In a relatively unknown rural county, a single “Tea Party Patriot” aims to return the nation to its Constitutional, State-sovereignty roots. But this county is unlike any other, and this quiet combat veteran is special in his own right.
Aroostook County, in upstate Maine, is the largest county east of the Mississippi River. It is known throughout Maine, and in other areas of New England, simply as “The County”. Its 6,829 square miles are larger than the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut- combined. It has a population of just 71,000- which equates to a density of just 10.7 people per square mile. In contrast, Rhode Island has a population density of 1,006 per mile.
“The County” is bordered on the West, North, and East by Canada- whereby most of the perimeter miles are unsecured and unchecked. The north easternmost section of the country, Aroostook County, has enormous tracts of land, which are not part of any actual incorporated town.
In this unique and desolate part of the United States, politics and grassroots movements are still alive, including that of the Tea Party. However, unlike most other Tea Party or “Patriot” groups, in Aroostook County, Rick Anderson is seemingly fighting “the good fight” solo.
“As an American I have a right to have an opinion on the issues that affect my family and the Country. As a Tea Party American and a Constitutionalist I am very concerned with the current state of affairs which plague this country,” states Anderson, an Air Force vet who was stationed in the Middle East, amongst other regions. “I am the only (Tea Party) member in this Large county, and I deal with the overwhelming Liberal attitude here”.
“The County”, and Maine in general, has some troubling economic data. The reported county unemployment rate is 8.5%, or 42% higher than the national average. According to Anderson, the actual- or perceived- unemployment rate is about double that. (In addition, the projected job growth there is actually NEGATIVE 1.29%!) Overall, Maine is consistently at or near the top of the national list for the highest percentage of population receiving welfare. Anderson sees many able-bodied adults with their hands out, as his own wife struggles with maintaining her small business. He thinks it is a priorities issue from the top down. “Are Mom and Dad and the ‘20-30 somethings’ thinking about Social issues, or are they thinking about how to buy food (with food prices skyrocketing), or gas to get back and forth to work, pay rent, utilities (heat, gas, electricity) or so many other things?”.
Anderson is himself unable to work due to numerous injuries received while in the Air Force. Over the past few years he formed his own chapter of the “Tea Party Patriots” because he took an oath to protect this country, and its Constitution.
He used to have a few other members of his group, but they have all left due to various reasons, one being that they were receiving a lot of flack from their families for being conservative or anti-Establishment. Donations are meager, and most are anonymous- as apparently some citizens there don’t want to be associated with the Tea Party- even though they privately support it.
Andersen believes the main issues facing his region are: taxes, bureaucracy, welfare, the national debt, healthcare, and the economy. He believes social issues are not a top priority for the multitude in The County that struggle to make ends meet.
In a secluded, yet naturally vibrant, part of America, the questions and the political fight are the same as in other States, and even similar to Maine’s largest city of Portland. Will the people come out to vote, first of all, and exactly what kind of America do our 2016 citizenry actually want?
“I believe AMERICA is the greatest nation on Earth. I believe that the Oath
I took to join the Military to support and defend the Constitution will not end until my last breath. I believe the Constitution is the greatest document ever written… I am working on making this a great country again and if people are concerned about this, please support the Tea Party”.
Agree or disagree with his specific views, Rick Anderson is active in his community and his goals of action and debate should be mirrored throughout The County, and elsewhere.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com