Opinion: The dark soul of the Tea Party movement

In yesterday’s Arizona Capitol Times Yellow Sheet Report, I was quoted as saying that if the state senator from Mohave County chose to challenge our incumbent United States Senator John McCain, her candidacy would “die in the darkness of her own soul.”

These are tough words that need, in my estimation, some further explanation.

Gratefulness is the parent of all other virtues. I find that most Tea Party advocates, such as the state senator from Mohave County, appear to lack any gratitude for the fact that we live in the greatest country on earth.

When I listen to a good deal of their rhetoric, I am drenched in negativity; the politics of vilification, the hatred of those who want to blame others for the challenges that confront our country today.

The Tea Party has become the “Party of No” and that is not the Republican Party I am a part of. It is not the party that John McCain, Jan Brewer, Fife Symington, Grant Woods (all of whom I have worked for) represent.

It is not the party of Jon Kyl, Jeff Flake, or Doug Ducey, either. All of these leaders are the products of American exceptionalism, a country based upon the notion that we are all created equal and are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and among those is the right to pursue life, liberty and most of all, happiness.

In “The American Crisis,” Thomas Paine said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should be not highly rated.”

John McCain has paid the price. John McCain knows the value of liberty and of freedom. John McCain has been an honorable public servant his entire adult life.

As the next election cycle dawns, I hope all Republicans are aware that we have lost the last two elections to arguably the most liberal president in the history of the United States. I am done speaking platitudes to our party’s disgruntled and ungrateful extreme right wing.
For me, I am going to celebrate the fact that Arizona has a U.S senator capable of producing results on important issues like water rights, the fate of our state’s military bases and the future use of our abundant public lands.

Most importantly to me, Sen. McCain is dedicated to the future security of our state’s border and the resolution of an immigration debate which has the greatest impact on the future of our state’s economy to grow, to thrive, and to create opportunities for others – to continue to give life to the American dream.

Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” We need more leaders like Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain, who epitomize the opportunity economy of the American Dream, in public service today.

For me, I will not let that dream die in the ungrateful, thoughtless hands of yet another Tea Party candidate.

All Americans should ask themselves the question posed by author Robert Thurman, “What is the deepest part of your inner mind, when you get away from all the surface distractions? What is down inside there? Is it a joyful, happy spirit? Is it an open loving spirit? Is it a bubbling well of positive energy? If it is, then that is the place you will be in the future.”
If it is not, well, put down the tea and figure that out for the rest of our sakes.

Editor’s note: Mr. Coughlin is president of The HighGround. The HighGround team provides its clients with a success-oriented, diverse team of media, public and government affairs experts. It specializes in dealing with complex issues on behalf of clients that face challenges or seek opportunities on a variety of governmental and public affairs levels. Mr. Coughlin can be reached at coughlin@azhighground.com.

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