Fess Parker died this past March. I am old enough to remember the coonskin-cap craze ignited by his portrayal of Davy Crockett, in a Disney series that aired even before Madison built its first television station.
The real-life king of the wild frontier was defeated for reelection to Congress rather than support fellow Tennessean Andrew Jackson's policy for Indian removal.
"I bark at no man's bid," Crockett famously declared. "I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House, no matter who he is."
Ol' Davy would recognize today's tea partiers as his spiritual descendants. I walked among them on the Capitol Square on tax day, April 15. Conservatives. Thousands of 'em, right in the heart of Madison! Pinch me!
Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders took a quick, Mars-like probe to test his hypothesis. His startling discovery: They're not bat-guano-crazy after all.
The liberal establishment that now controls our city, county, state and national governments is gobsmacked by this phenomenon. The Tea Party movement scrambles the liberals' narrative of "the people" taking to the streets to demand more government (check the box): protections, goodies or permission slips. These people say less is more.
The tea partiers revere the Founders - the original limited-government folk. "Most bad government results from too much government," sayeth Thomas Jefferson.
They think the U.S. Constitution - at 4,400 words the briefest written constitution in the world - makes more sense than ObamaCare's 2,000-plus pages. (Now that the bill is law, the debate can begin about what is in it.)
These people believe adults can make their own decisions, enjoy their successes and learn from their failures. Which baffles grow-the-government types like Richard Kim of The Nation magazine.
"Fed a steady diet of paranoia and emotional appeals to vague concepts like freedom and liberty [vague concepts?!], they appear uninterested in the details of governing," he wrote in a recent column.
"For those on the left who believe that government should act as an agent of redistribution, this evidence should put to rest the idea that the Tea Party is a constituency we can work with," Kim scolded.
Let the battle lines be drawn.
The current debate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has said, "is about what kind of country we are going to be.... Should we now subscribe to an ideology where government creates rights, is solely responsible for delivering these artificial rights, then systematically rations these rights?"
The First Amendment? Until Citizens United, McCain-Feingold rationed political speech when it matters the most, at election time. Some business corporations (such as Isthmus Publishing Co. Inc.) were granted free use of it; others were prohibited.
The Tea Party people understand how prosperity is created, since they're the ones trying to do it. Now the National Association for Business Economics tells us Dave Obey's $787 billion stimulus package did nothing but add to the nation's historic indebtedness. Greece, here we come.
My Tea Party friends understand the importance of personal responsibility. Emily Mills, my delightful fellow Isthmus blogger on TheDailyPage.com, quit her day job and now feels the Constitution requires that others come to her rescue. She's complained on her blog about being "unable to afford the health care that I need because I've chosen to walk a career path that is where my passion actually lies."
Her choice, our problem.
We are approaching the tipping point, where 51% of the people demand payment from the other 49%.
In Wisconsin, state statute now mandates full insurance coverage for cochlear implants, autism and mental health. In California, wigs are covered if you feel bad about being bald. Has it been nearly 50 years since "Ask not what your country..."?
No, we have not achieved European socialism, yet. A few years ago, a disabled man in Denmark sued the government because it would not pay for his nookie. The fellow started seeing a prostitute after a course at a social center told his class that if they had needs, "they could do something about it." Sounds like ACORN Scandinavia.
"I had a strong desire to have sex," Mr. Torben Hansen told BBC World Service's Outlook program. "I want them to cover the extra expenses for the prostitutes to get here, rather than me going to a brothel."
In Denmark, the government compensates disabled people for the extra costs they incur because of their disability. Hansen sued to get the government to pay the extra cost of in-home prostitution visits.
What do you say, Davy Crockett? Time to man the ramparts at the Alamo on behalf of "some vague concepts"?
David Blaska blogs for Isthmus on TheDailyPage.com.