April 12, 2010
April 15th is this Thursday and we all know what that means; TEA Parties. At this moment, the defiant ones are pulling our their “Liberty or Death” t-shirts, dusting off their Stars and Stripes and Gadsden flags, making their signs and getting ready for a whole new season telling the Government to get out of our lives. Major League Baseball has Opening Day; the TEA Parties have April 15th.
The fact is that our little movement seems to be gaining momentum. Polls show that more Americans identify with the TEA Parties than with the present administration. Not bad for a bunch of fringe, right-wing nut-cases. If not a cause for celebration, it is certainly a reason to take heart.
However, as the TEA Party movement gains steam, the enemies of the movement will be sharpening their attack as well. The compliant ones are getting ready. The TEA Parties will not come as a surprise as last year. That’s fine, most TEA Partiers are more than willing to debate and defend their position. However, the compliant ones don’t debate, they can’t defend their position. Rather, they mischaracterize, they name call, they go on TV with all manner of wild accusations, none of which they can prove.
The day before the Health Care vote, Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) claimed he was spat upon and called a racial slur by a TEA Party member while walking into the Capitol building. Originally, Cleaver’s office said he reported the incident to police and the man was detained briefly. Later, in an interview with Fox News, Cleaver seemed to back off his earlier statement and said he never reported anything. Video of the incident shows the man cupping his hands around his mouth and speaking loudly to the Congressman in an effort to be heard over the crowd. There, however, is no evidence of spitting and no one other than the Congressman claims to have heard the racial slur.
But, I have a question. If you are a liberal Democrat Congressman, why walk in proximity of a TEA Party anyway? It’s not as though they’re hard to spot; you can see those big, yellow flags a mile away. Also, there is a subway system that runs from the Congressional office buildings to the Capitol. So, there was no need for Congressman Cleaver to have been anywhere near the TEA Party. The only reason for the Congressman to do this was to try and provoke the TEA Partiers into actions that would reflect badly on the movement. Thankfully, because of the restraint and law abiding nature of the TEA Partiers, the Congressman’s efforts were for naught, but he made claims to have been wronged anyway. Moral: if you don’t have a good incident; tell a good story.
Then there is the recent incident out in Searchlight, Nevada where Harry Reid supporters threw eggs at the TEA Party Express bus as it passed by.
In any large, grassroots movement there are going to be a few crackpots who either misunderstand the point of the movement or wish to use it for their own nefarious purposes. But I know that the vast majority of TEA Partiers are good, hardworking Americans who are deeply concerned about the direction of our Country.
I believe this was only the first attempts to try and provoke TEA Party members into actions that could be used by a willing media to cast the movement in a bad light. The TEA Partiers have not taken the bait. What will be the next step? Well if they can’t goad the TEA Partiers into action, the enemies of the movement may take actions themselves and try to make it look as if the TEA Parties are responsible.
We may have seen the beginnings of this with the death threats some Congressional members say they received following the Health Care vote. I don’t believe any of these threats have been tied directly to any TEA Parties, but there was the one incident where a “tea party participant” tried to publish the address of a Congressman.
As we go to our TEA Parties, let’s be visible; let’s be vocal; but let’s be respectful. Don’t give our enemies any ammunition to use against us. Lord knows they’re going to make up enough on their own. Don’t be timid either. We are on the right side (no pun intended) and our cause will be born out in the end.
Humphrey Stevenson has BS degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics and an MBA and makes his home in Tulsa, OK. He is a chemist by trade, has been published in trade journals, and is a recent "tea party" participant and political writer. His inspiration, as with many conservatives, is Ronald Reagan.