The Boston Tea Party is an episode that stands out in the pages of American history, because it represents the colonists' defiantly uncompromising desire for liberty.  Samuel Adams, at right, was its primary defender.  All were protesting being taxed by a government that did not truly represent them.

Americans remembered this iconic event on April 15, 2009, as they themselves protested sending additional tax dollars to Washington in order to be squandered in spending programs which are monstrously irresponsible.  In a discussion concerning the healthcare crisis, Mr. Obama recently stated matter-of-factly, "We are out of money now.  We're operating in deep deficits."  Well, so much for the obvious!

At least the following postscript should be added: there is no question that American citizens have a legitimate complaint against the leaders of the Washington establishment for being fiscally malfeasant.  What else would you care to call it when the richest, most prosperous nation on earth has been allowed to degenerate into bankruptcy?  That is exactly what has happened.

When the human body is hemorrhaging, a physician looks for an underlying cause.  When a nation is fiscally hemorrhaging, citizens must ask why and seek out the causes.  Attempting to pinpoint underlying causes is anything but an easy endeavor, but such causes are precisely why American protests must concentrate upon much more than excessive taxation and irresponsible spending.

Those of us who support the rebirth of freedom and responsibility in this country and who filled the air with our indignant protests on April 15 must enlarge our perspective.  We must begin asking in a determined, hardheaded, and unflinching manner, "How and why has our country become derailed?"

Answering this question requires a much more insightful response than stating, "As a nation, we stopped following the Constitution."  Don't misunderstand me:  I revere the Constitution and happen to think that it has been perverted through the years beyond all recognition.  But it is a legal document.  Interpreting it, as well as any other body of law, can lead to many diverse conclusions unless the interpreters hold premises, traditions, and values in common.  May I be perfectly frank?  How and why America was derailed is a question about culture and values. Succinctly put, it's about public faith.

Public faith has been largely eroded.  It is time to restore it.  I am not advocating a form of sectarianism.  Far from it.  But I am talking about the soul of this country, what it stood for when settlers set out to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when Thomas Jefferson and the Second Continental Congress gave us the Declaration of Independence, when Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg and in his Second Inaugural, and when Franklin Roosevelt led us during the Second World War. The themes are marvelously consistent with one another. A public faith, broad but unmistakable in its contours, has always been America's inspiration.  It lies at the heart of this country, and its gradual erosion over the years has now come fully, and painfully, into view.

It is time for tea party groups throughout the country to broaden their horizons and, in addition to mere symptoms, to begin talking about causes, root causes.  It may even be time for these groups to contemplate a name change.  I would propose "Restore America" or "Take America Back."  It would be refreshing and revitalizing for citizens throughout this nation, before it's too late, to begin demanding not "Change" but "Restoration."  I can already hear the rhythmic cadence of our chant: "Take . . . America . . . Back! Take . . . America . . . Back!"

The American founders were not, according to the famously brilliant commentator James Bryce, highly experimental in their thinking.  Most of the ideas they represented had long since been pioneered by others.  The patriarchs of this land relied upon the tried and true.  Can we blame them for that?  Of course not!  Especially when for over 400 years this land has been a beacon of light and hope to the entire world.

A new time may be about to dawn.  It's an exciting time.  Let's take America back! Let's restore her to her pristine beauty.  In protesting the insanity we are now witnessing in government as well as culture, let us never lose sight of our underlying purpose, honoring values and traditions as blessed and noble today and tomorrow as they were yesterday.

May 30, 2009