An Independent Voters View | Interview with a TEA Party Activist | Meet Ann Lindholm
There has been much in the news of late about the nature and tone of the TEA Party participants. The news coverage and speculation by the politicians seemed to be way off base from my personal experience, talking with the TEA Party folks at some of their rallies, so I thought I’d help some of you who may not know any of the people rallying out there on the street; calling for change, by introducing you to one of the Savannah Georgia areas TEA Party activists.
I met Ann last August at a town hall meeting, held by our congressman Rep Jack Kingston (R). The auditorium was packed and it was Standing Room only up in the balcony, when questions were being asked some one around us started asking for a chair. Being a gentleman my friend Bill found one and gave it to Ms Lindholm, but instead of sitting down she stood up on the chair so she could be seen (she’s about 5’2”), and started asking her questions from a list she carried with her. Tough pointed questions about what the proposed legislation would do to TRICARE the military health insurance for families. After she stepped down, we (Bill and I ) introduced ourselves and exchanged cards with Ann and later that day I checked her web site, American Soldiers Wife and read about a caring and engaged individual, serving our country along side her husband. Not the plotting radical that the News Media or certain elected representatives would have you believe, so I am proud to introduce you to Ms Ann Lindholm, an American Soldiers Wife..
1. Ann, I covered the highlights in the Introduction but would you please tell us more about yourself?
I am the wife of an American Soldier, I am foremost, a Christian. I make my decisions and choices based on my faith in Jesus Christ and His will for me. I am the mother of four amazing children who have a genuine desire to know God and share Jesus with others. I am a nationally certified personal trainer, which is how I met my sweet husband; he hired me as a trainer at his gym. I had just started college when I was pregnant with my first daughter and did not finish. I have returned to school full time for an Assoc. Degree in Homeland Security. I have always been interested in politics, the political process, etc. thanks to my wise father. I have not been actively involved until Obama began campaigning for the Presidency. So, you have Obama to thank for my involvement.
2. What got you involved in the TEA Party movement?
I was extremely upset at the large corporate bail outs, frivolous and irresponsible spending habits of our government leaders, and scared to death of the direction our nation was headed. I heard about the tea parties being planned on Fox News and was told to go a particular web site to find the one nearest me. I did, and attended my first tea party rally at RousakisPlaza down town in Savannah. I brought my three youngest children with me. I was fired up and knew from that moment, I had to get in the middle of it and do something more than just scream. I joined the Savannah Tea Party Committee.
3. What would you say are the objectives of the TEA Party? How does that align or differ from your own personal ideas or objectives?
It is difficult to say what the objectives are for “the” tea party. There are numerous tea party groups, too many to count, all across the nation. I can only speak for a few that I know the members personally.
Some Parties have the intentions of getting politically involved, vetting candidates, endorsing candidates, holding fund raisers, etc. Others have the intentions of solely holding rallies for the purpose to inform and educate the public. Then, there are yet, other Parties, such as the 13th Colony Patriots, who serve more as watch dog type groups. They are politically involved, hold debates etc. They also do a lot of research on candidates and politicians. They keep a close eye on who votes how and what their actions are.
They have made many trips to D.C. and have not only rallied on the lawn, but they have actually hand delivered petitions, scheduled appointments with legislators and attended those meetings, they have been involved with training conferences and other important activities to carry the rallies into a much needed new realm of activism. It is one thing to rally and protest, but it is another thing to actually create the change and be a part of that change. You will meet resistance along the way, but that is okay if what you are standing for is just, morale, and stands on principle and value.
4. The loose national organization has been the subject of much derision by the professional politicians; could you explain how the TEA Party is organized?
Again, I cannot explain how every Tea Party is organized. It truly is a grass roots movement, a revolution. There is no nationalized organization or cookie cutter plan to follow. There is no messiah, or one leader. In fact, when our groups have gone to D.C. and to these other training conferences; such as the one I attended last January hosted by American Majority known as the Post Party Summit, we continue to find out that there are more and more Tea Party groups near us that we had not heard of. It literally is a grass roots movement. We pay our own way to get to events. We raise funds to put on the rallies. We pay for the buses that charter us to D.C., etc. We do not have organizations such as ACORN, SEIU, MoveOn.org, OFA, or any other organization that pays our way or buses us in and out. Nor do we want them to.
We do it because we believe in what we are doing and we love our country. We do it for the future generations, in hopes that they will not have to. We do it because our forefathers did it for us. We do it, because we love our freedom.
5. Does the organization need a leader? If so who do you think is a likely candidate?
NO. That is exactly what we are fighting against and protesting against now. The abundance of government involvement, and the intrusion of bureaucracy in what should be our own business. We want freedom. We want free enterprise. We are smart, intelligent, and independent thinkers who are capable of making decisions for ourselves. We are capable of uniting with others who are of like mind and creating change without needing an organized leader.
6. Has the TEA Party started raising ‘structural’ funds say like the DNC or RNC does to support candidates nationwide?
No. There are a few groups and PACs, such as Americans for Prosperity, American Liberty Alliance, and American Majority who support the movement by providing training conferences, educational materials, on-line classes, network capabilities, etc. They also unite several groups and go on Tea Party Tours, working in conjunction with other groups and people.
7. The TEA Party has often criticized the TARP legislation, and Auto industry bailouts, with more and more of the loans being repaid (even by GM), do you still think it was the wrong thing to do? Why?
Yes. This is the original reason why I showed up at the first rally. It is not the government’s place to bail corporations out when they cannot follow fiscally responsible standards. No where in the Constitution is there a provision that states this. Many say that if they had let them fail that our economy would have plummeted, and we would have gone into a deep recession. I don’t know that it would have been a bad thing necessarily. I am not saying I wish that would have or ever will happen. What I am saying is that learning from our mistakes is appropriate. We teach our children from a very early age that they will suffer real consequences for their actions. They can not expect to be bailed out or always carried through. My parents did this to an extent as well.
Frankly, I deserved to fail a lot more and probably would have made some harder mistakes as a younger person; but, I would rather make those mistakes then when it counts less. As an adult the mistakes get bigger and hurt worse. Same goes for large corporations, you keep bailing them out and they will not learn true fiscal responsibility, nor will their peers. As a married couple, we have made mistakes. We have to live on a tighter budget now. It does hurt that we cannot provide our children with everything that they want. Honestly, if we could, we still would not give them everything. They must learn how to help themselves, which is why our 15 year old has a job. She is not happy about it, but, she wants to buy expensive hair care products, then she will work.
The large corporations want to run a business. They knew long before they were going bankrupt that they were not doing well. Going bankrupt does not happen over night, usually. It usually happens because of bad habits and other misfortunes. Nonetheless, one can usually see it’s foreshadow. My point, make plans long before you know you need them. Was it not odd that so many large corporations all of a sudden needed to be bailed out so quickly or our economy was going to bust. Why was it that all Americans somehow were going to feel that burden if we did not bail them out? Who is feeling that burden now? We are.
Are you aware of what is in the Economic Stimulus Package and the Auto Industry Reinvestment Act? I will tell you just a few things:
1) Legal counsel for clearing the credit history of criminals exiting the prison system,
2) Highway construction and pot hole filing,
3) Special teachers and assistance for students in urban areas who are failing to meet the state standards for graduating,
4) Lap top computers and tazers for city and local level police departments,
5) Loans and loan repayment assistance for rural housing,
6) Funding for local community centers of which the funds have not even been used yet. Might I add that these loans are on a “revolving” account which means that once the loans are repaid, the President and those in positions to make decisions of allocations can reallocate funds again and again. We are talking over $17 Billion!!! Does that not bother you? That is what the tax payers are paying for. I did not realize that pot holes were such an emergency. I sure would like to get my credit history cleared, maybe I should commit an offense, get arrested, go to jail, and then I can get it cleared for free, by you, the tax payer.
The other thing to consider is the budget crisis in the public schools massively sweeping across our nation. In ChathamCounty specifically they are talking about raising the millage rate and property taxes to help “bail them out” of their financial crisis which they created. Did they seriously not see this coming? If you look at the 2008 budget for ChathamCounty you will find how much the school board members were getting paid in 2008. The superintendent alone had a total combined salary, after fringe benefits and other bonuses, of $837,918. Wow. They have at least five financial legal advisors raking in the dough, yet, they are $37.5 million in the tank. Hmm. Maybe they should reconsider paying financial advisors who missed the misfortunate debt problem rolling in. They pay for cell phones and service for numerous staff members. They only recently lowered that to just 55 members. Why not use hand held radios?
8. What do you see as the top three issues in the upcoming congressional campaigns?
Fiscal Responsibility, economy (to include jobs), more power to the state of Georgia, the education (budget is way out of control and leaders are corrupt)
9. How active is the TEA Party in the local and state wide races?
It depends on the individual group. Some are very involved and active, others not so much. The Savannah Tea Party has chosen to not participate, I do not that support that decision. I wish we would get more involved. 13th Colony Patriots are involved, Golden Isle Tea Party is very involved as well as some others.
10. What issues are facing Georgians in these races and what are the key issues for Georgia?
Education is losing its credibility fast! The School Board, even quicker. The job market, it is hurting way too many people. I know too many small business people personally who are literally getting four hours of sleep a night because they cannot afford to hire anyone else and they have to do most of the work themselves. I also know many who are still looking for work or have accepted jobs way below their expertise just to suffice until they can find something else. Some people have to move away from Savannah to find work in other thriving areas. This will hurt Savannah now and in the long run. Savannah is already behind in many aspects.
11. Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
1. Vote on candidates based on their values, principles, and integrity. NOT their personality, your friendship with them, or any loyalties or allegiances. Vote for who is best for the job and who will represent you and the whole in the best way.
2. REGISTER to vote. Educate yourself on all of the candidates before it is time to vote. Call them if you have to. VOTE!
3. Get involved in the political process. It does not end after you vote. Your job is not over. We are the managers. We are to keep a close watch on our elected officials. If they are failing to meet our standards, then we must let them know that. We must stay in contact with them. Support them when they perform well and Expose them when they do not.
4. Do not be afraid to talk politics with your family, friends, and neighbors. Be cordial, but bring it up. Be knowledgeable, informative, and kind.
5. Vote for Max Wood GA Attorney General and vote for Ray McKinney Congress 12thDistrictGA
Thank you John for your service to this great nation. Thank you for wanting to interview me, I hope that I do not scare your audience away! God bless.
So you see I think that the folks aligned with the TEA Party are not the picture being painted by the mainstream media. It is a group of dedicated Americans working in the realm of civil political discourse to bring the light of day to the problems facing America. You may agree or disagree with them, but you can not discount the commitment and the impact they are likely to have in the coming years. Thank You Ann, keep up your good work, and God Bless you and America!!
Note: Comments are always welcome and I recognize that many who might read this may disagree with me or with Ann, if you do so in a civil way you comment will be displayed and answered by me. Thank you in advance, and God Bless!
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