Tea Party is just getting started
Minor MusingsFebruary is noted for the birthdays of America's two most famous presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But another birthday is being marked this month that might well become almost as significant.
Published: February 28, 2010
Published: February 28, 2010
Yesterday, Feb. 27, marked the one year birthday of the Tea Party Movement in America. It's hard to believe that just a year ago commentators laughed at the group dismissing them as "overzealous right-wing extremists" and "a flash in the pan." Many still think of them that way, but they're not laughing any more. In just one year, the Tea Party has become a force to be reckoned with.
The movement now has branches in almost every state in the union. Florida's group is well organized with local chapters in nearly every county including Highlands. Tea Party leadership met earlier this month for the movement's first national organizing convention where speakers included former Vice President Dick Cheney, former House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich, and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. All the national news networks were there streaming live coverage for four days. That doesn't sound like a flash in the pan to me. It's more like a bubbling cauldron.
I'm not a member of the Tea Party, but I think its very existence is a healthy sign for our country. Its mushrooming growth is a testament to the true grassroots nature of the movement. The fact is, the Tea Party has arisen from the ranks of average citizens who are outraged and frustrated. They are loyal Americans who feel ignored, and they're fed up with our government's departure from the principles of democracy and capitalism set down by the founding fathers.
The Tea Party movement's spread has been fueled by a pervasive sense of dread at the spiraling national debt government is imposing on our posterity. Fanning the flame is sheer frustration at watching our elected representatives (who live in an insulated bubble of guaranteed salaries and Cadillac federal healthcare) ignore the real issues of joblessness, the shrinking dollar, a bottomless housing market, and immigration run amok. Instead, our lawmakers are focused on cramming down our throats a totally unworkable healthcare reform bill that taxpayers clearly don't want. It is indeed "taxation without representation."
Now where have I heard that before?
Paternalistic arrogance by government is not unprecedented in this country, the same thing happened in 1773. The result that time was the original Tea Party in Boston Harbor. It turned out to be a one-night stand that awakened a revolution. The current one is an ongoing storm of protest that's just getting started. Where it will lead no one knows, but the next whirlwind is already slated.
Plans are in full swing for a Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, D.C., on April 15. Chartered buses of Tea Party demonstrators will converge on Washington from all across the nation. Hotels and restaurants in the city are offering special package deals to Tea Party guests and Capitol police are on notice to expect record crowds on the National Mall. You can check it out at www.TeaParty.FreedomWorks.org.
Interestingly, Tea Party movement activists, many of them young and new to the political arena, come from both political parties as well as a strong contingent of independents. Every U.S. political pundit knows that our elections are decided by the independents. Whichever party persuades the independents to side with them carries the day.
If the Tea Party keeps gathering steam, the 2010 election will be steeped in their favor. And by 2012 they could be brewing a revolution.