THE HISTORY OF THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT
The TEA “Totally Engaged Americans” Party movement is truly grassroots, in spite of what those opposing our efforts would like the public to believe. Within the Libertarian Party (mostly supporters of Dr. Ron Paul) there was a move towards a more Constitutional view of governing which began gathering steam a minimum of 8 or so years ago. Some events entitled “Tea Parties” where held over time largely as “fund raisers” for Dr. Paul.
The “TEA Party Movement” as it now exists did not burst onto the scene until frustrated and concerned Americans heard the now famous “Rick Santelli Rant”, which can be seen here: http://youtu.be/zp-Jw-5Kx8k Mr. Santelli, speaking live from the Chicago Board of Trade on Feb.9, 2009, put words to the frustration the “silent majority” of Americans were feeling over the bailouts and at the time of the “rant”… specifically Obama’s Mortgage “bail-out” plan. Rick’s words struck a cord in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans when he emphasized how our nation had “moved from the individual to the collective” and how he wanted to have a “Tea Party” in protest. Many believe that this moment in time (Rick’s rant) will be recorded in history as the spark that ignited the current “TEA Party Movement”.
In passionate agreement with Mr. Santelli, concerned Americans began to spontousely plan their own TEA Party events. Smaller ones in Feb of 09, with much larger protest events on Tax Day (April 15th) and ever increasing rallies and protests throughout the summer of 09 culminating in a massive event of 1.7 million Americans showing up on Sept, 12th 2009 to protest many “big government” policies and especially “Obamacare”. See time lapsed video of the protestors marching down Pennsylvania Ave. here: http://youtu.be/c1cqF0YkuZc
Another key figure in fueling the Tea Party Movement (and the reason for the 1.7 million DC protest being held on Sept 12th) was TV/radio host Glenn Beck. Although Beck initially felt Tea Party “protests” were “too soon”. Mr. Beck’s special program, “We Surround Them”
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/21018/ and the launching of his 912 network helped to cement certain principles and values into the hearts and minds of many in the “Tea Party” movement.
The Tea Party movement is now made up of a wide range of Americans. Some groups are faith-based (as ours is) others are secular in nature. Some of the faith-based groups embrace Beck’s 9 Principles (as do we in our “Beliefs We Share”) others do not. Some are named after Beck’s network such as “Marietta 912” and others use the more recognized name of the Tea Party such as our “Hocking Hills Tea Party Patriots”.
Those in the movement who lean libertarian in their thinking generally use the word “liberty” in their name (although not all) and there are many who have generic names like Licking County’s “Organizing for Freedom”. However, everyone and every group in the “movement” agrees on three things; Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, and a return to Constitutional principles. What we may disagree on at times are the methods of achieving those three objectives. Often this may include rigorous debate (as it was with our founders).
MISCONCEPTIONS/MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT THE TEA PARTY
Since the Tea Party’s beginning in 2009, many Tea Party members have come to realize that “protests” were not having the effort on our government officials that we had hoped for. Facing this fact, we began to set out to change the “system” from within. Therefore, the movement largely emphasizes “political activism” now in the place of protests (although protests are still done when we feel they may have some impact, especially on a state/local level). The diminishing “public” rallies have falsely led some to believe the Tea Party movement itself is diminishing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The movement continues to steadily grow and Ohio held it’s first state-wide “Tea Party” convention last summer. Most political strategists are now recognizing that the “Tea Party” movement is an increasingly strong political force that office holders and candidates must acknowledge.
The Tea Party is NOT a third political party. The far majority of Tea Party leaders have no desire to form another political party. Rather “leaders” within the movement know the system to be corrupt and broken. Adding another “party” to a broken system will not correct what is wrong with it. It is our intent to saturate the current system with “founding principles” and cleanse it from the vacorruption and anti-constitutional agendas that currently exists within it.
Tea Party Patriots are NOT calling for a “violent” revolution. Our founders fought a war against their oppressors because they had no other course of action available to them after years and years of attempting to reason with the king. We, however, have avenues of redress and are able to take peaceable approaches within our own governmental system to reclaim our nation and return it to the Republic it was designed to be.
Tea Party Patriots are NOT racists. Rather we feel it is our duty as patriotic Americans to oppose the plans of any elected official regardless of skin color or ethnic background who is not honoring their oath to uphold the Constitution as they swore to when taking office.
The Tea Party movement is NOT an arm of the Republican Party. Clearly, there are those within the Republican Party who also embrace tea party principles and are willing to work with the Tea Party AND there are many Republicans who are key members or leaders of the Tea Party. That, however, does NOT make the Tea Party an official arm of the Republican Party. Most Republican candidates will acknowledge the Tea Party has being “hard” on them and asking “tough” questions. Just because there is a “R” behind a candidate’s or elected official’s name does not give them a pass. In many ways the Tea Party vigorously engages the Republican Party far more than the Democrat Party because the Republicans claim to embrace “limited government and Constitutional principles”. We intend to hold them to their word. The Democrat Party, on a national level, has clearly allowed the extreme left to run off with their party and has abandoned most of our founding principles. There is little to no foundation within the Democratic National Party for the Tea Party to work with. However, many local Tea Party groups have freedom loving Democrats as members and are willing to support them on a local level.