Lamar: Don't Tread On US

Friday, August 1, 2014
The Chattanoogan.com website is a great place to read what’s on the minds of people in the community so I frequently peruse its Opinion page. This week I read an interesting piece that was chiding grassroots citizens for their “less than civil” activities when they held a “No Amnesty” Rally at a Lamar Alexander event in Chattanooga.

First, let me say I was at the Rally of grassroots citizens who gathered peacefully outside the Rib & Loin Restaurant at 4:30 Tuesday afternoon with signs, banners and vocal chords, ready to “welcome” Senator Lamar Alexander to Chattanooga as he arrived at his private, by invitation only, event for select supporters.


Prior to Lamar’s arrival, I greeted the author of the referenced opinion piece who later chided the Rally participants. The author and I had a cordial and friendly exchange for several minutes and in my view he is a good guy. He and his wife have attended our Chattanooga Tea Party meetings several times over the last several months and they have always been treated with the utmost respect, as are all of our guests.  In fact I just had the opportunity to cast my vote for his wife last week in her campaign for Chancellor.

But of course this isn’t about the author.  It’s about Lamar.  So let’s talk just a few minutes about our state’s senior Senator and long-term professional politician.

Tens of millions of Americans today believe our nation is experiencing some of the most dire times in decades if not generations.  Partisanship is rampant and has paralyzed our government.  Lawlessness and elitism on the part of many elected officials are at all time highs.  Fiscally our future is teetering, flirting with the disastrous consequences of an $18 trillion debt and $100 trillion more in unfunded liabilities.

We have a President who is presiding over more scandals than any one citizen can likely recite and in many instances Obama is the cause of these scandals.  We have Senators and Congressmen who are unwilling or unable to effectively govern and their own approval ratings are at historic lows.  And we have engaged citizens who when they contact their Senator, a supposed “public servant,” sadly all they get in return is a canned response that oftentimes doesn’t even address their concerns.  But to make matters worse, following the canned letter, the Senator thumbs his nose at the wishes of his constituents by casting votes that totally disregard the will of the people and completely disavow his own Party’s Platform.

I have always understood that the Party Platform is supposedly the set of values and principles that the elected official from that Party professes to support and by which he will govern.

With this as a backdrop, let’s talk specifically about Senator Alexander.

Tennessee is fortunate to have hundreds of thousands of informed citizens who are more loyal to the rule of law (the Constitution) than a personality or an “institution” such as Lamar Alexander.  But some in Tennessee have that inverted.  Their loyalty is to an “institution” more than to the Constitution… much less their own Party Platform.

Lamar has not just violated “theoretical” arguments but he has in fact violated his own Party’s Platform.

We do not have time to outline Lamar Alexander’s every violation of his own Party’s Platform, but here are just a few of the more recent and most egregious:

First, Lamar voted YES on the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill that would have granted Amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.  (Thankfully the House rejected this Bill that Lamar voted for.)   Lamar’s vote was in total contradiction to his Party’s Platform which specifically states:

“…we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking.”

Did you catch those last four words?

So is there any wonder why the ongoing crisis at the southern border has recently exploded into a complete breakdown of epic proportions with our borders being overrun by illegal aliens?  The US Senate along with Barack Obama signaled to millions of would be illegal aliens that if they can run across the border they will likely be here to stay.  It’s easy to point the finger at President Obama for the crisis at the border but one should not forget the role Senator Alexander played when he voted for S. 744 one year ago, which “encouraged more law breaking” in contradiction to the Republican Party Platform.  (And don’t forget that Bob Corker also voted for this pitiful legislation.)

A second instance of Lamar’s undermining of the very Platform he should in fact be supporting is his personal sponsoring and championing of the Internet Sales Tax Bill.  This legislation would allow out of state tax authorities to collect taxes from Tennessee businesses.  Yet the Republican Platform is replete with dozens upon dozens of references to maintaining low taxes and lowering taxes.  One of the most regularly used words in the Platform is “tax” but it’s consistently referenced in the context of lowering taxes, not raising them as Lamar has lobbied hard to do via his pet bill that would negatively impact millions of Tennesseans.

A third example was Lamar’s vote to stop debate on the Obamacare funding Bill.  His vote allowed Democrats to pass the Bill with a simple majority and defeat Senator Cruz’s attempt to defund Obamacare.  But let’s see what the Republican Platform has to say about Obamacare:

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—was never really about healthcare, though its impact upon the nation’s health is disastrous. From its start, it was about power, the expansion of government control over one sixth of our economy, and resulted in an attack on our Constitution, by requiring that U.S. citizens purchase health insurance.”

Did you catch that?  Obamacare is “an attack on our Constitution.”  And yet Lamar facilitated Obamacare’s survival by allowing its funding to continue.  Is it too much of a stretch to conclude that when our Constitution is under attack, Lamar would rather end debate, move on, and just get along with the other side?  I don’t think so.

There’s an old adage that says, “no money, no mission.”  And yet Lamar’s ill advised vote, contrary to the tenants of his own Party’s Platform, enabled the money to continue Obama’s mission:  “an attack on our Constitution.”

Needless to say, there are hundreds of other examples of Lamar’s disastrous voting record that put him at odds with not just a Platform and the People he claims to represent but most importantly our Constitution.  I have spoken to many local Republican Party leaders or former leaders in Hamilton County who one-on-one will express their frustration and embarrassment with Lamar’s performance.  But they remain “loyal” because that’s the expectation of the Party.  Obviously I won’t name names but you know who you are.

As I stood across the parking lot at the Rally this week, I viewed many faces of individuals that I recognized and we share a mutual respect and friendship.  Further, many of those individuals are regular attendees at our organization’s meetings and we have campaigned, contributed and voted for them.  I cannot help but believe that they were doing their “duty” to continue to prop up a nice man, an “institution,” but one whose time has passed.

Sadly, Lamar has shown himself no longer fit for the position he seeks.

Sadly, Lamar has repeatedly ignored the principles of his Party, his Party Platform.

Sadly, Lamar does not engage with or listen to his own constituents.

Shamefully though, Lamar has refused to even debate Joe Carr, a credible Republican challenger in a Republican primary.

Joe Carr has a six year track record as a Constitutional Conservative Republican and Tennessee legislator.  He is a successful small businessman who is pro-life, pro-marriage and a strong Second Amendment supporter. He has been enthusiastically endorsed by some of the most well known national conservative leaders and organizations along with dozens of his fellow state legislators.

So, as you consider the totality of the case AGAINST Lamar Alexander versus the case FOR Joe Carr, it should not come as a surprise that those 60 grassroots citizens were a bit animated and “rowdy” in their outcry against a “public servant” who appears to have forgotten who he is serving.

There is a flag that has come to symbolize the American spirit.  That flag is the Gadsden flag which contains a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike.  Below the snake are the words “Don’t Tread on Me.”  That flag is commonly seen at Tea Party and Liberty rallies around the country and it connects us to the spirit of our Founders.  The spirit is actually a reminder to our government:

Step back.  Disengage from our lives. Allow us to enjoy our Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness and you will not experience our fangs.  But stir us up, threaten our Lives, our Liberty and our Pursuit of Happiness and beware!  We will strike!

Perhaps Lamar has not realized he has stirred up the rattlesnake.

I’d like us to remember those famous words of Thomas Jefferson, “When the people fear the government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people there is liberty.”

We need a lot less tyranny and a whole lot more Liberty!

“Vote Carr… not Lamar!”

Postcript: At the conclusion of the Senator’s event, Lamar chose to exit out a back door and sneak into a private car which whisked him away to his million dollar coach that was waiting a short distance away.  Perhaps this fear of the people along with his fear of a candidate gives those “snakey” grassroots a glimmer of hope that Liberty is just around the corner on August 7.

Mark D. West
Ooltewah, Tn.

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