Immediately prior to the 2016 election, Virginia’s King George TEA Party had posted two roadside signs that simply stated, “Hillary’s Lies Matter.” After much discussion, this theme was chosen in order to bring attention to her demonstrated lack of integrity and the ends-justify-the-means impact she might make upon American governance. Integrity-in-government is one of the most important issues that TEA Party activists expect from public servants.
TEA Party members across the country were frustrated that such a large voting bloc was not realistic when it came to choosing the best 2016 presidential candidate for the country. Hillary’s private e-mail server, something deliberately configured to obfuscate her use of government position for personal gain, was the most glaring indication that she was unfit for the job. Many cringed at the thought of her presidency as an Obama third-term-by-proxy. In response, the King George TEA Party decided to find some overt way to persuade conservatives to vote, convince election fence-sitters to not vote for Hillary, and cause marginally-committed Democrats to at least doubt their candidate. So we put up the signs.
(King George TEA Party Photo)
Mind you, TEA Party activists were not initially pro-Trump. The Republican primary system provided a wide spectrum of other candidates, and some of them were regarded as more fiscally conservative, more supportive of the Constitution, and more religiously based. Honestly, some establishment Republican politicians initially appeared less risky than the outlier businessman Trump.
Over time, however, the folks that support the TEA Party’s principles gravitated toward Donald Trump due to his consistently pro-America message. Trump’s many rallies provided opportunities for a personal connection vice the easy-to-spot propaganda messaging from the so-called ‘mainstream’ media. Trump’s campaign trail promises resonated when he talked about reducing government regulation, stopping the invasion of illegal immigrants, and restoring America’s military. His campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, touched a harmonic chord across the board in a way that Hillary Clinton’s “Stronger Together” never could. The grassroots ‘word’ got out and Trump’s crowd sizes became legendary.
Even still, TEA Party members throughout the country were very apprehensive on election night. The thought that Clinton could win was demoralizing, and the media did their best to give the impression that she was the front-runner. I remember going to bed on election night with great concern for my country’s future, my children’s future, and my grandchildren’s future under a possible Hillary administration.
It wasn’t until the early morning of the next day that America found that Donald J. Trump had been voted to be the country’s next President. After what felt like an 8-year downward spiral we now had hope, real hope, that things were about to change for the better. Seven years after the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington where several hundred thousand fellow Americans converged to shout in unison, “Can you hear us now?” we knew that we were finally heard.
Almost immediately after Election Day, I received a couple of e-mails to complain about our road signs. Unfortunately for those who complained, stating reasons like “ … we all need to come together and heal those emotional differences” did not seem to have much relevance compared to ensuring that the rule of law was still enforced post-election. In my e-mail response to them, I explained the phrase, “Hillary’s Lies Matter,” transcends politics in that her transgressions were not political issues. They had become legal issues and were still relevant in that an investigation into her misdeeds would serve as a warning to every other politician. Hillary’s lies still mattered even after the election.
The transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day gave indications that President Trump would be unlike any other. My 20-year old kids finally saw a leader as president, a man-of-action who was going to make good on his election promises, and who also had a knack for issue-focused Twitter tweets that were engaging and entertaining. President-Elect Trump’s first press conference even featured the deliberate, thorough, and appropriate way he totally, TOTALLY divested from his many lucrative businesses. He, personally, was putting America first. We were amazed that he had gone so far beyond what was legally required to ensure that not even the appearance of impropriety remained.
Trump’s Inauguration Day speech was everything the TEA Party had wanted to hear after eight years of the anti-America Obama. Instead of being told, “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” as President Obama did in 2012, President Trump affirmed that We The People were the foundation of our country. In his speech he said:
“Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another—but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American People.”
“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.”
(King George TEA Party Photo)
President Trump’s inauguration speech was a sign that the times had indeed changed. Already in his first couple of weeks in office, he has issued a flurry of Executive Orders to reduce government regulations, galvanized efforts to repeal the socialized medicine plan that is Obamacare, raised the issue of voter fraud, and worked to stop illegal immigration. Obviously, there is a new sheriff in town and one that intends to Make America Great Again.
In response, the King George TEA Party has erected a couple of new hand-painted roadside signs that re-state President Trump’s inauguration promise: “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.” Changing our road signs is both a celebration that the times have changed for the better but is also an expectation that the promise is kept. We The People expect our President to put America first, and we hope these signs remain for quite a while.
Since the 2009 rise of the TEA Party, signs have sprung up in the uniformly Gadsden Flag yellow and black color scheme. Hand painted, located on private property, and always an exercise in a citizen’s First Amendment rights, they are the visible symbols of a deeply patriotic segment of America. They have been mostly critical of former President Obama’s policies and members of his administration, and at times have overtly vented the anger of The Forgotten Man. I suspect, however, that these same signs will now be used to positively support what seems to be America’s first TEA Party President.