David Saucedo is a leader in the Tea Party movement hailing from Waco, Texas. He is a performer and is currently on a national tour with the Tea Party Express, taking the message of their party across the country. In an effort to understand the Tea Party movement and gain some clarity about their beliefs, I approached Mr. Saucedo and asked to interview him. Having agreed, I submitted several questions to Mr. Saucedo concerning the economic and political philosophies of the Tea Party movement. This is what transpired.
1. What is the basic platform of the Tea Party Movement?
The TEA party movement is based on limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market. I would say the goal is restoring America back to a Republic based on law.
2. How did the Tea Party come about? When and where was the party established?
As far as I know the TEA Party movement started when the majority of Americans connected with the message of Taxed Enough Already. Sometime in early 2009.
3. How would you have the general public distinguish the Tea Party movement from the birthers and other right wing extremist groups?
It’s unfortunate, but just like in any other movements, there are people that carry the name without the principles. The TEA Party movement is about fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government. If you would like a great example of a TEA Party, visit www.wacoteaparty.com. Here in Waco, we are focused on monitoring our elected officals, promoting free market solutions and vetting candidates in a real way. Feel free to point out any differences on your own.
4. What is your response to the charge that racism and xenophobia serve as the underpinnings of the Tea Party movement?
I’ve been to TEA Parties across the nations and I have not meet a racist yet. I believe that racism and other non relevant arguments are the only ammo TEA Party opposition have. How can you argue against a movement that brings a majority of Americans together in support of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market? As for being xenophobic, I would say that TEA Partiers, for the most part, are dedicated to what works rather than afraid of what’s different.
5. How would you explain incidents between Tea Party activists and Black members of Congress-particularly charges that someone from the Tea Party spat on Representative Andre Carson of Indiana and in a separate incident Representative John Lewis of Georgia was called a Nigger?
These allegations have long been proven untrue. One of the two congressmen came out and said it never happened. The day Congressman Carson was allegedly spat upon, 90% of the media present were hostile to the TEA party. Why hasn’t any video evidence been presented, even with a $100,000.00 reward for any such evidence? I seen “say it don’t spray it” but no assault took place.
6. Why didn't the Tea Party movement make a presence during the Bush administration? Where were the protests against the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or to Bush's response to the economic collapse in 2008?
During the Bush administration people were just opening their eyes to the fact that American Leadership is two parties of stupid! Obama came with his promises of no more business as usual campaign. The only problem is that his administration is nothing but politics as usual. Obama’s administration is pushing America toward collectivism more than any President in our history. He’s just the straw that broke the activist back. The same people that voted for Obama’s hope and change are the people that are standing against his agenda. Look at any poll you want, people do not want his high tax, high spend change. If officials would look to their constituents for solutions, they would find solutions that make common sense. That’s what the TEA Parties are doing, becoming the solutions.
7. What are your assessments of the changes in the American economy in the past thirty years? Where do you ascribe either blame or credit for these changes?
When we talk about the changes in the American economy, I would rather understand the first 200 years rather than the last 34. Fractional banking and central banking are the biggest reasons for our economic problems. Any American official that does not speak out against the federal reserve is to blame, that includes democrats and republicans! If we do not have a solid monetary system, financial reform is just a distraction from the real problem. This is a great question my friend, but the answer to it can be better explained at www.educatorsofliberty.org. If your willing to spend the time, you can learn a great deal about our current monetary system and how un-American it is.
8. Do you feel that Reagan or at least Reaganomics bear any responsibility for the collapse of "the American Way of Life" as we have known it socially and economically?
I don’t know enough about Reaganomics to speak about it. I do feel however that my previous answer addresses the issue of the collapse of “the American way of life."
9. It used to be fifty years ago that in the United States, it was people of color who went to school, got degrees, and then found themselves working as domestics and in other menial employment. This was due to discriminatory practices. Now, almost everyone, regardless of color, face prospects of finishing college with few prospects in terms of anything approaching substantial gainful employment. Do you recognize a natural progression between these two social phenomena? What do you think is the onus for these developments in the American economy?
I’ve met people with more degrees than a thermometer that just don’t have any common sense. I’m a believer in striving to work for yourself rather than working for someone else. If you have the intelligence to run a corporation or organization, why would you strive to work for someone else? I know why, because our education system teaches us our whole lives to make good grades, do good in school so you can get a good job and work for somebody. I support the Dare To Dream approach to teaching our children to succeed, because it teaches them to spend most of their time working for them selves. We always have students that choose to work toward a career with an existing business or corporation, but many choose self employment when given the choice. If we want to see more professionals we have to work on a system that caters to the individual and teaches the power of an individual with the liberty to strive. I blame inaction on the community level for the low number of professionals coming out of low income areas.
10. Does the Tea Party blame undocumented workers or immigrants as a whole for the troubles in the American economy?
No one blames undocumented workers or immigrants for our economic problems. As a TEA Partier I do not deal with immigration because I haven’t seen yet, how it would fall under limited government, free market or fiscal responsibility. I do however have thoughts on the issue as an individual activist. Our borders are real and it is a crime to illegally cross them. As an ex-convict I know first hand what happens to Americans when they break the law. It is unfair to let certain people break law without punishment, yet prosecute others. I will go back to my feelings that we MUST take our country back to it’s law based origins. We can not continue disregarding the laws of our land.
11. What are your thoughts on the immigration debacle now happening in Arizona?
It is not Arizona’s job to secure Americas borders! If the federal government were doing their job, Arizona would not be forced to take such measures for the safety of it’s people. That being said, I have read the Arizona law and it does nothing more than mirror federal law. I support the Governor’s actions because she specifically prohibits racial profiling.
12. What do you make of Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James' television ads calling for an "English Only" policy in the state of Alabama? Many people describe these ads as racist and offensive.
I can’t really make anything of it. If it is purely for the purpose of saving the state money then it isn’t racist, it makes sense in these tough times. Only Mr. James can know his true motives. I’m eager to see how his campaign plays out.
13. Would you describe the Tea Party movement as anti-immigrant?
The TEA Party is limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market. I would not support the TEA Party getting involved in the immigration issue unless someone can clearly show how it falls under one or all of the above mentioned issues. The TEA Party movement is not about social issues, even though supporters of the TEA Party movement can’t help but express their individual feelings on social issues. I would suggest that you look into the leadership of any TEA Party, if you see that they are picking up social issues outside of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free market, you can call them on not properly representing the TEA Party movement. But always remember, no one TEA Party represents the whole movement.
14. The Tea Party is very vocal about the unfairness of the tax system in the United States. Does the Tea Party Movement call upon corporations to pay their fair share of the tax burden?
I’ve been looking into the Fair Tax movement, I can’t speak for the whole TEA Party movement, but I like the Fair Tax approach. I’ve been politically involved for less than a year so I am learning as I go. When it comes to unfair taxes, The Fair Tax movement looks like the best solution to me at this point.
15. Where does the Tea Party fit into the context of previous populist movements in the U.S., particularly the populist movements of the 19th and early 20th Centuries?
The TEA Party movement is all about fiscal responsibility, free market and limited government, what were the others about? Once you put them side by side you can determine their similarities and differences.
16. What impact do you hope the Tea Party movement will have on American society?
I will work within the TEA Party movement to revolutionize the way we engage our elected officials. I believe the TEA Party movement will be the biggest factor in replacing non-conservative officials throughout the nation. I see the framework in the TEA Party that will carry messages of solutions to every state without the help of government. Look at any poll, the TEA Parties are clearly Americas choice when it comes to understanding the issues.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview.