Nationwide, the United States' electorate is to the right of center. The federal government, however, is hard left. Thus was born the Tea Party, 21st Century version.
In California, our Senators are Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Things are no better in my new home state of Pennsylvania, where two more Senate Democrats Arlen Specter and Robert Casey preside.
This is not to suggest that the Republicans are more representative, something the Tea Party goes out of its way to make clear.
Witness the GOP's support for trillion dollar medical plans or massive bail outs for failed Wall Street banks. Those programs represent big government at its worst at a time when the grass roots wants less government.
The Tea Party movement is the most exciting political phenomena in decades and has demonstrated it muscle in a series of recent special elections in New Jersey (Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine defeated by Chris Christie), Virginia (Republican Bob McDonnell won comfortably in a state carried easily in 2008 by Barack Obama) and Massachusetts (Republican Scott Brown improbably ascended to the Senate seat held for nearly 50 years by liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy).
In perhaps its biggest victory, the Tea Party's influence stopped Obamacare dead in its tracks.
Earlier this week, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele invited disgruntled Tea Party representatives to the GOP's Capitol Hill headquarters to make nice. Instead, they vented.
Painted by its detractors as extremists or radicals, the Tea Party more accurately reflects the nation's mood—angry and disgusted at Republicans and Democrats alike.
Citizens, concerned that too much authority is concentrated in the central government, have a profound mistrust of power in Washington.
The most invigorating element in the Tea Party is that it has caused the deep, private transformation from apolitical Americans who through their prior indifference are indirectly responsible for the rise to power of our non-responsive government into activists who claim that they are prepared for tyranny.
What's going on within the Tea Party movement has been building for years and, if it doesn't have it already, merits the immediate attention of all in Congress. With 5 U.S. Senators having resigned in recent weeks and with dozens of other Congressional seats clearly in play in November, the political stakes are high.
One of Congress' most vulnerable up for re-election is also its most powerful, Nevada's Reid.
Accordingly on March 26, the Tea Party Express III kicks off with what it describes as a mega rally in Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nevada and then will continue east until appropriately ending on April 15 in Washington, D.C.
Along its way, the Tea Party will carry this message:
"You the politicians in Washington have failed We the People with your bailouts, out of control deficit spending, government takeovers of sectors of the economy, Cap and Trade, government-run health care and higher taxes! If you thought we were just going to quietly go away or that this Tea Party movement would be just a passing fad, you were mistaken. We are taking our country back!"
The short version reads simply: "Just vote them out!"
As someone who cast his first presidential vote in 1964 for conservative Republican Barry Goldwater, based on the Arizona's Senator's strong commitment to smaller government and individual freedoms, the Tea Party gives me more hope for America's future than I've had in the last 50 years.
If I still lived in Lodi, I'd be in Searchlight on March 26th.
Instead, on April 11th I'll join up with the tour in nearby Erie, 100 miles north of Pittsburgh, no matter how much snow and ice may remain from our winter storms
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.