US Senator Jim DeMint gives his perspective on the rise of the Tea Party and the state of the nation in ‘The Great American Awakening.’ Here’s an excerpt:

By April 15, Tax Day 2009, Americans were ready to fight back. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across the country in what were called Tea Party protests. I was invited to speak at Tea Parties all across South Carolina. Thousands attended and audiences roared with approval when I was introduced as the senator who fought the bailout bill, the stimulus bill, and wasteful pork-barrel earmarks.

The isolation I felt in Washington disappeared as I realized millions of Americans were willing to stand and fight with me. They demanded Washington stop spending, stop borrowing, stop increasing the debt, and stop the government takeovers. They even demanded term limits for congressmen and senators! These freedom loving Americans were my real colleagues. They convinced me to keep fighting the Washington establishment, despite the pain and long odds of success.

On September 12, 2009, a national tea party was held in Washington. Numerous conservative organizations and grassroots groups came together for an event on the National Mall that came to be known as 9/12. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came to protest the healthcare bill and the expansion of the federal government. I was honored to be asked to speak at the event. Before speaking, I spent most of the day mingling among the crowd and talking to people from all over the country.

Many of the marchers encouraged me with comments like: “Thanks for fighting, we’re praying for you, and what can we do?” These people were not partisan ideologues; they were afraid for their country and seemed almost desperate to stop Washington from pushing it over a cliff.

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