Guide to the Modern Day Tea Party Movement
and the Tea Partiers of the United States of America
What is the Tea Party and Who are the Tea Partiers and Tea Party Activists?
When the Tea Party Movement took hold in early 2009 people took notice of this quickly growing grassroots American movement that was rapidly striking a resonant chord with the American people. Today the pundits as well as the politicians agree that the Tea Party Movement is a force to be reckoned with for both the Republicans and the Democrats.
But who are these people staging demonstrations and protests against taxes and spending. What does the Tea Party Movement stand for? Below are the answers to those questions.
“Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.” --Benjamin Franklin
Reduce Taxes, Spending, and Overall Government
Unlike the Libertarians who would seem to prefer no government at all, the Tea Party Movement is tempered with some realism that some taxes and government regulations in the lives of citizens is necessary, but nowhere near the levels we are seeing now.
Furthermore one of the primary concerns of Tea Partiers is a desire to end the deficit spending that now plagues are national government as well as many state governments. This goes hand in hand with the concern about the United States’ national debt which was already massive before it skyrocketed in recent years.
Huge deficits and debt and yet the only answer is to raise taxes, provide bailouts to failed businesses, and create massive new government spending programs on borrowed money. These events, in the eyes of many participants in the Tea Party Movement, threaten our country’s stability and the prosperity of the next generations, their children and grandchildren and beyond.
“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” --Abraham Lincoln
Tea Partiers Ask: What About the U.S. Constitution?
While some local Tea Party groups - and by nature they are all local - are most concerned with increasing taxes and debt, others align these problems closely with the failure of legislators to abide by the U.S. Constitution.
Tea Partiers want new laws to provide a constitutional basis, and point out that excessive taxation and redistribution of wealth unfairly deprives them of the fruits of their labor and impinges upon their rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“I trust that the proposed Constitution afford a genuine specimen of representative government and republican government; and that it will answer, in an eminent degree, all the beneficial purposes of society.” --Alexander Hamilton, 1778 speech to New York Ratifying Convention.
It’s the National Debt, Stupid!
In a recent presidential campaign the slogan was, "It's the economy, stupid." Of course that remains true today, with the added caveat that it is not only the economy but the huge national deficit that threatens to bankrupt the country by devaluing our currency and ruining our credit.
By adding billions each year the U.S. National Debt the government is weakening the country at its core and costing America its jobs and its place as the shining beacon on the hill. The country was founded on the ability of its citizens to have an equal opportunity, though not necessarily an equal outcome, and spending programs at the expense of a massive and skyrocketing national debt will not serve us well in the long run and is this very day doing great harm to the economy.
Some businesses will fail when free markets allow competition, but this is what drives other businesses to improve their products and services and creates the best companies in the world. When businesses are subsidized and protected from failure it can lead to an overall failure in the economy due to the eventual lack of incentive and healthy competition.
Meanwhile America runs up its gargantuan national debt devaluing its own money, harming its ability to secure credit, and making the U.S. increasingly beholden to other countries such as China who own much of the American debt.
“We must all hang together, or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” --Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Both Major Parties Threatened
The entrenched powers of big government - re: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party - have both taken notice of the Tea Party Movement. Initial reactions were that it was just a fad or a brief dust up due to the government’s rescuing of companies that made bad mortgage loans - sub-prime loans - to borrowers who should not have been allowed to get a mortgage by any reasonable analysis of their finances.
Other initial causes of the rise in fervor of the voices of the Tea Partiers and the growing Tea Party movement - the TARP stimulus spending, the health care reform bill, and other massive government spending programs on borrowed money - were the impetus for a populist uprising against the fiscal irresponsibility, yet still the pundits and many media sources closely aligned with the big political parties still dismissed the Tea Party as “a bunch of wackos” or more subtle deriding terms that called into question their passion, effectiveness, and staying power.
As the Tea Party Movement continued to grow throughout 2009 and 2010 some of the major networks took it more seriously, talk show hosts clamored to get ahold of the issue trying to figure out who the leader of the Tea Partiers was - they still didn’t get it! The Tea Party Movement has no leader. The leader is the American people.
And still the Tea Partiers continued to grow in number and the strength of their voice was echoing through the legislative halls and waking up candidates in the night with bad dreams of their shoo-in elections suddenly being threatened by a candidate who no one had heard of but who had the support of the Tea Party and thus was getting lots of media attention, public support, and ultimately votes.
“They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.” --John Adams
2010 Midterm Elections - The Tea Party Movement Clarion Call
The 2010 midterm elections was the clarion call for all to stop their skeptical rantings and demeaning characterizations of the Tea Party activists.
Numerous candidates pulled huge upsets with the support of the Tea Party, and many Republicans survived only because they had taken up some semblance of the Tea Party mantle and reshaped their political promises to respond to the demands of the populace, re: the Tea Party Movement calling for lower taxes, rejections of big spending bills, reductions in a bloated government bureaucracy, fiscally sound practices at every level, the end of pork barrel spending, and a return to a government aligned with the founding documents.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” --Benjamin Franklin
Special Interests Waking Up in a Cold Sweat saying "Tea Partiers, Tea Partiers, Ahhhh!"
Now the lobbyists, special interests, and big party campaign managers were all waking up in the night in a cold sweat and calling each other on their smartphones: “What is happening? We spent so much more money than them! We launched a tried and true smear campaign! We released last-minute adds flooding the airways with innuendo and outright slander and still the people voted for them? What is going on!!”
And still the Tea Party Movement grew. Local grassroots groups sprung up in out of the way places. The votes the politicians took for granted started to evaporate like the steamy mist coming off a tea cup.
Suddenly talk show hosts started to actually listen to the message and try to understand it. Pompous guests with fancy titles and suits pontificated endlessly on either the inhumanity or unfeasibility of lowering taxes, reducing spending and lessening the size of the government.
“Well anyone knows, Bob, that if you lower taxes you will have less revenue and thus the deficit will go up,” they would say as if they were an economist from the World Bank. “You can’t lower taxes AND eliminate the debt, that doesn’t make any sense.” And everyone once in a while they would still throw in a slanderous zinger about how the Tea Partiers were a bunch of “wackos” who had some agenda or another.
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” --Abraham Lincoln
Unleash the Polls - That Will Take Down Those Tea Partiers!
As everyone knows, a poll can show any result the pollster wishes to show. All you have to do is phrase the question properly. If you are against a new development you ask the people, “Are you for the destruction of the native species on the coastal bluff by building homes there?” and if you are for it you ask them, “Are you for creating 200 new jobs in XYZ town through new construction programs?”
When you want to defame a whole movement it is a little more subtle but follows the same theory. First of all try to categorize the members of the movement in a way that seems somewhat offensive to the masses. And search hard for some fringe elements, even one will do, that can be shown over and over again as representative of the movement.
Thus a slew of polls began to show how the Tea Party Movement was mostly one certain race, creed, age, income level, education level, etc. and then quickly edit in the guy with the racist or homophobic sign or comment even if he was the only one and everyone told him to leave, disavowed his bigotry, and assured all that their concern was fiscal and not against anyone except the fat-cat politicians and their pork barrel spending.
When it turns out the working moms are a huge part of the Tea Party Movement, and that Tea Partiers tend to be educated though the entrenched pundits and politicians try to use even that against them which is an increasingly tough sell. Basically anyone who has a job and is seeing the government take an increasing share of their paycheck while delivering increasingly less immediately responds to the Tea Party Movement message, though they may not donate money to the cause or attend a Tea Party protest or a Tea Party demonstration.
Likewise those who are less fortunate in our society are also coming to see the value of the Tea Party message as a way to create a vibrant economy rather than one without jobs and opportunities for all Americans.
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.” --Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address.
Also see: What Is the Tea Party Movement?