of the stock market, the loss of millions of homes, and the root of the meltdown in the economy. In part because President Bush was at the seat of power, and blame always lies with whomever is in that seat.
But that is not the complete truth. The roots of the mortgage crisis goes back decades to the Clinton Administration and easing of policy, allowing unqualified homeowners the ability to gain access to homes. In that new market came those that would exploit the opportunity. With the Government taking its usual short-sighted stance, having made a political decision without understanding of the real-world ramifications, these opportunists laid the groundwork for the eventual collapse that is the mortgage crisis.
But President Obama rode the wave of anger about the change in economics in the nation. He offered hope as dark skies covered the nation. Like Pandora, this panacea of change did not define anything material. It was just different. At least with the excellent oration skills of Obama, it sounded different.
The reality as we have come to learn was that president Obama was just like most every President. Some might even say a rebirth of the policies and failures of President Carter. But the media has shielded the President. Gone are the headlines of mortgage foreclosures – though throughout his presidency mortgage foreclosures have created and maintained all-time highs. Gone are the daily images of protests about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – though we continue to fight in those lands, long after the campaign promises to be gone by now. Removed are the accusations of torture and wrongful confinement in Gitmo, though the facility remains open and not one trial has begun.
In fact, any negative about the Obama Administration has been downplayed as much as possible. The abject failure of the Stimulus to achieve the goals stated by President Obama himself have been allowed to recede from the news. The politically motivated loans to Solyndra, and its predictable bankruptcy after receiving half a billion taxpayer dollars, has barely drawn the attention of the news media. The unmitigated failure to protect the nation’s borders is discussed in passing. The absolute absence of leadership, in international affairs or the domestic economy, is deflected. The growth in absolute powers of the Government, like in enacting War on Libya through abuse of the War Powers Act, was simply let go after an initial glance.
Instead, the focus has been directed intently on the Tea party and any political opposition to the media beloved President. It is the Tea party to blame for everything. They are the terrorists, the racists, the destruction of America according to the reporting of many media outlets.
The media has it’s darling, and he must be protected.
What has President Obama brought to America? What was his sea change as supporters would suggest? Deficit spending has increased by almost exponential levels. Spending at levels so ill conceived that even slowing down the pace of the continued debt increase resulted in the first downgrade of creditworthiness in the nation’s history.
The post-racial dream of many Liberals and Democrats has failed to materialize. America has long fought with the poison of racism, and over time this is slowly improving. But president Obama has made no stride forward on this front. His beer summit was the result of his rash and uninformed outburst, injecting race into a situation that had no basis for it. The word racist has been stitched upon anyone who dares oppose any policy of the President, no matter their skin color or political ideology. Yes, in fact the argument can be made that race relations in America have taken a step backwards since President Obama has taken office.
In looking at President Obama we see that there was never a change to a new anything proposed – well except for a more European styled and socialist structured nation. Neither are views that cause the election of President Obama, or have kept supporters for him. His actions have only reinforced the policies of spending and Government intrusion in to personal lives.
But, the Tea party is the forefront of a wave. A resurgence of the public enforcing the power of the people. Of standing up and stating a belief in the face of scorn and opposition from those that would lose power from such actions.
Yet the media would rather try to applaud protestors in the Wall Street area, who disrupt the Ability of Americans to earn a wage – as 700 were arrested last week for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. Of course the fact that to my knowledge there has never been an arrest of a single Tea party member in the nation, at any event in over 2 years since the start of the Tea party is not news worthy to these media outlets.
Returning to my initial point, the more frenzied the attack of pundits and media, the more substantial the resulting effect of the change that is coming.
Let’s consider the 2010 mid-term elections. The Tea party was denounced by the media. They were laughed at by some politicians. The views for fiscal responsibility and conservatism cast aside as an extreme view that had no place in politics.
This all belittled what should not be belittled – the voice of the American people. The more derision was placed on the Tea party, based on unfounded and distorted media coverage, the more Americans sought to see the truth. That is the true power of the Tea party movement. Having Americans once again take active part in their Government. The greatest change is the demand that elected officials live up to the obligations of their office.
Thus against all the media hype, and directed political rage, the mid-term elections made a demonstrative mark on the American political landscape.
the 2012 election can even be bigger.
The media has forgotten a couple of defining elements about America. Politicians that have been coddled in their seats of power have ignore these points as well. America loves an underdog. We want to know what they are about, what motivates them. If they have solid reasons, and just goals, we support that underdog and join the cause. We are a notion that cannot be long led as sheep, we will act. We may be a nation that at times is slumbering, but we do awaken and take strong action when it is required.
This is the reason that I think the Tea party should be pleased with the negative media attention. Because it is the most direct manner in which to gather more of America. To pass along more factual knowledge, first-hand. because if the majority of the liberal media is so unanimous in opposition, there must be more to the story than is being told. We all know that.
The Tea Party message is one that does not have to be accepted by everyone. But the theme of Americans standing up for what they believe should be. The concept of enacting the Freedoms granted by the Constitution is a concept that is integral to this nation. These are 2 of the main reasons why, in recessions and boom economic times, the world travels to our borders and seeks entry.
This is the reason I am speaking today. To thank you and to further encourage you. To commend you on doing what so many have forgotten that Americans have the Right to do, which is to speak out, without threat of violence or disruption of life. To demand that elected officials represent their constituents. To rally you to cause others, even those that oppose your aspirations, to become involved in the political process.
The media has long been satisfied with presenting a singular view of the nation and its politics. In recent years, due to the advent of cable news and the internet, the stranglehold of what version of political fact is disseminated to the masses has been lost. The reality that options are not given by the political parties but granted by the public is once again flourishing. This needs to continue.
So let me backtrack and correct something I stated earlier. This is not a sea change, not in the sense that has occurred in the past. This is a return. Not just to the Constitutional values that founded the nation, but to the core belief that the Founding Father’s based this nation upon. Values that are accepted by every American regardless of political affiliation. That We the People are the voice, will and strength of the nation.
If you give up on that theme, if you falter or allow the media to control the message being sent out to the rest of America then and only then will Government win. By that I mean a Government that has the power over the people. A government that can dictate what people think and do.
If that sounds like George Orwell, or China, it is. While I doubt if anyone in this room is not aware of the consequences of falling to the propaganda of the media in defense of its elected favorites, those that may contact you or hear this message may not be. because, in my opinion, we are far closer to a socialist China, or a version of Orwell’s 1984, than some would admit. When the Government can mandate that every American must buy a product, and dictate what products they must have, how far from those extremes can we be? How little of the America we grew up with and hope our children live in will there be?
Now I know I have beat up on the media, but that is not entirely fair. The media is not a single entity, or a blanket that covers every entity out there. I am a member of the press. The Wall Street Journal, the national Review, hundreds of bloggers and online publications, as well as some more traditional sources of fair or at least not completely liberal encompassed thought still do exist. These unbiased, or at least relatively unbiased, media outlets need to be nurtured. Moreso they need to be used to expand the interaction of the American people and restrain politicians to the obligations of the oaths of their office. To be the voice of their constituents and act on their behalf, not that of a partisan political party and the special interests that cater to them.
America is a great nation. The American people are the most generous and fair-minded in the world. But any nation can falter if the political elite and the former oversight on politics is allowed to run ram shod over the public.
The Tea party is the best thing to happen in American politics in decades. Never forget that. never let the media take that from you.
Only your support allows us to provide election coverage, political event coverage, and our political commentary. Visit Alchemy at World of VASS, and take part in our 2012 Buy & Win Contest – help keep us going. We appreciate your support.