Skip to content

Tea Time: Origin and Purpose

September 29, 2010

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson

After watching the linguistic contortions that former President Clinton recently put himself through in his attempt to understand and characterize the Tea Party movement, along with the obvious confusion that the liberal media establishment still has, I thought I would try and help them out.

While there were spontaneous protests that occurred prior to February, 2009, the most noted spark that began the movement has to do with a rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by Rick Santelli on February 19.  Several concerned and enterprising citizens heeded Santelli’s call for a “Tea Party”, reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party of 1773. So on a cold winter’s day February 27, 2009 in multiple cities across the country, propelled by Facebook and Twitter, the Tea Party was born.

Before I tell you what the Tea Party is, let me tell you what it isn’t, since so many seem to have difficulty here.  The Tea Party is not lead by Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck as there is no single leader and no single organization which represents it.  It is not a political party. It is not a wing of the Republican Party.  It is not Astroturf, Nancy.  It is not funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. It is not racist or bigoted—although a few individuals might be as this is a human condition. It is not all white, Keith.  It is not violent.  Is the picture beginning to clear up yet?

What is the Tea Party?  It is a movement.  A ”homegrown, broad-based and independent” political movement like nothing we have ever seen in our history.  It is ordinary everyday Americans who were awakened to our considerable peril by an economic collapse that brought into crystal-clear focus the dangers that profligate spending and rampant corruption in our government and related organizations present.

President Clinton was right when he said “…they believe that for years and years and years, the people with wealth and power or government power have done well and ordinary people have not.”–but that’s where it ends.  The chattering political class along with the impact of their simplistic formulations of class warfare, “Bush lied,” “Obama did it,” “Democrats good, Republicans bad,” or vice versa is mercifully waning. Their arrogance and disdain for We the People is typified by Senator Kerry when he said, “We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.”—You mean something like “Hope and Change?”

It is a collective and fundamental recognition that along with the career politicians, the systems our government instituted to “help us” have failed: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education, et al.  Our society is littered with the deplorable results of these intrusive government programs which have wreaked havoc in our lives, while our politicians have paid no price for the utterly pathetic outcomes of their handiwork. It is Velma Hart finding common cause with Joe the Plumber.

It is a consistent message of three primary principles our government and representatives must return to: Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.  From national organizations that have formed to assist the grassroots and promote candidates that represent their values such as Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, and Tea Party Express, to the hundreds of local Tea Party groups throughout the nation, this phenomenon has engendered responses across the emotional and intellectual spectrum from all quarters of our society.  The Left hates, the Elite recoil, the Media scoffs, the Establishment reels, the Right cheers, the Awakened activate, the Ordinary hope, and the tempestuous sea of Liberty roils.

There is a palpable sense of history in this movement.  As Peggy Noonan states, “Nobody knows how all this will play out, but we are seeing something big—something homegrown, broad-based and independent. In part it is a rising up of those who truly believe America is imperiled and truly mean to save her. The dangers, both present and potential, are obvious.”

…and November is coming.

Copyright 2010 Julie Schmidt.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: