Independence Day Tea Parties Shift Emphasis from Awareness to Action
By Doug Edelman
July 13, 2009
Back in February of this year, barely a month into the Obama presidency, the Tea Party Movement was born after a rant on the Chicago Board of Trade by CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli called for a "second Tea Party" as a response to the Bailout Stimulus bill Obama had just signed.Â Immediately conservatives took to their blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and email to hastily arrange the February 27 Tea Parties.
It was a cathartic event.Â Finally there was an outlet for the pent-up rage that many were feeling over the sudden leftward lurch our nation had taken.Â In St Louis, organizers initially expected 50 to 100 "activists" to show up and were excited to have a couple hundred confirmed attendees on the event page on Facebook.Â They never imagined or dared to hope for numbers exceeding 1200, but at least that many people of like mind turned out on that cool day under the arch.
Not much attention was paid to the tea parties.Â At least, there was little publicly acknowledged attention.Â President Obama later claimed to have been completely unaware of the Tea Parties, though few take that statement at face value.
Still, Tea Party Organizers knew they had done two momentous things.Â They had created a tremor in Washington, even if it was only a 3 on the Richter Scale; and they had awakened the "sleeping giant" of American Conservatism.Â The "Fools on the Hill" had generated so much angst and ire amongst the normally "Silent Majority" that folks who ordinarily would do little more than hurl expletives at their televisions now were motivated to take a page from the Left's playbook... and take to the streets.Â The "Sleeping Giant" was awake and was becoming aware.
The 2nd major set of Tea Parties was held on Tax Day; April 15.Â This time, the numbers swelled thanks to the buzz created by the first Tea Parties.Â In St Louis, Keiner Plaza downtown was filled to overflowing - with a crowd exceeding 10,000 motivated patriots.
The April 15 Tea Parties showed the movement could no longer be ignored by the administration.Â So they set out to minimize, ridicule, belittle and do all they could to discredit, defang or emasculate the Tea Party movement.Â Awareness was spreading.Â Conservatives were becoming informed, yes... but also the Administration, the Congress, and their lapdogs in Media were also becoming aware - aware that there were a lot of angry and informed people out there who were going to hold their feet to the fire and demand accountability.
But while protesting with signs and speeches which preach to the choir is great for the above purposes, going forward it will serve little purpose to simply turn out crowds with signs (no matter how clever) if protest is not accompanied by action.Â This was the theme of the Independence Day Tea Parties; to answer that question, "What do we do NOW?"
In a movement such as the Tea Parties, it is only effective as long as it remains a grassroots effort.Â Looking to "them" to do all the heavy lifting will inevitably lead to the collapse of the effort under its own weight.Â That burden must be "redistributed."
Each person of like mind must become educated, not only in the facts but in tactics and processes by which they PERSONALLY can respond.Â No army puts its generals on the front line leading a charge, while the troops remain in the barracks watching TV and cheering them on when they are on the news!Â While senior staff create policy and establish strategies, the real work is done by the enlisted soldier, directed by a non-com.
For the movement to continue to have "legs," each person must become an individual activist.Â This does not mean counting on the elected minority to move the agenda forward.Â Nor relying on the voice of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and the rest to be the lone voices in the wilderness, leading the way all the way to the promised land.Â Not even leaving the work to the organizers of Tea Parties or other such protests.Â Each individual must take the personal responsibility to make their voice heard.
The message that came out of the Tea Parties - Become equipped and engage the battle!
The individual Activist must first become informed.Â There are numerous resources ranging from Fox News and Talk Radio to Blogs and Social Networking where reliable information can be obtained apart from the Mainstream Media.
An informed activist must know how to effectively translate that information into action.Â Most importantly, they must communicate their ideas, their frustrations, their anger and their praises to their elected officials.Â They must do so clearly, frequently, and in such a manner as to put them on notice that they are being scrutinized and will be held accountable come election time.
They can gather with the likeminded - not just to enjoy the social enjoyment of gathering with birds of a feather - but to share with one another.Â To share information,Â resources like websites, books and publications, relevant TV and radio programming etc. To share strategies and analysis of what has and hasn't been effective.Â To share "war stories" both for amusement and for "lessons learned."Â To move initiative petitions along.
Making a difference and affecting "change" will take much commitment of Patriots who are willing to engage the process at the risk of "lives, fortunes and sacred honor."Â But not to do so means allowing the ever-expanding and increasingly demanding hydra of government to direct our lives, confiscate our fortunes, and discredit our honor.Â We must never stand idly by and permit the rise of totalitarianism, socialism, or despotism or tyranny!
After the constitutional convention, Ben Franklin was approached and asked what type government they had given the people.Â His reply:Â A republic - IF YOU CAN KEEP IT.Â Are you ready, willing and able to commit yourself to this cause?
How can you get started?
1) VOTE!!Â Not just once every 4 years but EVERY TIME the polls are open, whether for the presidential election or for school board or zoning proposals.
2) Get informed.Â Avail yourself of the available resources such as the New Media and technology.Â Network with others of like mind.
3) Get ACTIVE.Â Call, write, email, fax and visit your elected officials.Â Pester them till they know your name!Â Give them a piece of your mind.Â Make sure they know they're being watched, and will be held accountable.Â Write letters to the editor.Â Post to blogs.Â Let people KNOW what is on your mind.
4) EVANGELIZE!Â Grow the movement by encouraging others to join it!Â That means being prepared to explain what is wrong, why it's wrong, and what you are doing about it.Â If you can get someone to understand what's happening and how it will affect them, you're half way to changing their mind!
5) BECOME a resource!Â Share your knowledge.Â Share your experiences.Â Provide money and materials where you can.
Remember, only you can prevent the nation from going up in smoke!