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Thoughts & Views: Tea Party: How to keep faith with America

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Since Congress put in motion the partial government shutdown, many federal civil servants have been furloughed but that hasn’t stopped federal park rangers from volunteering for trail maintenance in Hillsborough, N.C.

That gave me an idea for how members of Congress – who are still drawing their salaries – and particularly Tea Party advocates – can redeem themselves in the eyes of their constituents.

To earn their pay – and to honor the virtues of patriotism – some of our more agile GOP federal lawmakers, say folks like Eric Cantor of Virginia or Marco Rubio of Florida, for example, could venture out to South Dakota and check in at the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial.

The memorial – under an agreement between the federal government and South Dakota – remains open to visitors so don’t worry Congress folks, you won’t be breaking your laws by going there.

There, of course, are the images of four of the nation’s greatest (depending on your point of view) presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt – sculpted into the cliff face.

Wouldn’t they be doing the country a great service – and, in the process, saving ‘face’ – if Eric, Marco and company were to rappel down the mountain to give our nation’s former leaders a thorough dusting?

I ask you: What could be more fitting to honor America?

Now I grant you there may be some quibbling over a somewhat muddled party line among the four ex-chiefs: There are only two clear Republicans in the mix – Lincoln and Roosevelt. As a Federalist, Washington clearly favored a strong role for the federal government but the maverick Jefferson – with James Madison – formed the Democratic-Republican Party in 1792 as a sort of early states’ rights advocate.

So, three out of four should be sweet enough for the Tea Party brain trust. Just don’t think about defacing George, OK? Hey, he was the guy who set up the mechanism so you could have a job in the first place.

Now when you’re done with this chore – which should keep you busy for some time – and, thankfully, away from Congress – you should think about visiting Detroit which, you may remember, is broke. GM couldn’t save it. Federal bailout? We know the answer to that one.

So here’s my proposition. Again in the interest of public service – let us recall George H. W. Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” – why not pitch in and help do those many chores that you guys feel government has no business doing.

You know, stuff like picking up the trash, cleaning the streets, fixing broken street lights, getting kids to school, taking care of the sick and infirm.

Or, do we just write them off as a lost cause? Maybe Sarah Palin has a thought on this? Can she look out her window and see Mt. Rushmore? I hope so.

– Ron Leir

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