News tagged as 'Constitution'

A Moral Movement


Last week, I outlined a continuing series I would be writing on this blog about the Tea Party from a Christian perspective. My goal is to convince my spiritual brethren who are skeptical of our movement that they actually belong on its front lines. I believe an e-book (or a series of them) with the same goal would make a valuable addition to Voices of the Tea Party. This is merely one Tea Partier’s view on how our core principles relate to my faith.


As a Christian in the Tea Party, sometimes other Christians express concern to me that our movement doesn’t address moral issues. While they generally agree on the constitutional and economic stances we take, some are hesitant to join our cause because we don’t take a stance on some of the traditional issues the church is passionate about.

My response goes something like this:

–          Advancing constitutionally limited government—a defense against tyranny and oppression by a power-hungry government—is a moral issue.

–          Standing for fiscal responsibility (i.e., good stewardship) and against a government that spends money we do not have on programs that do not work, piling up an unfathomable debt that our children—who had no say in the matter—will have to repay is a moral issue.

–          Keeping markets free and fair so that government can’t reward and punish political allies and enemies through over-taxation and regulation is a moral issue.

–          Demanding virtue and accountability in our representatives (and in ourselves) so that they (and we) are trustworthy stewards of our God-given freedoms is a moral issue.

–          Because every person is created in God’s image and, therefore, possesses inherent value, protecting individual rights as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution is a moral issue.

–          Stopping government from destroying the value of the U. S. dollar—and countless lives—is a moral issue.

–          Allowing productive citizens to keep the fruits of their labor is a moral issue.

–          Insisting that government officials enforce and personally adhere to the laws we all operate under is a moral issue.

–          Opposing bailouts of massive corporations while you and I struggle to feed our families is a moral issue.

–          Fighting against forced redistribution of wealth (also known as “stealing”) and the promotion of envy by a corrupt, secular government is a moral issue.

–          Holding elected representatives accountable to their oaths of office by expecting them to act transparently, with integrity, and at least read and understand the bills they pass is a moral issue.

–          Simplifying the entire tax code so that it is comprehensible and fair to all citizens, favoring no special interest group over another, is a moral issue.

–          Becoming energy independent by using America’s own natural resources so that we no longer rely on tyrannical nations that seek our demise is a moral issue.

–          Protecting religious liberty is a moral issue.

I could go on, but you get the point. While these certainly aren’t the traditional moral issues that the church addresses, numerous Christian organizations are already doing excellent work on the others. Few, though—if any—address the issues related to constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and virtue and accountability—all of which contain strong moral components and align with biblical teachings. And the Tea Party, though not a religious movement, succeeds in advancing these founding principles that the Christian community often ignores to its own—and America’s—peril.

Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond, Virgina tea party.

Setting the Record Straight on Slavery and the Constitution


I want to comment on an aspect of the Constitution that has been universally abused over the years by politicians, teachers, professors, etc.  In fact, just recently Bill O’Reilly also got it wrong on The O’Reilly Factor.  I am talking about Article I, Section 2, which deals with how slaves were to be counted in apportioning seats in the House of Representatives (the famous three-fifths clause). 

Critics contend that the framers of the Constitution did not consider slaves to be fully human, because when totaling a state’s population, each slave was to count as only three-fifths of a person.  Wrong.  This provision of the Constitution allowed for three-fifths (60%) of the total number of slaves in a state to be counted toward the population total–big difference.  It had nothing to do with degrees of humanity.  It was simply a compromise that northern delegates made with southern delegates to prevent the southerners from leaving the Constitutional Convention.  Southerners wanted all of their slaves (100%) to count in the population total so as to increase their seats in Congress.  Northern opponents of slavery did not want to count any of the slaves (0%) since they were not citizens and could not vote. 

If the critic’s version is correct, and the three-fifths compromise actually reflects the Founding Fathers’ beliefs about a slave’s level of humanity, think about who the heroes and villains would be.  The heroes would be the southern slaveholders who wanted to count all slaves, and the villains would be the anti-slavery northerners who wanted them to count as zero.

Tim Johnson is a Professor of History at David Lipscomb University and author of  Liberty VS Power: The Founding Fathers’ Vision for America.

The Hamiltonian Scheme Was Not “Baked In” to the Constitution, It Was Manipulated After the Ratification



In your most recent post you made several assertions about the Constitution with which I strongly disagree. Our differences circle back to this:  To me, and I think to most Americans during the Founding Era who participated in the selection of delegates to the ratification conventions, as well as the delegates to those conventions, it comes back to this simple concept: A deal’s a deal.

By that I mean, it’s not some obscure unstated secret intent of the participants that determines what the secular covenant of the Constitution means. Instead, it’s the meaning of the plain words of the Constitution that matter.

Let’s start here, where you argue:

I think casting Hamilton as the usurper of the Constitution, and concurring in Jefferson’s and Madison’s casting themselves as its defenders, rests on a sentimental sense of early Constitutional history . . .  a view of the Constitution as essentially and fundamentally intended to do one thing — a Jeffersonian/Madisonian thing, associated with land, liberty, and decentralized authority — and to prevent another — a Hamiltonian thing, associated with money, authority, and centralized power. . .

You see Hamilton as pulling a fast one there — and I agree that a lot of what he says in The Federalist is just high-Whig blather, intended to soothe — but Hamilton had just as good reason to be shocked and dismayed at Madison’s suddenly opposing everything he did. . .

For me, the realpolitik of the framing — along with Article I, Section 10 –  makes it clear that one key part of the Constitution’s dedicated purpose was to eradicate popular schemes of public finance and empower the funding, assumption, and central-banking plan that Hamilton, Robert Morris, and the rest of the high-finance nationalists had been unabashedly working for since at least the early 1780′s. . . the Constitution came into existence, in large part, precisely to empower the Hamilton finance plan.

What you miss is that the “secular covenant” of the Constitution was not completely expressed in the arguments of Hamilton and Madison in the Federalist Papers–not even close. The “deal” that was captured in the words of the Constitution went through much longer and stronger fire than merely those rapidly penned arguments. It was more significantly formed in the back and forth of the debates at the ratification conventions in the thirteen states and in the election campaigns of the members of the House of Representatives to the First Congress.

You may recall that at the time they were writing the Federalist Papers, neither Madison nor Hamilton saw the need for a Bill of Rights. But Madison changed his mind before the secular covenant was complete, and for good reason. Unlike Hamilton, who never stood for elective office after the new government was formed, Madison went through the battles of a hard fought electoral campaign for a seat in the fifth Congressional District of Virginia against his friend, James Monroe. Madison learned an important lesson during that campaign. The people wanted a Bill of Rights. Madison, unliked Hamilton, fully recognized the sovereignty of the people from the beginning, and he listened to what he learned during that campaign. It was these kind of up front and personal engagement with the voters that formed the backbone of the Jeffersonian-Madison Democrat-Republicans. This isn’t mere sentimentality, as you suggest, but instead, an authentic reflection of the true intent of the Constitution.

These arguments were presented often and forcefully by the first national opposition newspaper, the National Gazette, during the Washington Administration, and then later by the Philadelphia Aurora during the  Adams Administration.

I will grant you this, however. Hamilton was quickly able to gain support for his extra-Constitutional schemes among some of the framers who shared his elitist views, if not his persuasiveness and energy. I point here to the example of fellow signer of the Constitution Daniel Carroll of Maryland, who in June, 1790 forcefully argued on behalf of a direct federal subsidy to his neighbor’s glassware factory. Carroll saw such federal largesse directed at a politically connected manufacturer, as Hamilton argued later in his Report on Manufactures, as Constitutional. Fortunately, Roger Sherman, also a signer of the Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Declaration of Independence, quickly dismissed such actions as entirely outside the bounds of the Constitution. Thanks to Sherman and the majority of the First Congress,  the first “government bailout” of a manufacturing firm was “negatived” by the House.

But the true intent of the Constitution was never to enable a Hamiltonian quasi-monarchical financial and political elite to use the federal government to undertake any project they saw fit. The true intent was reflected by the majority of American citizens and the early defenders of the Constitution–men like Jefferson, Madison, and Roger Sherman.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new  e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

Madison and Jefferson Defended the Constitution, Hamilton Usurped It



You’ve previously indicated your surprise that I trace the origins of the modern Tea Party movement’s critique of our federal government’s Constitutional usurpations to the actions of Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton during George Washington’s first term as President. Starting with his successful support of the establishment of a national bank, using the “necessary and proper clause” of the Constitution in ways both Madison and Jefferson deemed to be far beyond that document’s original intent, Hamilton supported policies that suggest many of the arguments he advanced just a few years earlier in The Federalist Papers were more tactical sophistry than sincerely held beliefs.

To me, Madison and Jefferson were the defenders of the Constitution, Hamilton the usurper. In his old age, years after Hamilton’s death, Jefferson said of Hamilton’s financial system that “[it] had two objects, 1st as a puzzle, to exclude popular understanding and inquiry; 2nd, as a machine for the corruption of the legislature . . . men thus enriched by the dexterity of a leader [Hamilton], would follow of course the chief who was leading them to fortune, and become zealous instruments of all his enterprises…”

I have two questions for you:

  1. Do you agree with my broad view of Madison and Jefferson as the defenders of the Constitution and Hamilton as the usurper?
  2. Do you agree with Jefferson’s statement that Hamilton’s financial system was “a machine for the corruption of the legislature?”

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new  e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

Restoring Constitutional Principles is the Future, Not the Past



I was surprised by your ending question:

To the extent that Tea Party ideas prevail, should we really be looking for a do-over not on the New Deal, not on the fourteenth amendment, not on judicial review, but on acts of the first Congress and accomplishments of the Washington administration? 

The Tea Party supports the plain meaning of the words of the Constitution as amended. Many of us view it as a secular covenant whose terms we are bound to honor. The only way to change that covenant is to go through the amendment process as described in the document itself.

We support the repeal of any law not supported by the plain meaning of the Constitution. Yes, that does mean the repeal of many of the concepts of further federal government intrusion espoused by the New Deal, enlarged by the Great Society, embraced by the George W. Bush Administration, and taken into the stratosphere by the Obama Administration.

Your suggestion that the Tea Party might call for a do-over of the fourteenth amendment is an idea I’ve not seen suggested within the movement. To the contrary, we view the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments as shining examples of the Constitution at work as it was intended.

As for suggestions that judicial review be eliminated, this too is a concept I’ve not seen supported within the movement. In fact, it was the lack of judicial review in 1791 when Hamilton persuaded Congress to pass and Washington to sign the unconstitutional National Bank law that started us down the slippery slope of creating new powers for the federal government not contained in the plain words of the Constitution, as amended.

Is the concept of judicial review infallible? Certainly not.

I can point to at least three examples of Supreme Court decisions which, to me and most Tea Party supporters are Constitutional abominations:

1. Dred Scott v. Sanborn

2. Wickard v. Filburn

3. Kelo v. New London

But the Tea Party solution to fixing these bad decisions is not to reject the concept of judicial review, which provides a needed safeguard to executive and legislative overreach. The solution is political — elect a President who will nominate and Senate who will confirm Supreme Court justices who view the Constitutition properly and understand their role–justices like Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

Finally, the problem with the First Congress and the Washington Administration lies primarily with the bad precedent set by the unconstitutional National Bank law. Remember, the supporters of that act were largely the same people who supported the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams Administration. Now there’s where we could have used judicial review!

Fortunately, the political process corrected some of those bad precedents when Jefferson was elected President in 1800, and voters “threw the Federalist bums out” of the House of Representatives in one of the most stunning political defeats in American history. Angry at the abuses of the Constitution perpetrated by the Federalists, the electorate turned a slight Federalist majority into a 2 to 1 Democrat-Republican Party majority.

Just as voters in 1800 called for a return to Constitutional principles, so too did voters in the 2010 election. Look for more of the same in 2012.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new  e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in January, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .

Liberal Versus Conservative Views of the Constitution



As a close reader of Hamiltonian finance, I’m getting especially interested in aspects of this dialogue that have to do with the historical bases of conservative versus liberal views of the Constitution.

I think we agree that the liberal reading of the Constitution is founded in large part on Hamilton’s argument when he was trying to form a central bank.  As many people may be aware, Hamilton argued for the bank’s constitutionality with reference to the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause (Congress can do what is necessary and proper to carry out its enumerated duties), to which you’ve said he gave an “invented meaning.”  You’ve summed up the conservative view in part by saying “Congress’s powers are limited to those enumerated in Article I, Section 8,” and you’ve emphasized that because the proper method of changing the Constitution is set out in the document itself — the amendment process — changing it via what you call “expansive judicial interpretations or executive usurpations” is unconstitutional.

So you read Congress’s forming the central bank at Hamilton’s behest not the way I do — a deliberately regressive measure, part of Hamilton’s and others’ pretty unabashed, longstanding plan to use federal power to concentrate wealth in elite hands and make that wealth available to the nation — but the way Madison did: an unconstitutional act of executive-inspired overreaching, illegal on its face.  And I’d guess you’d see the 1819 Supreme Court decision that upheld forming the second bank as one of the rulings that began changing the Constitution in ways not contemplated by the document itself, ultimately almost beyond recognition.  Hence your saying that the Tea Party wants to revive the Constitution, as ratified and amended, as our secular covenant.
This is an important point, which I think both conservatives and liberals might want to do more thinking about.  Liberal lawyers can — and do — eagerly take you on regarding how the Constitution is supposed to work, whether there are uneumnerated powers of Congress and penumbral rights of citizens, whether the Supreme Court may interpret the Constitution broadly, etc.  (And you can just as eagerly take them on right back.)  Liberal laypeople and pols choose to align themselves with liberal constitutional readings even as they reject (or ignore) the regressive Hamiltonian finance and executive-branch authoritarianism in which, I agree, those readings had their strange birth.  And so we go round and round.
But I’m interested in the  history of that very fight, beginning with Madison and Hamilton, and the politics of how the fight goes on today.  It probably won’t come as news to many readers that Tea Party and other conservatives have long seen welfare-state programs of the Great Society and the New Deal as expanding federal authority well beyond what the framers intended.  The post-Civil War amendments too have long struck many conservatives as concocting new rights, contrary to the intended operation of the Constitution.  Extending to citizens, as federally enforced rights against their state governments, rights originally created solely against federal power gets us into the legal maelstrom that has swirled forever around civil-rights, reproductive-rights, states-rights and other movements and marked the political wars of at least the past fifty years.

What I do think will come as news to many readers is that from your point of view, the Constitution was violated virtually from day one — the day President Washington signed the central bank into law — and that the violation gained fatal traction as early as the Marshall court.  It seems to me that in this reading, the Constitution can’t be said to have ever operated authentically.  Such a reading wouldn’t make you necessarily wrong (and nobody’s turned a colder eye on the Washington administration than me), but it would throw light on what Tea-Party-backed politicians really mean when they take a pledge, for example, to act only with regard to the literal meaning of the Constitution.  To the extent that Tea Party ideas prevail, should we really be looking for a do-over not on the New Deal, not on the fourteenth amendment, not on judicial review, but on acts of the first Congress and accomplishments of the Washington administration?  Because I don’t think most people know that.

Guest Contributor William Hogeland, a frequent contributor to and the Huffington Post, is the author of The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty and Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent: May 1 – July 4, 1776.

I Wouldn’t Call the Constitution a “Secular Covenant”



To me, this is an interesting discussion. (And I don’t see anyone else having it.) I hope others may also think so. This gets involved, so I’ll focus  my response on your discussion of the Constitution:

You’ve said the that the Tea Party calls the Constitution, as ratified and amended, “a secular covenant by which we are all bound,” and that I appear to regard the Constitution as something else. The Constitution seems to me to be manifestly binding and obviously secular (nothing I’m saying could suggest otherwise), so I suspect there’s something about your use of “covenant” that needs to be unpacked. Is “covenant” a reference to the incontrovertible fact that the document was written via delegation and ratified via representation?

Nobody can disagree that the Constitution was “formed in an intense, elaborate national discussion that took place over four long years from 1787 to 1791.” But I do infer that we have a clear and stark disagreement over the role of democracy in both the convention and ratification, and in this regard I have a disagreement with many liberal historians too. I think the convention’s purpose, as Randolph announced in calling the meeting to order, was to redress what he called “insufficient checks” against what he was not alone in calling “the democracy.” That meant not only uprisings like Shays’s but also, as both Randolph in his opening remarks and Madison in Federalist 10 make clear, legislation (however sluggish and rare) benefiting the less propertied through foreclosure relief, loan discounts, legal-tender laws, decartelization, regulation of business, paper currency emissions, etc. Randolph’s later refusal to sign (and his flip-flip in then promoting ratification), Wilson’s arguing for direct election of the President, differences between Madison and Hamilton that led to their later split — all of these are comprehended, for me, in a debate over the right means to an end of preserving political power for the well-propertied elites who had traditionally been responsible for governing.

When it comes to ratification, I don’t think I’ve said its process universally excluded ordinary citizens, and naturally I know that the process was representative, but you’re right to suspect me of being highly doubtful that democracy was much involved, if we take “democracy” to mean what the famous founders meant when they excoriated it: representation, officeholding, and delegation without qualification by property (what the populist democrats of the day called “manhood suffrage”). There’s obviously much more detail that we could thrash out here — and in any event, I don’t think the struggle between propertied elites and populist democrats, which is what I’ve been exploring in the American founding, came down to the federalist/antifederalist fight during ratification of the Constitution. But bottom line: No, I don’t see the convention and ratification process as “authentically democratic,” either in our terms or, more significantly, in the terms of the day.

So if Tea Party “covenant” language is based on the idea that the Constitution benefited from what you’re calling authentic democracy, then you’re right: I wouldn’t call the Constitution anything as Biblically powerful as a secular covenant. I’d call it something remarkable enough, a republic — our republic — with a historically problematic relationship to democracy, worth our close consideration.

Guest Contributor William Hogeland, a frequent contributor to and the Huffington Post, is the author of The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America’s Newfound Sovereignty and Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent: May 1 – July 4, 1776.

Executive Orders and the Constitution


Those of us who have reached a certain age can remember when presidential exercise of the “Executive Order” was a rare occurrence. Such is no longer the case. Indeed, it seems that an increasing number of governmental decisions are made by Executive order instead of through legislation.

This can’t be a good thing.

Indeed, when I hear of another Executive order I often think that Alexander Hamilton finally got his way. Our president is now exercising the kind of  monarch like authority Hamilton preferred.

How did this happen? Hamilton’s long winded speech at the Constitutional Convention advocating such executive authority was greeted with deadening silence. Yet, more than two centuries later it is Madison, not Hamilton, whose spirit is troubled by the conduct of our executive.

In 1999, attorneys William J. Olson and Alan Woll wrote an excellent article for the Cato Institute on this very subject. Executive Orders and National Emergencies: How Presidents Have Come to “Run the Country” by Usurping Legislative Powers lays out a detailed historical analysis that explains when Executive orders have been properly and constitutionally issued, and when not. It will come as no surprise that the authors concluded that in recent decades, presidents have abused the power of the Executive order.

The Cato article is a bit scholarly, and now outdated. However, this topic–Executive Orders and the Constitution–would make an excellent contribution to the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and the author of an upcoming book on the ideological origins of the Tea Party movement. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .



The Constitution vs. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as Civil Religion


Most tea partiers view the Constitution as a secular covenant whose terms the citizens and institutions in our republic are bound to honor.  As Professor Randy Barnett argued in his 2004 classic, Restoring the Lost Constitution, we observe the meaning of the words in that document, as they were written. We are “originalists” and consider proponents of “a living constitution” to be usurpers of that original intent.

A more modern variation of the “living constitution” school was presented in a 2009 New Republic article by Damon Linker, who argued that “moralistic therapeutic deism,” which he called “theologically insipid,” is perfectly suited to become our new civil religion. In effect, Linker called for this philosophy to replace the Constitutionalism to which the Tea Party movement and the rest of America adheres.

The term itself was first introduced in the  2005  University of North Carolina study of religious faith among young Christians. In it, the authors described “moralistic therapeutic deism” as a philosophy consisting of beliefs like these:

1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.

3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.

5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

A civil religion based on such a theological philosophy, unlike a Constitutionalist approach, is certain to be subject to changing popular opinions about the need for governmental action to be “good, nice, and fair.” Little wonder that  proponents of social justice and redistribution of wealth sound like proponents of this civil religion.

A Voices of the Tea Party e-book that compares and contrasts these two different views of American governance, especially focusing on the impact they will have on future elections, would be most enlightening.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and the author of an upcoming book on the ideological origins of the Tea Party movement. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .



In the Center of Controversy


After two years of Tea Party activism, I’m beginning to realize I didn’t understand what I was truly capable of when this movement began. I suspect that there are many stories of such personal transformation that would interest readers of the Voices of the Tea Party series.

Case in point: I’m a shy guy and have always operated under the assumption that I loathed controversy and would avoid it whenever possible. So when I—someone as blindingly white as they come—agreed to go on an African American radio broadcast last week and talk about the Richmond Tea Party with a friendly host, but instead encountered an antagonistic one who kicked things off by asking if I supported slavery, it stands to reason that I would have panicked, lost my voice, and possibly fainted from fear.

None of those things happened, I’m pleased to report. In fact, I found myself leaning into the microphone and offering impassioned defenses of America’s founding principles of liberty (which are, of course, antithetical to slavery, despite the horrific institution’s still being allowed at the time the Constitution was adopted). And as I spoke, the strange realization set in that I was enjoying the encounter.

It did help to have three other Richmond Tea Party people with me, two of whom are African American. But I didn’t retreat from the tough questions and let the others do the talking. Rather, I found myself wanting to jump in with my thoughts.

Overall, the entire experience could hardly have gone better. I believe we surprised the host with a lot of our responses, and eventually he pretty much handed the entire broadcast over to us to make our points. In the end, he seemed to believe our sincerity (despite throwing out the obligatory charge that we’re financed by those evil Koch brothers). We even had him agreeing with us that the solutions to America’s problems aren’t going to come from Washington, but from We the People.

When it was all over, the owner of the radio station came in and congratulated us. He thought it went so well that he’s having us back soon to host our own show.

Funny that I might not have agreed to go on if I had known I was walking into an ambush. That also wasn’t the first time something like that has happened to me since joining the Tea Party. Controversy just comes with the territory. For a guy who never wanted any part of it, I sure find myself in the center of it quite often.

But that’s okay—I’m starting to like it.

Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond Tea Party.