Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Big Tractor and the TEA Party

One hears much these days about "Big Oil," and "Big Money," and "Big Pharmaceutical,"  Or Big Whatever.  We don't hear much about, "Big Tractor."  But it's all there, just the same.  Those successful tractor guys who might be deemed evil on account of their success.  But more basically, the tractors about which I'm going to write later are are..., well..., big.

But before I get to back to the tractors, let me tell you about the parade.  Joe and I and our family have been asked to walk in the Thief River Falls parade again this year with the TEA party float.  Oh,oh, here it is again.  That word.  Big. We're part of that Big Group of Extremists, the TEA party movement. 

I'll be glad to tell anyone all about it, and why I align myself with the TEA party movement.  But for now I'm going to give only a brief overview. 

What We Primarily Believe (I say primarily because I can't say that every TEA partier will believe all these things.  This is a list of primary common beliefs.)
  • We believe in the Constitution.
  • We believe in Limited Government.
  • We believe history shows that the best way to rescue our economy is to Lower Taxes at all levels.
  • We believe that Those Closest to a Person or Situation can best offer Help and Assistance rather than Washington Bureaucrats.
  • We believe in Personal Freedom together with Personal Responsibility.
Not the Primary Reasons We Stand Together (I say it this way, not because we are none of these things.  Some of the following, I hope and pray might describe none of us; other things on this list may describe many of us.  But these are not the purpose behind the TEA party movement.  None of the following are why we stand together
  • Racist
  • White
  • Wealthy
  • Republicans
  • Militiamen and women
  • Violent
There are many stereotypes and false allegations being spread around by the mainstream media.  And I imagine each TEA party event will be as varied as the communities in which they take place and the individuals who plan and attend such events.  I've been to three TEA party events in the Thief River Falls area (not counting the parade last year).  Each has been unique and interesting in it's own way. 

I'd like to invite any readers who think we are violent, heartless crazies to attend a TEA Party event in your community.  Engage TEA party leaders in your area in a conversation (not an argument).  You may not ever agree with them.  But you will almost certainly come away with an opinion of the movement different than that portrayed in the Mainstream Media.

My husband can remember playing with die-cast tractors and farm equipment when he was young.  You know the kind I mean, the ones often made by Ertl, that can be picked up at stores like Runnings, Big Bear, Tractor Supply or Fleet Farm.  Joe has fond memories of those tractors. Case, John Deere, and International.  McCormick, Massey Ferguson, and Steiger.  He even had a couple of Waterloo Boys.

But it tickles him pink to get a phone call from Kay Steiger, one of the Thief River Falls TEA Party organizers, asking us to help out. 

Kay's husband is Doug.  Doug and his brother, Maurice, built the first Steiger tractor in their dairy barn outside of Thief River Falls during the winter of 1957-58.  They had skill, they saw a market, they built up a reputation, and they became an industry leader because of their innovation and hard work.  They were able to provide jobs in the Fargo Area for many people throughout the years.  They contributed to the local economy.  They made a product that benefited farmers nationwide. 

This story captures the essence of the American Dream.  And protecting the ability of people to pursue the American Dream is what the TEA party movement is all about, in its support of freedom, lower taxes, and limited government.

Or maybe it's like detractors claim; maybe it's all about money.  Maybe it's all about those greedy folks in the Big Tractor industry.

But I refuse to believe it.

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