For nearly a year, I had been attending the monthly meetings of the Ukiah Valley Patriots, our local Tea Party. My original intention was to forge a coalition between activists who want to bring about a more representative government, and Tea Party activists. Since both myself, and the Tea Party, hold the Constitution in high regard, I thought we had a lot in common.
At first, I was appalled at what I heard and saw there, and wrote letters to the editor about it. But then, the UVP leader, Duane, asked me to stop writing bad things about them in the newspaper. I explained that I only write the truth the way I see it, and Duane couldn’t disagree that what I wrote wasn’t true. He was mainly concerned with the UVPs being portrayed badly in public, and so I stopped writing anything about them while continuing to silently attend the meetings, observe, and take copious notes.
Granted, we may be on different sides of many issues, but in a free republic, we can disagree with our neighbors and still be friends. I continued to be appalled at the reactionary propaganda fed to the attendees, and the militant language they used to face every issue, but admired the very organized grass-roots techniques they were using. Without even hearing what I believe in, Duane stated that we have nothing in common. He threatened that if I didn’t stop coming to the UVP meetings that they would have to make it a members-only event. Considering that many members of the UVP are licensed to carry concealed weapons, and pack heat at all times, I'm lucky they didn't shoot me.
Well, the steering committee of the Ukiah Valley Patriots met and changed their bylaws to make it a member-only group, and presented their proposal to the general membership in January, which approved the change. They passed around a mission statement, and an allegiance form. 20 attendees signed the allegiance form; I, and another courageous man, didn’t sign, and we were promptly asked to leave the meeting. The reason was to not “discuss tactical actions with the enemy.” When they say “enemy,” they mean me.
The UVP state they organized in order to preserve the Constitution, and their core values, which include fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. They write that the architects of the Constitution stated that the Creator endowed us with the right to own property along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Oops! I guess I missed the part about the Creator giving us the right to own property. Ask a Native American if the Creator gave us the right to own property.
I am totally impressed that an unarmed, non-violent little old lady like me, dedicated to the Truth, and motivated to listen to what others believe in, trying to find commonalities, could be such a powerful “enemy” that a group would have to change their bylaws to get rid of the threat I pose to their membership just by my presence. Although I avoid pride and don’t seek power, that still makes me feel very powerful. I observe the feeling of power, and let it go into the stream of phenomena.