Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, April 08, 2010

'Tea Bagging' the Tea Parties

The TEA Parties. It was such a simple idea. A bunch of friends and neighbors gather on their town square and hold up signs protesting big government.

What could be easier?

Well, maybe it wasn’t that easy. Permits had to be granted by the town. Sound equipment had to be rented, speakers lined up, and event insurance purchased. In the first rallies, the speaker portion was easy: ordinary citizens who had a story to tell.

But it could be done, and was. The TEA Party to which I belonged did a fantastic job. And they’re going to do it again.

As last summer wore on, the Tea Parties grew larger and larger. People began to take notice, especially the adversaries. With their dirty minds, they immediately came up with a pejorative terms, which only a Liberal mind could concoct: ‘tea baggers’.

You could hear the wheels in their Liberal minds turning. While they pasted on their best Pelosi, joker-face smiles, on the inside they were worried. These tea partiers were very dangerous. They were talking about liberty. Freedom. The Constitution.

What if someone heard them?

The propaganda machine went into 24/7 crisis mode to attack the Tea Parties. We were angry. Racist. Vioent. Homophobic. Xenophobic. Stupid. Moronic. Sore Losers. Look at those idiots in their tri-corner hats. Can’t accept the fact a black man won the election.

Somehow, they had to get inside these tea parties to disrupt them. We had agitators inside our Tea Party from Day One, before we even got to the first rally. They were shown the door.

We fought them at the meetings. On the website (when we still allowed comments; eventually that feature was eliminated). They threatened us with lawsuits. During the summer, one of the guest speakers received death threats. He canceled his appearance.

They tried subtler approaches. ‘You should carry manufactured signs, to present a uniform message.’ ‘You should concentrate on campaigns not rallies.’ ‘You need to be more politically active.’ ‘You need to speak one-on-one with the legislators.’

‘Town Hall meetings are more effective than rallies.’

This was all bunk. But as the crowds grew larger, it was harder for a single, lone voice to be heard: “Don’t believe any of this garbage!! They’re snow-jobbing you!”

Manufactured sign would take away all the individuality and creativity from the hometown crowds. Fortunately, the hometowners told the suits where to go with their conformity.

Liberals tended to crowd into the town hall meetings.  They lined up at the end so they would have the last word at the microphones and exceeded the one-minute limit.  And the town hall was the politician's party; they ruled the event.
But Tea Party activists listened eagerly to exhortations that they head straight for Washington, D.C. ‘We have to do more, we want to do more than just the rallies!’ they cried.

For my part, I threw up my hands. I’m not into telling people what to do. ‘So go to Washington, if you feel that’s what you need to do. Who am I to say? Whatever works.’

Privately, I knew that wasn’t where the real power and influence was. The real influence was back in those town squares. That’s where votes come from: from voters. The Tea Party activists didn’t need to convince the politicians.

Politicians are puppets. Empty suits. Scarecrows that bend with the slightest breeze. It’s Americans who will determine America’s fate. They’re the ones you have to convince to vote for responsible legislators who won’t sell us down the river.

The rallies are everything. They’re the whole deal. They’re what it’s about: the people, not the politicians. The Tea Parties being in Washington made for great television and made the activists feel important.

It even made for great advertisement for their rallies back home.

Only now, those rallies are in danger. A hacker or a mole has infiltrated the National Tea Party Coalition website. They’re systematically erasing the April 15th rally information. They started out alphabetically, replacing the town information with a new notice.

They’re shifting gears, they claim, to become a political activist organization, fundraising, campaigning for politicians. Activities in which the Tea Parties were never meant to engage. In fact, the original hometowners eschewed all political activities.

They wanted the rallies to be about their voices, not those of politicians. But gradually, the local speakers were replaced with professional speakers. Not a bad idea, really. However, it was one more step away from the original intention of the rallies.

At my local tea party, we had politicians in a panel forum. Their only function was to answer voters’ questions. No speeches. No stumping. No campaigning. When they tried to campaign, they were booed, and stomped off the podium in a huff.

Bravo for those Tea Partiers. A year later, though, the Tea Partiers seemed to have bitten the poisoned apple. Now they are signing petitions and campaigning for candidates. A week out from the Tax Day Tea Parties, someone is shutting down the clearinghouse for April 15th rallies.

Politics is like a nuclear reactor: the closer you get to the core, the greater the danger of contamination. Think of the U.S. Capitol building as a giant nuclear reactor. When friends said last summer, ‘Come to Washington with us for the Tea Party rally,’ I replied, “Thanks. But no thanks. I do my best work from my computer.”

At their request, I sent letters to my representatives which I knew would be ignored. I would have preferred to give another speech to average people, encouraging them to gather together to support one another and proselytize within their social circles.

Not prepossessed of a camera-ready appearance, I started this blog instead.

At the beginning of the Tea Party movement last year, someone began a national website to serve as a clearinghouse for the movement. Then they dropped the ball. Now someone is dropping the ball again, this time deliberately.

This National Tea Party Coalition, which now declares itself a “caucus”, claims going to rallies is a waste of time and money; money better spent in their campaign coffers.  'If you want to find out the location of a rally in your area, you won't find it here,' the website flatly tells visitors.

'Don't waste your time and money on going to rallies.  Donate to us instead.'  Yeah, right.

But who was it who wasted our taxpayer money on the Stimulus and other big government extravaganzas but the politicians?

Who wasted our time and money but politicians we sent to represent conservative values and blew all their political capital on scandals? Who reached across the aisle to the enemies of freedom and liberty?

Who is courting the vote of illegal immigrants, hoping that once they become legal citizens they’ll vote for the criminals who made criminals official citizens? On our dollars?

The Tea Party rallies a waste of time and money? The Tea Parties came into existence thanks to the corrupt politicians who are now trying to subvert it. The real question is why anyone in the Tea Party movement is listening to them!

Only a few people will probably read my blog. But I’ll advise you to do just what you did in the beginning: do it yourselves. Don’t depend on anyone else to keep this movement going for you. Expect them, in fact, to try to sabotage it.

Go back to your social networking. Talk from group to group to group. Let each other know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Support and encourage one another. Use your own voices, not those of politicians or even the media.

Get back out there and be seen on your greens. Quark at your parks (quarks are fractional elements of a greater whole). Dare to square. You know what to do. You did it before and you can do it again. If you haven’t done it before, do it now.

Don’t get sucked into the political reactor (how do you think politicians got the way they are?). We’re a representative republic for a reason. You shouldn’t have to be doing their jobs for them. If they’re not doing their jobs, you need to let them know.

Exercise your First Amendment rights to assemble and speak freely, for yourselves. This is something you have to do for yourselves, for your families, for your country, and for the future.

Don't waste your time thinking anyone else will speak for you.

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