“Show up, show up, show up. Get involved, get involved, get involved. Get other people to get involved. When you don’t go to meetings to give your input, then they’re just planning everything for you.” So began the first Sierra Foothills Tea Party meeting of the year. Held on Thursday, Jan. 17 in the community room at Burke Junction in Cameron Park, about 50 people were present for an evening that included guest speakers.
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“We are a portal of education and action in the community — a forum for like-minded people to come together. It’s not our group, it’s your group. We want to hear your ideas,” said Terry Crumpley, 47, founder and leader of the group. During her invocation, Crumpley emphasized the number of city planning and other meetings she herself has attended in recent weeks. “I may not have seen my kids much, but someday they’ll understand. I’m trying to make a better country for all of us.”
The Tea Party is a grassroots movement that encourages participation in government and calls awareness to any issue that “challenges the security, sovereignty or domestic tranquility” of the United States. Inspired by the Boston Tea Party in 1773, in which patriots protested British taxation without representation by throwing 342 chests of East India tea into the harbor, the party holds the Constitution as inherently conservative. It is not surprising, then, that members of the party are concerned by recent calls to action from the Oval Office.
Present at the meeting were two guest speakers, Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California, and Doug Huffman, founder of the Sierra School of Survival, located in Pilot Hill.
“Right now, President Obama has called for 23 executive actions to make it harder for regular citizens to own guns,” said Paredes. “If he succeeds, every time you or I want to buy even ammunition, we’ll have to give our name, address, thumb print, drivers’ license … My heart bleeds for the children and families at Sandy Hook, but none of the laws they want to pass have anything to do with the massacres that have occurred. As long as we continue to talk about gun control instead of focusing on people, we will continue to have things like this happen.”
Parades also emphasized that, despite having more than 40 million legally owned guns registered in the state of California, the state’s crime rate as been on the decline for the past 10 years. “Three times as many people die in car accidents every year as from guns. So why does the government allow us to own ‘assault vehicles?’” The audience laughed.
Following Paredes, Huffman took the stage. The Sierra School of Survival is a program that teaches self-reliance and survival skills in the event of any natural or man-made disaster. During his speech, Huffman encouraged listeners to be prepared in the event of a national crisis, not only by equipping themselves with the right weaponry but also by stocking up on long-term food and water supplies, learning medicinal tricks, and building up their libraries in case the Internet goes down. Huffman feels certain that if another catastrophe like Hurricane Sandy hits, the United States will experience a level of inflation and crisis parallel to the Great Depression. If that happens, he’s determined not to be “that guy” at the grocery store fighting over a can of kerosene.
“Our economy has moved so far from its natural resources that it’s scary,” said Huffman. “We have a problem that isn’t solvable. But by being prepared, you can help yourself and the guy who isn’t prepared living next to you.”