By Barry Hess
The Tea Party Movement has become an undeniable force in contemporary American politics, and I think, a very positive one. What I find incredible, is the total lack of comprehension of the 'Olde-Party' pundits, as to what the movement is all about, or ‘who’ these "Tea" people are.
The Republican Party was hit in the political face with a shovel when they sought, (They’re still trying, though) to “get a hold of”, or “capture” the Tea Party Movement, for their own ends--to swell their ranks and coffers. They’re starting to understand, it’s not gonna work, and here’s why…
The bulk of the Tea Party people are libertarians (not the political party—the philosophy) they just don’t know it, yet. I’m not trying to claim them for the Libertarian political Party. I'm just trying to explain ‘who’ they are, and what motivates them, as a group.
The Tea Party Movement has become the ultimate “Big Tent” party. There’s a lot of disagreement on the nuances in the tent stakes, but they ALL focus and agree on what the center post for the tent is— individual liberty. The idea that the rights of the common people should be respected by their government, is being translated into a simple phrase: “Leave us alone!”.
They’re people who have reached the point beyond which, they will not be pushed. They’re individuals who may not ‘get’ all the details, but they do ‘get’ the big picture; The bigger the government, the smaller the individual. They do ‘get’ that—and that’s all any of us needs to ‘get’.
Frederick Douglas said: (paraphrased, in context) “The limits of tyranny are defined by the endurance of the oppressed.” Isn’t that brilliant? Well, the Tea Party people have been drained of their patience, from the bottom of the tank—their ‘done’ with smarmy and deceptive politics and politicians that don’t even begin to try to serve, or represent them.
I’ve been honored to speak at several Tea Party events, including the first one here in Phoenix, before a crowd over 10,000 motivated Citizens (regardless of underestimating by the Olde media). All the Republican speakers were screaming that there should be no new taxes on their income. When I introduced the idea that there is no point in arguing for an “acceptable level of theft”, and instead we need to eliminate the theft altogether—the crowd erupted into the biggest and most powerful response of the evening! That was the principle that was lacking—that theft is still theft, even by government, and that we have a moral obligation to stop the theft.
Now, through their network, solid principles are taking a foothold. Ultimately, the path they are on is exactly the philosophically libertarian path chosen by our Founding Fathers. Hooray for America!
It didn’t take me long to find out that though the voting registrations of the bulk of the Tea Party People was/is ‘Republican’—they ain’t Republicans. They are primarily people who registered as Republicans—so they could vote for the good Dr., Congressman Ron Paul, for PRESIDENT!
They’re ‘Independent-minded people’ who are willing to act on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—“There comes a time, when silence is betrayal.” And they’re not going to betray their families, or this nation by throwing their votes into anyone’s bucket just because a candidate is in the same political club.
Scott Brown, got in that way, but he will serve as a shining example (since betraying supporters by flipping to the dark side on nationalized ‘health care’) that bad people, seeking public office only to benefit themselves, come into every political party.
As responsible Citizens, the Tea Party People are raising the level of scrutiny, and consideration each candidate will get from them, regardless of their registration.
Typically, politicians work tirelessly to divide “We the People” up into groups, pit us against one another, then offer to referee. I don’t think it’ll be as easy for them, anymore. Typical (Republican/Democrat) politicians try to motivate people by fear. They just don’t ‘get’ that the only fear that will guide the Tea Party People, is the fear of not being free. Should be fun to watch ‘em try, though.