Letter: Just who is the ‘Tea Party’ anyway?
Just who is the "Tea Party" anyway? You probably have heard such accusations as, "The Tea Party is a bunch of far right-wing extremists, nut jobs and tinfoil hat wearers!" Now, recall where you heard those myths. Most likely it was from Democrats, and their willing accomplices in the "mainstream media." Shamefully, you may have also heard it from the Old Guard Republican establishment, from the national level right down to that here in Gloucester.
It is all about a perceived threat to political power. The Democrats see the Tea Party for what it is—direct opposition to their ideology of ever-expanding government; they are quite correct. The Tea Party’s number-one priority is to bring the government, at all levels, back within the limits imposed on it by our Constitution (from which it has strayed mightily). This runs head-on into the Democrats’ push for more and more centralized power in providing a nanny state at the expense of citizens’ individual rights, as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence.
The Republican Old Guard also fears the Tea Party because they see it as a threat to their established political power and comfortable, ensconced positions and prestige. So they often side with their opponents "across the aisle" to vilify the Tea Party.
So then, what is the Tea Party? It is not a political party. There is no unified, national organization known as the "Tea Party," no common set of rules, no central committee deciding issue stands, etc. The Tea Party is a loosely connected, national community of ordinary, like-minded people. We see our beloved country being altered by self-appointed elites from what our founders intended, and which has made us the envy of the world, into a European-style socialist state.
Unfortunately, the Republican establishment has too often "gone along to get along" with the Democrats for there now to be much real difference between the two. Thus the rise of the Tea Party. The Republican "move to the center" has not worked. It has not pulled votes from the Democrats, nor will it. It has not attracted independents. It was the Tea Party, sticking to conservative principles, at the local and state levels, that prevented the House from going Democrat in 2010.
Most of us in the Tea Party had never been involved in politics before 2004. We saw no need to be. The red light for me, and for many, was when candidate Obama told Joe the Plumber, "When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." Others came over as more and more of the present administration’s positions, executive orders, regulations and proposals became clear.
Over the past five years, the Tea Party has been coalescing, finding its way into the political arena and focusing on the two premises that really matter—bring government back under the limitations of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and enforce fiscal responsibility at all levels. There is a wide diversity of positions among individuals within the Tea Party, particularly on social issues, but the main points of agreement are those just mentioned.
I encourage you to attend one of our meetings and see for yourself who the Tea Party is. Our next meeting is July 15 at the Middlesex Sportsmen’s Hunt Club, 1860 Twiggs Ferry Road in Hartfield.