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____ resident Roy House says he’s “just trying to find a place in the political spectrum.”

He had heard about the national Tea Party movement, which is why he said his curiosity drew him to a Tea Party-flavored meeting Tuesday night at Daddy Jim’s Restaurant in ____.

“I wanted to see if they are people of the same mind as I am,” House said.

About 45 people attended the conservative grassroots meeting, organized by rural ____ resident David Miller.

Miller, who owns a dog kennel, admitted he was guilty of not getting involved politically until he said he was forced to last year by Missouri Proposition B, which put severe restrictions on dog breeders and was narrowly passed by state voters. In campaigning against the measure, and later, when trying to get the new rules overturned, he found support among members of the Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement, which he has kept in contact with. In January, he attended a “Consent of the Governed” rally in the rotunda of the state capitol building and since then has been back to Jefferson City “at least a dozen times” to meet with lawmakers on issues.

“I know that unless we get up off our fannies and talk to the people we have sent to Jefferson City, to Washington, D.C., we are going to continue down a path that we’re not going to like,” Miller said.

He said he wanted to bring local people together Tuesday to not only hear an informative message, but also to share their thoughts and ideas and to create a network of communication to keep them in the loop on various issues.

“Whether you choose to do anything about it or not is up to you, but at least you're going to know what's going on,” Miller told the crowd Tuesday.

Dr. John Broom, PhD., one of the night's keynote speakers, said he had been involved in the Kansas City Tea Party prior to moving to ____ about a year ago and said he was glad that “somebody has decided to light a bonfire on a hilltop in Newton County.”

Broom proposed that that there are only two real ideological choices: Conservatism and Progressivism, often wrongly referred to as liberalism, he said.

Conservatives, Broom said, see people as generally good but flawed, and thus the human institution of government is inherently flawed as well. He said it should be limited and restrained by competing interests and that the most intrusive powers should be reserved for the levels of government closest to the people.

Progressives, on the other hand, he said, see humans as perfectible and human nature as continually improving. In this view, government is a means to a utopian end state of a perfect society where no one is poor, hungry or discriminated against, he said. Thus, government must have great power if it is to do great good and “it must have power to compel those who are simply not progressing toward the perfect end state to cooperate in their own improvement.” Power must be as centralized and concentrated as possible in that view, Broom stated.

“We need to see progressives for what they are: Not mistaken or misguided do-gooders, but inherently anti-liberty, authoritarian, totalitarian, dictators who want to dictate to us what is good for us because 'we are too stupid to know better,'” he said later. “These progressives are the same foes that strong, free peoples have been struggling against for the last 250 years.”

Those differences in vision, however, leave conservatives with a couple of big obstacles, Broom said, one being the question of how to paint a word picture of where they want America to go.

“Lower taxes, less government, more liberty — the mantra of the broadest stream of Tea Party thinking,” Broom noted. “These are generally popular, but empty of detail. What do they mean in real terms?”

He listed problems each might pose, especially in a society where “56 percent” of the population receive some sort of cash handout from the government.

“When we say less government, do we really understand what that means in terms of the reduced level of services that we as a society and as individuals have become addicted to?” Broom asked.

He said that lower taxes, less government, more liberty “are laudable goals, but at this point they are mirages.”

Broom said the other obstacle facing conservatives today is the practical world of politics, where people's emotions are often played upon to achieve a result — with the ultimate progressive vision of “an expanded, centralized and totalitarian state,” he said.

Some examples he gave include Missouri Proposition B (“who wants to hurt a puppy?”), national health care (“there are people without insurance”), and food stamps (“there are people going hungry”).

“See the vision? 'We're going to take care of you from cradle to grave, everything you need will be given you.'” Broom said.

Conservatives, he said, need to think hard about their principles and then work to define them. He said they need to articulate a 21st century vision of what an 18th century constitutional republic looks like, when no longer are a vast majority of Americans totally self-sufficient on their own land.

“We need to define how it works with a clear description of how 'Joe' and 'Jane' can benefit from that vision,” Broom said. “I'm not sure what that vision looks like, but together we can begin to make that vision.”
Rabbi D.F. Eukel, a Messianic Jew and Internet radio talk show host from Mt. Vernon, talked about how “leaders lead locally.”

Among other ways, leadership is on display, he said, when you teach positive values to children and grandchildren.

“They need the encouraging, the equipping, the empowering we give them by showing them these are visions and values that work in our exceptional American system,” Eukel said.

He said the citizens are not engaged by simply chatting about politics around the water cooler, but also advised that “American solutions win the future over passionate protests.” He said the self-removal of Christians from the marketplace of confrontational politics has left “a void of moral strength” in Washington.
“And ever since, we have been moving toward the precipice of a hellish cultural clash,” Eukel said. “It's time for believers to step into the marketplace.”

An audience question brought up later was if conservatives should remain within the Republican Party.
Eukel was adamant that they should.

“We are wasting time, energy and focus in any effort of a third party — stop it,” he said. “You’re wasting time and energy and you couldn’t govern even if you made it. Stop it. Repair the Republican Party from within. Take it strong, but repair it from within. And once you’re done with the Republican Party, go after the Democrat Party and take them over.”

In response to another audience question about how much time the American republic had left, Broom admitted he felt the “race was already lost” and that groundwork should start in order to rebuild 50 to 100 years from now.

“Do we give up? No. We don’t give up,” Broom said. “I'm a firm believer that the glass is always half full. It is always morning in America. And 'yeah, Davy, we can hold these walls for one more day.'”

Later, he likened the current American situation to being “on an express train going over the cliff to hell.”

“I have a lot of friends who have got off the train, pulled up a chair, popped open a beer and are ready to watch the train wreck. But I’ve got grandkids. I don’t want to watch the train wreck,” Broom said. “That means I will fight to slow this train down and stop this train until it hits the ground at the bottom of the cliff. That’s the only option we have. Because if we all give up, that train is picking up speed, we’re going to get there a lot quicker and that landing is going to be a lot, lot harder.”