The tea party is a political movement, not a political party, and it began as a spontaneous reaction to the overreach of the federal government. Spurred on by Rick Santelli's rant, I (Dianne Belsom) organized a Tax-Day Tea Party Rally in April 2009 in my town of Laurens.
However, it quickly became clear that our movement wasn't so much about taxes as it was about freedom, and it also quickly became clear as to which of our elected representatives were on our side.
Facing a Democrat-controlled House and Senate with President Barack Obama in charge, I was desperate for leaders who would stand and fight against the radical agenda that was beginning to be implemented, an agenda which involved more government control over our lives, and less freedom.
It immediately became clear that Sen. Jim DeMint was just such a fighter, and Sen. Lindsey Graham was not.
One of the early actions taken by the Laurens County Tea Party, which formed in early 2010, was to organize the support of about 10 other grass-roots groups. We petitioned Graham to NOT vote for Elena Kagan, a nominee for the Supreme Court.
I have found over the years that it is useless to contact Graham about my views on legislation or court nominations; he invariably votes the way HE wants, and ignores the input from his constituents.
Kagan's nomination proved to be no different, and he voted to confirm this pro-abortion woman who indicated that the Constitution is not the final authority, but instead supports "world-governance."
Disgusted with Graham's inability to stand and fight against this nomination as opposed to his roll-over-and-play-dead attitude of "the President gets to pick who he wants," (which, if that's the case, why does the Constitution require the Senate to confirm his appointments?), our tea party group initiated a censure of Graham, and we had around 20 other grass-roots groups signing on.
For this and many other reasons, the tea party in general recognizes that Lindsey Graham needs to be replaced. He is a career politician who is out of touch with the views of his constituents. While Sen. Rand Paul was courageously filibustering in order to clarify as to whether drone strikes could be used on American citizens on American soil, Lindsey Graham was dining with Obama, and later he and Sen. John McCain blasted Rand Paul for his stance.
Lindsey Graham also showed himself to be out of touch by trying to drag our country into a war with Syria, and he supported arming Al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood revolutionaries in Syria.
Lindsey Graham is also part of the "Gang of 8," trying to shove a mammoth, 1,200-page "immigration" bill on us, which includes amnesty for illegals. And most recently, when House Republicans courageously sent legislation to the Senate that funded all the government except Obamacare, Lindsey Graham did all he could to undercut this strategy.
Ted Cruz stood heroically for 21 hours making the case against the implementation of Obamacare. The S.C. GOP Executive Committee passed an emergency resolution asking both of our senators to support Ted Cruz. Sen. Tim Scott, did; Lindsey Graham (surprise!) did not.
Had the Senate Republicans stood with Sen. Cruz, we believe the outcome would have been much different, and that failure now resonates as the implementation of Obamacare continues to hurt our citizens with a website that doesn't work, fines, skyrocketing premiums, insurance cancellations, etc.
Additionally, the county GOPs around the state have been working to pass a 29-point resolution to censure and replace Lindsey Graham, and to date, this has been passed in the following counties: Fairfield, Chesterfield, Orangeburg, Greenville, Laurens and Anderson.
Therefore, we, as representatives of both the establishment and the tea party, cannot support Sen. Graham in his re-election efforts and suggest that other like-minded individuals take a bold step and support a true conservative in the Republican primary next June. The time has come to "Lose Lindsey!"
Dianne Belsom is president of the Laurens County Tea Party.
Kevin Thomas is the Fairfield County GOP chairman.