But Lu Busse, chair of the 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition, scoffs at the notion that anyone, politicians or otherwise, could look on her with fear. "My husband jokes that we should call ourselves the 3Gs -- Grannies for Good Government," she says. After a laugh, she adds, "We have a sense of humor. That's the first thing you need to know about us."
Nonetheless, officials need to be wary of Busse and her fellow 9.12 believers, if only because they're harder to pigeonhole than seems obvious at first blush -- and their numbers are growing.
What stereotypes does Busse undermine? Plenty, she feels.
"About 60 percent of the people I work with in the 9.12 Project are women, and many of us have college degrees," she says. "I have a master's degree from Northwestern, and I have all but my dissertation on my Ph.D, but I decided I needed to be a real person and have a real life."
Busse's area of expertise is audiology, and she wound up specializing in cochlear implants: "I spent 25 years in that world," she says.
A promotion brought her to Colorado in 1995, and since her arrival, she's paid attention to politics -- but only recently has she gotten directly involved.
"I'd write a letter or make a call, but not to the extent of getting out and standing on street corners or organizing letter-writing campaigns," she says.
Things began to change during President George W. Bush's time in office.
"I wasn't really happy about the prescription drug plan and a couple of other spending things that happened -- and the way we weren't securing our borders," she says. "So I was unhappy with some things in the Bush administration, but it seemed like the lesser of two evils. But then, the TARP bill came out last fall, and I thought, 'That's it. They've lost their minds' -- because most Republicans voted for it, too. They just totally ignored what people were saying, even though they admitted that they were getting more calls and letters against it than for it."
Rather than squelching this rage, the election of Barack Obama accelerated it, leading to the birth of the tea party movement earlier this year. But Busse's activism was more influenced by a certain radio-and-TV figure.
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"I'd been listening to Glenn Beck on the radio and then was watching him when he came on Fox News," she recalls. "And he said, 'We need to focus on our principles. That's what gets us through.' And his nine principles and twelve values" -- which give the 9.12 Project its name -- "really resonated with me, because that's how I was raised. My family raised me to believe in those things, so that's why I gravitated toward the 9.12 Project versus the tea party groups."
Both organizations have been characterized by the passion of their criticism, with the most out-of-control moments the likeliest to wind up on television newscasts. However, Busse insists, "it's not so much that we're angry as that we're not going to be silent anymore. We're going to state our opinions -- and we believe we have just as much right to state our opinions as anyone else. There's a politically elite class that thinks they're better than we are, and we believe our opinions are just as valid as theirs. Especially when they don't know what to do -- and in a lot of cases, they don't. So it certainly doesn't hurt to hear from people with different opinions."
While the roots of these movements can be traced back to the Bush years, the groups seem most upset by progressivism -- so how nonpartisan are they really?
"We generally hold conservative views," Busse concedes, "but we include independents, or unaffiliateds, as they like to be called, and some Democrats who aren't to the extreme of their party are also joining our ranks. And we're more Founding Fathers-conservative than we are conservative in other ways. There are people who call themselves conservatives that I don't agree with, because I don't share their view of conservatism."
Even so, she goes on, "the majority of our members don't want to pick one party or the other. We're very unhappy with both parties, because both of the major parties seem to end up giving us no choices, or choices where there isn't that big of a difference between candidates in the important races that really matter. We realize that we're at fault, too, because we didn't get engaged in the process. We have to take responsibility for that. But we can't just sit around and complain that Congress doesn't represent the majority of Americans if we don't make sure the parties represent us."
As such, Busse stresses that "we're working to get people more engaged in the primary process, in the caucuses -- making sure you're registered, because if you're registered as Republicans or Democrats, you can be a part of taking back both parties. Because if we want to take back our country, we need the parties to represent the people."
To the assertion that 9.12 and tea party organizations are fringe groups, Busse points to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll that shows tea party followers actually outnumbering Republicans. That's just one reason why she takes the responsibility of the groups' increasing power so seriously.
"We study, we read -- we've been educating ourselves about what this country should be," she says. "We're not just a group of people out there waving signs and being fussy. We're learning about how things should be and how our country got so far away from what it should be."
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Moreover, she adds, "We don't just blindly follow Glenn Beck. He gives us information, and we add to that information with things we've been collecting. And we're so busy. Half the time, I can't even watch his show because we're doing something!"
Still, the Beck influence is undeniable. Look below to read his nine principles and twelve values, as well as an address Busse gave during a September event that shows how she incorporates them.
1. America is good.
2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Honesty Thrift Sincerity Courage Reverence Humility Moderation Personal Responsibility Hope Charity Hard Work Gratitude
What Are We For?
Lu Busse, Chair of The 9.12 Project Colorado Leadership Team Common Sense Rally
September 12th 2009 11:15 am
Capitol Building, Denver, Colorado
Greetings, fellow freedom-loving patriots: Talk about America the Beautiful -- thousands of enthusiastic Americans standing together in front of Colorado's gold-domed Capitol with purple mountains majesty behind you reminds me we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth in the greatest nation on the face of the planet!
Thank you so much for coming today to stand up for AMERICA, our children and our grandchildren. This granny patriot pit bull and Constitutional watch dog is here as you are to help save my beloved country and to make it a better place for my kids and my grandkids.
I AM NOT GOING TO LEAVE THIS MESS TO THE NEXT GENERATION!
Our opponents accuse us of being negative or often saying "no." But all good parents say No, especially when the kids are looting all the candy stores, toy shops, banks and companies, spending all our money and maxing out all our credit cards. It's about time we said NO to these children and their juvenile delinquent friends in Washington DC and here in Colorado. Time to stand up and proclaim, "Not on my watch!"
Speaking of our opponents, every time we hear their chant of "Healthcare Now," our reasoned reply should be "Freedom Forever." Let's practice: I ask, "What are we for?" You yell, "Freedom Forever!" What are we for? [Freedom Forever] What are we for? [Freedom Forever] What are we for? [Freedom Forever] This is an interactive speech so whenever I ask, "What are we for?" again, remember to shout, "Freedom Forever!"
Since most politicians seem to be driven by polls, let's do a quick one for those who ought to be listening to us today:
• How many of you belong to or support The 9.12 Project? • How many of you support the Tea Party movement? • How many of you were paid to be here today? • How many of you trust your own decisions over the bureaucrats'? • How many of you plan to vote the bums out of office?
Did you hear us? Well, you'd better start listening because you're going to hear from tens of millions of us LOUD and CLEAR on November 2nd 2010!
What are we for? [Freedom Forever]
The 9.12 Project, although originally inspired by Glenn Beck, is now a huge voting block of like-minded freedom-loving American individuals who are finding each other and banding together with similar groups of patriots in order to restore common sense in government and our Republic under GOD. We are the champions and defenders of the United States Constitution because those in Washington DC who have sworn to defend it ARE NOT!
I am so fed up with politicians across the spectrum picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution they're going to follow and which parts they're going to ignore. I'm fed up with lawyers and judges trying to find and argue ways to get around it. Most of the major problems we face as a nation could be solved if we would just go back to following this divinely inspired, unprecedented and unequaled, revolutionary document as it has been amended, which by the way the country has done 27 times. Half a million citizens died getting it right.
Nothing is perfect -- but if the majority of the country doesn't like something in the Constitution, then there's a process and way for us to amend it rather than ignore it when the Constitution becomes inconvenient for whichever Presidential administration, majority of Congress or political party happens to be in power.
I have a couple of suggested amendments for consideration:
• Let's repeal the 16th so the federal government can't collect income taxes • Let's impose term limits on all elected federal officials, federal judges and maybe even Supreme Court Justices • Let's remind the political elite they are not entitled to have better benefits than we the citizens and renegotiate their "employment" contract so we can fire them when we learn they're not doing their job (such as not writing or reading the bills they enact) or fire them immediately when we learn they are not paying their taxes • Let's clarify in no uncertain terms that there will be no special advisers, aka Czars or whatever they call them, who are not independently investigated by the FBI and Senate, and then confirmed by the Senate.
Until such time, let's use voter-imposed term limits thru ballot box in 2010, 2012 and beyond.
What are we for? [Freedom Forever] What are we for? [Freedom Forever]
So what else are we 9.12 Project American patriots FOR? We have a set of 9 principles that if you agree with at least 7, we have common ground to unite and work together to return the primary power of this country to the citizens of this country.
Let's see which of the 9 principles this throng agrees upon:
1. Do you agree AMERICA is good? 2. Do you believe in God and agree that He is the center of your life? 3. Do you agree to always try to be more honest today than you were yesterday? 4. Do you agree the family is sacred; that parents are the ultimate authority, not the government? 5. Do you agree that if you break the law you pay the penalty; Justice is blind and no one is above it? 6. Do you agree that we have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness; but, there is no guarantee of equal results? 7. Do you agree that we work hard for what we have and we'll share it with whom we want; government cannot force us to be charitable? 8. Do you agree that it is not un-American to disagree with authority or to share our personal opinions? 9. Do you agree that the government works for us; we do not answer to them, they answer to us?
What are we for? [Freedom Forever] What are we for? [Freedom Forever]
What values are we 9.12 Project Americans for?
1. Honesty 2. Reverence 3. Hope 4. Thrift 5. Humility 6. Charity 7. Sincerity 8. Moderation 9. Hard Work 10. Courage 11. Personal Responsibility 12. Gratitude
Finally, we members of The 9.12 Project are gathered across America today to remind us that our goal is to be the people and country we were on Sept. 12th 2001. No red or blue states; not democrats, independents, or republicans, but Americans united to defend our freedom and our great nation which offers the only true beacon of promise for what liberty, free enterprise and decentralized government can do for the rest of the world. If you share at least 7 of our 9 principles, our 12 values, as well as our vision of individual freedom and limited government for America, please join with us to take positive, principled, and peaceful actions to defend the Constitution and restore the Republic.
We don't need any stinking lobbyists to fix Washington DC or Colorado because WE ARE THE PEOPLE.
Let's go get it done!
God bless you and God Bless Our United States of America!