To the editor:

We have just finished reading Joe Gandelman's column (10/17/2013), "Tea Party is our Phantom of the Opera."

We are breaking our self-imposed rule not to respond until our anger has cooled. He has equated us and many of our tea party friends as being revealed, under the Phantom's mask, "the horrifying face of a rotting corpse." How dare he!

We "horrifying faces" are moms, grandmas, dads and concerned citizens to name a few, with many "faces." We happen to care deeply about the direction our country has taken. We believe that individual self-reliance, not government reliance, is the way American citizens have made this country the greatest country on earth.

We believe escalating debt and increasing entitlements will eventually bring our country to its knees. We don't want to pass this scenario onto our children and grandchildren. They deserve better. We hope to hand them the similar, opportunistic country where many of us grew up.

We and our tea party friends believe in serving our community and country. We are volunteers and donors to non-profits. We are founders of needed organizations where we see a void. We serve on boards. We offer care and compassion to those in need. We raise children that make us proud in many ways.

No, Mr. Gandelman, we are ordinary folks, who just happen to love our country deeply. The "horrifying face" comes as we watch what's happening to the transformation of it. We and the tea party have had enough. We will not stand idly by!

Will and Donna Kruger