And then nothing happened. What is happening to the tea party movement?
I agree with Eric wholeheartedly. I watched the tea parties grow, and I watched them being sucked under. In some cases, it was with well-meaning groups who didn’t understand that in order to grow leaders, you have to let leaders BE the leaders. There was no need for a “spokesperson” from the Republican Party. There was no need for media personalities. We needed to trust the grassroots organizers and to listen to them. What we didn’t need was someone with connections or cache telling us what to think. We’ve been doing that too long.
If we are going to develop leaders, then we need to let people step out and be leaders. In my area, I saw people leave after the “personality” had spoken. The organizer of the tea party saw a number of backs, as people slowly walked away after they had seen the “entertainment”. What a wonderful time that would have been to start dialog with and between the crowds. What happened, saddened me. We were like toddlers who stood momentarily and then collapsed on our bottoms again. Toddlers do not toddle forever. At some point, they will learn to walk. At some point, the poor speaker will find his/her voice. At some point, conviction becomes action.
If, as Erick’s article on the tea parties rightly points out, there are those who are already trying to grab the glory, they should immediately be booted. Theirs is the same mentality that already exists in Washington. More importantly, it is not the mentality that will get us on our feet again. We have to do that for ourselves. Many of us have never considered ourselves as activists. The name itself has, to my mind, been a bit distastful, given the recent history of activism in this country. If, however, that is what it takes in order to turn the country around, to return to fiscal responsiblity, to make accountability a by-word, then we will all need to become activists. Perhaps our local party chapters are, in fact, the best place to start.
I do believe that there is a lack of a cohesive message, and perhaps different groups are focusing on different issues. That could, in fact, be a good thing, if a particular group is tasked to study a particular issue and then report to a particular governing body.
We have been urged, from multiple sources, that we go to the local Republican meetings. That is difficult to do when there is no phone number to call, no office to check in with and no visible head of the local party to contact in order to find out when and where the meetings are held. Distance is also a realistic factor for many. An online option as a way of communicating and becoming a part of the Republican party is a terrific one. Then almost all of us who truly wish to participate will be able to do so. There is nothing to say that there could not be online and on ground meetings held in the same precinct and that a quarterly meeting of both groups could bring the ideas of the respective groups together. We must draw a new paradigm of what the party should be. If the excuse is that it’s too far to travel, then bring the party to the people.
If, as has been suggested, a New Republican party grows out of what currently exists, it will be our duty to help form and stand with that party. If a transformation is to be made, it will have to come first from within ourselves and then in the joining of hands with all of those, politican and publican alike who will put self second and this nation first.