Take back America! That’s the battle cry of the Tea Party movement whose members want to accomplish this by taking the country back to its roots and the halcyon days of yesteryear. Their agenda centers primarily on limiting the role of government and elevating individual rights that were initially established by our founders for the few. The Tea Partiers unfortunately are twentieth century citizens locked in an eighteenth century mindset.
On one hand, the Tea Partiers should be commended for their participation and protests. They should advocate for their perspective. That’s the American way. On the other hand, their obsessive focus on the past will not suffice to move America into the future. It’s like trying to drive a car down the highway only looking in the rear view mirror.
As various polls have shown, Tea Party members tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45. They are a highly vocal and disaffected minority.
There is a much larger and more diverse group of individuals who constitute today’s “moderate and silent majority.” Polls show that they too are frustrated by the country’s current condition. They have yet to be involved in the dialogue and discourse, however. For America to be successful in this century, they must engage. And, they must do so not as ideologues but as what we refer to as 21st Century Citizens.
21st Century Citizens understand that their responsibility is to take America forward and not back. They recognize this requires creating a sustainable competitive advantage that restores the economic and social fabric of the United States. They realize this demands a multifaceted effort and positive engagement on all fronts: individual engagement, organizational engagement, civic engagement, social engagement, and leadership engagement.
21st Century Citizens are willing to roll up their sleeves, join arms and to work collaboratively and constructively with each other to renew America and the American Dream. They are willing to stand up and speak out as concerned citizens — not as advocates for entrenched positions, or as members of political parties, or special interest groups.
21st Century Citizens understand that the constitution is the starting line and not the finish line. They are problem-solvers not blame-placers. They are future-focused and not fault-focused. They are proactive rather than reactive.
The national mood is one of anger and angst. We are in a pivotal period in the second decade of this new century. Our choice is to move backward or to move forward — to embrace the future or the past.
Three decades ago in somewhat similar times, Ronald Reagan stated, “I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all of the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal.”
It is time to renew America and the American Dream. It is time for our national renewal. Renewal requires creating, cooperating and community not regressing, reloading, or “refudiating.” To us, the choice is clear. We need to join arms as citizens in the 21st century brigade. We need to take America forward!