I am not a member of the Tea Party Movement, but have debated reaching out to them. When the movement was in its infancy last year, I stumbled upon a rally. I was returning to work from my lunch break and observed a large group of people gathered nearby. There were probably around 500 people, which is a large crowd for the average-sized town where I work. I wandered in for a look and remained for about fifteen minutes before I needed to get back to work.
My initial observations of the crowd was very positive. There were plenty of elderly people and veterans that were proudly displaying their Service-oriented insignia. There were a couple of minor politicians, who I did not know. I do not vote in this city, so I had no familiarity with the speakers. It was apparent they were politicians from their polished speeches. The group was heavily armed with signs, predominantly white, predominantly older. The military was well represented by vets. They were carrying numerous signs, most of them humorous, none of them racist or offensive.
There appeared to be a variety of other groups present providing reading material. I picked up a magazine that concerned me a bit. The majority of the literature was geared towards taxation and spending. Issues that are very important to me. I identify and agree with the Tea Party Movement on this point. But one magazine had a militia type feel to it with anti-government bent. I guess any type of grass roots movement is going to attract the fringe. The people I witnessed at this event were not fringe people. The speech was not hate speech, it was truth. There were no derogatory statements or anti-government sentiment espoused by any of the speakers.
I recently learned that a good friend of mine has already joined the Tea Party Movement. He did not recruit me, but mentioned he was going to a rally. I am not ready to go to any rallies or join, in spite of the common ground I find with this group. But the fact that this particular friend is a member says a lot for the group. He is a professional, prior military and pro-United States. He is not a racist, an extremist or any of the other ridiculous allegations I have seen on the news.
When I attended a Health Care Town Hall Meeting last year, Tea Party Movement members were also in attendance. They were behaved better than the pro-HR 3200 crowd that was in attendance that day, in spite of unfair treatment that was applied to those who were in attendance to protest the proposed legislation. In fact, they were better behaved than I was. They abided by the rule that no home-made signs were allowed and no outside signs were permitted. Pro Health Care signs were passed out by the SEIU who hosted the meeting, which frankly pissed me off. So I made a polite home-made sign out of the one they gave me (I wrote on the back).
I hear a lot on the news about the Tea Party Movement. At a time when spending is out of control and the future of our economy remains questionable, common sense must prevail. It seems that the only people that seem to have a grasp of the situation are constantly derided by the media as "fringe," "anti-American," "racist," "white," "uneducated," "backward" or a host of other name-calling. It is funny, because the media seems content to marginalize the movement but does not engage them in dialog. Other than some reporting on Fox News, the only actual interviews I saw on the other stations was one in which the reporter engaged in an argument with an attendee. The man was holding his daughter and was verbally assaulted by this "unbiased" media representatives. That says a lot about the movement. It is the media who is on the fringe here. They won't accept that Americans understand we can't keep spending. For every Tea Party Member there must be ten or a hundred guys like me who have contemplated joining, but just aren't "joiners."
I think I will continue to watch the debate from the sidelines. But I felt compelled to lend my voice in support of the Tea Party Movement. I may be content not to join, but I will definitely stand in solidarity with any movement that will challenge the status quo of unfettered spending. If you are a Tea Party Member, I encourage you to share your first-hand observations. If you are not a member but can support any of the allegations made by the media, I again welcome your comments. I doubt very seriously that anyone will post that they have witnessed the things reported in the media. Based on my limited interaction, I just don't see this crowd as fitting the allegations. With outside groups "infiltrating" the organization, it also calls into question the legitimacy of any untoward activity attributed to this group. Yes, some fringe may creep in...as will those who want to embarrass this group. But they seem like a peaceful American-loving bunch to me.
One last note...why would any group attempt to infiltrate the Tea Party Movement? What possible motivations could they have and why do they feel threatened? It is inconceivable to me that anyone would want to stop an organization that has the simple purpose of bringing taxes into check. If the infiltrators want to pay more taxes, they are welcome to send me a check to cover mine.
Update - I was thinking about this today...largely because it is tax day. I guess that makes the New York Times Article released today not so much of a coincidence. I came across this article while researching the review. It appears that my personal observations of this being an orderly, elderly group of people is supported by the New York Times poll. In addition to those observations, the Times also says the group is better educated and wealthier than the average American. It is a really good article that paints a broader more balanced stroke of the movement than what I have seen from some of my other news sources.
I am a fiscal conservative but have not attended any Tea Party events. However, as an observer of politics I am very interested in how this burgeoning Tea Party has the potential to change the current political landscape in Washington. Now that the primary elections are over, I think it is important to understand the power that the Tea Party candidates will have when some of them win senate seats in November. First,it is important to note that a political … more
While I agree with the Tea Party's views on reducing government spending and fiscal responsibility, I find very disturbing most of their views on social issues and that is what turns me off to them. There are also so many different groups calling themselves Tea Partyers that it is hard to distinguish them and their views.
The Tea Party movement is a reactionary group of angry right wing conservatives who have vented their frustration of President Obama's plans for sweeping social programs and changing in the policies that were implemented during the eight years of George Bush Jr. May I ask where were these people when we spent billions upon billions of tax payers dollars fighting two wars in the Middle East? We spend so much money on nation building that when we try to fix our own social programs, … more
The Tea Party movement is a populist United States protest movement that promotes fiscal conservatism. The movement emerged in 2009 through an ongoing series of Tea Party protests. These are partially in response to the 2009 stimulus package as well as the 2008 bailouts. In 2010 The Economist described the movement as "America's most vibrant political force."
Protesters have utilized the social networking outlets Facebook, Twitter and MySpace as well as blogs and conservative media outlets in promoting Tea Party events.
The name "Tea Party" is a reference to the historic Boston Tea Party of 1773, a protest by American colonists against taxation by the British government when the colonists had no representation in the British Parliament that pre-dated but laid the ground for the American Revolutionary War. Tea Party protests have sought to evoke similar images, slogans and themes to this iconic period in American history. It may also refer to the often-used acronym TEA Party, a play on a party slogan: "Taxed Enough Already."