We the People

In an ongoing effort to be more informed and a tad less reactionary to those points of view that I may not necessarily be simpatico with, I spent some today time trying to better understand the workings of America’s Tea Party Patriots. After a few hours of dissecting their website and reading through the posts of their blogging minions, I came to the conclusion that, with the exception of some additional descriptive language and a few new labels for your foes, the rhetoric of the republic has not changed all that much in the past two hundred and thirty-four years—on either side of our political quarrels.

Quite frankly, it is hard to argue with those expressed core values of the party that call for fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets. I haven’t met an American yet, no matter what their political leanings were, that hasn’t demanded the same from Washington if it was in line with their own particular issues and self interests.

But then there are those days like today, when millions of gallons of Gulf crude are about to devastate habitat, destroy life and disrupt the economic livelihood of thousands of people—that one realizes that a little more regulation and intrusion on the free market is a good thing. Had the Federal government required a remote control acoustic shutoff switch on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, as is the case in other countries, this environmental catastrophe may have been averted. And although the well-intentioned corporate citizens at British Petroleum will supposedly be picking up the tab for this environmental nightmare, I suspect that American taxpayers and consumers will pay dearly for this disaster—effectively driving another stake through the heart of fiscal responsibility.

In order for the Tea Party to realize its dream of a “government-free laissez faire libertarian world,” human beings would have to prove themselves capable of responsible moral and just self governance. During my American journey, I have experienced that possibility only once.

While researching a recent article about The Inn at Millrace Pond, which is located in the eighteenth century Moravian village of Hope, New Jersey; I spent some time delving into the history and philosophy of the people who settled there. Moravians guided by the principles of charity for all people, fellowship and understanding, built successful independent self-sustaining communities. Both their individual and communal lives were governed by a simple creed: “In essentials, unity; in non-essential, liberty; and in all things love.”

AP Photo/The Pensacola News Journal/Bruce Graner

Like those that served the cause of 1776, they understood that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was about We the People—and not me the people!

Posted by: Chris Poh

Of Tea Parties and Beer Summits

As the American media shifts its myopic view away from the tragedy in Haiti for the next two days, and focuses on the potential earth-shaking Democratic debacle in Massachusetts, the President probably wishes that he would have thrown a few more ”Beer Summits” for the good citizens of the commonwealth during the last few months. Because it now seems likely that as the Democrats muster their forces in Lexington, Concord and elsewhere throughout that so-called bastion of liberality, the faltering campaign of Martha Coakley will fall victim to another “Tea Party.”

Whether or not the voters of the “Bay State” opt for a spot of tea or a pint of beer on Tuesday, it seems certain that the outcome will further America’s political partisan divide over the issue of healthcare reform. While I applaud most American’s ability to put aside our differences on behalf of the people of Haiti, I wish those same humanitarian impulses could also be applied to the care and wellbeing of our own citizens. 

As for myself, I will raise a glass in the hopes that we can come together to build a healthcare system that is equitable and effective – in time to save a large portion of our population, like the people of Haiti, from being dependent upon the generosity and compassion of Doctors Without Borders!

Posted by: Chris Poh


A Tea Party for the New Year

"Declaration of Independence" by John Trumbull

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”           Thomas Jefferson

There has been a look standing debate among historians as to who is stepping on whose toes in John Trumbull’s famous painting, Declaration of Independence. There are those that claim that upon close inspection of the original work, which today hangs in the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington DC, one will notice that Thomas Jefferson is stepping on the foot of John Adams. For those whose political leanings are more “Anti-Federalist,” John Adams is viewed as the offending party. No matter which camp one falls into, it seems that from the very founding of the republic the quest for our inalienable rights has meant tripping up the efforts of those Americans that had a different point of view as to the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Regrettably, during the last several months the debate over healthcare has exacerbated the cancerous partisanship and deepened the discord of our citizens. We seem to have lost sight of the fundamental fact that the health of our nation is dependent upon how we treat and care for each other.

As we begin a new year it is our profound wish that we can meet the challenges going forward with a renewed spirit of cooperation and reconciliation. Here’s hoping for many more “Beer Summits” in 2010 – or at the very least a few cordial tea parties.

The staff of American Public House Review wishes everyone a Happy and Healthful New Year!

Posted by: Chris Poh


Be Good or Be Gone


Based upon the tone at recent town hall meetings, it appears that some rather spirited Americans are experiencing the summer of their discontent. This may one of those rare times when our elected officials wished that they would have chosen to forego recess in favor of the tedium of late night legislative sessions in Washington.

 I know that I speak for the entire staff of American Public House Review when I say that we fully support the right of all of our citizens to assemble in order to express their concerns and opinions; but that we strongly disagree with the apparent lack of decorum and the disruptive tactics that are being implemented by certain individuals and groups under the protection of free speech. Hooliganism may be acceptable at a tea party in Boston or an English soccer match, but it degrades and dishonors American democracy. When we award undue credence to the clamor and clatter we greatly diminish the ability of those voices of reason, on either side of an issue, to be rightfully heard.

 During the protests of 60s and 70s it was common to hear the phrase “America, love it or leave it” being uttered by anyone that felt that those on the street were ill-mannered or in abuse of their First Amendment rights. I’m not about to advocate for the banishment of any American to Canada, especially since their public health care system probably doesn’t cover treatment for malice and malcontentedness.

Back Bar at McSorley's Old Ale HouseNo, what I’m suggesting is that we adopt the house policy at McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan. Enshrined behind the bar in that beloved New York institution are the words “Be good or be gone.” Those words serve as a kindly reminder to all that enter that they have the right to gather, kick up their heels a bit, and to express their opinion on any matter, as long as they are well behaved and respectful of the rights of those on either side of the bar.

 We at American Public House Review raise our glasses to all those who honor and exercise our democratic freedoms with dignity and goodwill toward their fellow citizens.


Posted by: Chris Poh

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