Why the Tea Party is More than a Fad

The Tea Party is a definite wave of antipathy towards all things big government, and more specifically, corrupt incumbency. Nearly all the Washington pundits love to compare the Tea Party and the year of two thousand and ten to that of the Republican Revolution of 1994. I view this wave of antipathy a bit differently.

Is the Tea Party and two thousand and ten really just a 1994 Republican Revolution repeat? I think not. The biggest difference between then and now is that in 1994, the revolution was largely a conservative revolt of conservative politicians from within government. In 1994, there was virtually no grassroots uprising, as opposed to today, except at the polls when the American people gave the Republicans the majority.

Though both movements were instigated due to similar concerns, the Tea Party revolt is much larger. It is not a group of conservative politicians developing a set of principles and policies to pledge to the American people, although there is some of that going on. The Tea Party is largely the people standing up to locally organize and pledge to the politicians that if they do not support their principles and policies, then they will fire them and elect someone who will.

The Tea Party movement is similar to the 1994 revolution in that they both are conservative revolts. However, I believe the thing that makes the Tea Party a much larger and a more long-term, sustainable revolution is the fact that it started not from within government like in 1994, but from little pockets of average Americans in towns and cities all over the United States of America.

Another substantial difference that I see between the 1994 revolution and the Tea Party movement is organizational. The conservative politicians in 1994 did not really organize as the Tea Party has. For the most part, the conservatives in 1994 developed a list of policies that they would sign and pledge to bring them to a vote if the American people gave them a majority. The Tea Party has taken a different route. The people have chosen to organize themselves primarily in local communities to push an organized grassroots pressure on Washington in support of liberty.

The 1994 Republican Revolution was about conservative politicians telling the American people that they were going to stand up for principle and commit to bringing certain policies to a vote. The Tea Party movement is not about conservative politicians making pledges, although there are politicians doing just that. The larger idea behind the Tea Party movement is the people telling the politicians: listen to the American people and do not ignore us once you are in Washington; hear what we are saying and then stand by it no matter what. The Tea Party takes the first line of the Constitution very seriously: “We the People.”