Gerritson an example of walking the walk while talking the talkPublished 6:08pm Sunday, June 9, 2013
It’s a little odd to realize I’m actually acquainted with someone who has become – virtually overnight – a nationally recognized figure. But it’s true.
Becky Gerritson and the organization she represents, the Wetumpka Tea Party, gained widespread fame this week when she testified before Congress about the group’s experience with the IRS.
I first met Becky and her husband, Eric, a little more than four years ago. They contacted me at the newspaper asking for help in publicizing an event they were organizing – a Tax Day Tea Party.
The effort in Wetumpka was one of hundreds across the country arising from a grassroots movement encouraging patriotic protest against high federal taxes, wasteful big government spending and curtailment of personal freedom.
That initial rally in Gold Star Park drew more than 300 attendees. Both Becky and Eric were among the speakers.
“The tea parties are not just about economic issues, they are also about protecting our freedoms,” Becky said then. “This is about liberty. This is about freedom. This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats, racism or rich and poor. It’s about everyone.
“The fires of freedom are burning. This movement will not die. We want to remind those in Washington that this is government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
The Gerritsons and other like-minded folks didn’t stop there.
The Wetumpka Tea Party was formed and began to meet regularly, and more rallies were held.
“It’s time to take back our country,” Becky said in July 2009. “The only way it is going to happen is for regular people like you and me to get involved.”
The Gerritsons backed up what they were saying with action. The couple, with other local people, traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend national events and protests.
They continued to work to promote the cause they believe in so passionately.
Whether you agree with Becky’s views or not, her eloquent and impassioned address to the powers-that-be reflected well on our city and state.
“I am not here today as a serf or a vassal,” she said as a prelude to her testimony. “I am not begging my lords for mercy. I am a born-free, American woman – wife, mother and citizen – and I’m telling my government that you have forgotten your place. It is not your responsibility to look out for my well-being or monitor my speech. It is not your right to assert an agenda. The posts you occupy exist to preserve American liberty. You have sworn to perform that duty. And you have faltered.”
After describing the experience of seeking 501(c)4 status for her group, Becky closed with:
“I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and preserve the America I grew up in, the America that people cross oceans and risk their lives to become a part of. And I’m terrified that it’s slipping away.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that Becky has done exactly what she encouraged her friends and neighbors in Wetumpka to do four years ago – gotten actively involved in what she believes in.
That’s advice we should all heed, whatever the cause or belief we hold most dear.
If it’s important to you, get up, get out and do something about it.
That’s what Becky and Eric have done.
Until next week …
Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Herald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is peggy.blackburn@TheWetumpkaHerald.com.