In reality, though. These tea parties are pointless. They have no direction. What do they want to accomplish with them?”
That is a cynical question but it is a fair one. The Tea Party movement in many ways is no different than any budding grassroots movement. It's goals are to mobilize, to demand change, and then with mobilizing power to demand politicians that live up to the ideal of these ideas.
The ideas of the movement are simple concepts that have gone out of political style. They are the ideals of fiscal conservatism, smaller government, lower taxes, and less government intervention.
It's a movement that was fueled by the now famous Rick Santelli rant. In my opinion, its apex is not the stimulus bill or even the election of President Obama. Instead, its apex is the mortgage bailout. There was a visceral reaction to the idea that responsible people should be on the hook to bailout those that are irresponsible. So, this movement has one of the most important elements of any successful grassroots movements: raw emotion.
In the beginning, the key to the movement is to grow. On Friday, the tea parties numbered several hundred in each city. Here is how Eric Odom, who was instrumental in organizing the one here, put it.
While some in the media are trying to belittle the Tea Party events that happened today, they seemed to have missed the part where we only spent a week in planning, and only 3 days ago many of us were wondering if anyone would even show up!
In other words, it's a start, but it's only a start. The movement got a fair amount of coverage on local news broadcasts where the parties were held. It received some national media and Rush just mentioned in the parties in his speech to CPAC. From here, it must grow exponentially.
That's where the wonders of media and modern technology come in. The movement is already on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. In fact, the movement itself is starting its own site. So, to answer the cynics, the key to the movement in the short term is to grow. The key in the short term is to organize many more tea parties and see thousands at them rather than hundreds. The next round of nationwide coordinated rallies is set for April 15th. (for obvious reasons) If we see thousands at the next set of rallies, the nation will know it is serious.
Once the movement is mobilized it will have power and reach to demand action. The movement will back and support only those politicians that have a philosophy congruent with it: fiscal conservatism, small government, low taxes, and less intervention. Here in Illinois its natural political leader is Tony Peraica. He was the only politician to speak at the rally in Chicago. Here is how Peraica described the absence of other pols.
I mean, there were 400 grassroots activisits … TV news cameras … what could’ve kept the politicians away?
Could it have been the message of lower taxes and limited government? But wouldn’t that message have been a no-brainer for at least a Republican elected official?
Here in the Chicagoland area there is not only an apathy toward bloated and corrupt government, but also, there is an assumption that things won't change. This movement has an opportunity to change all that. As the movement grows locally, it will demand more politicians like Peraica. Of course, Peraica will be the main beneficiary of its movement locally.
In fact, don't be surprised if many of the local organizing leaders run for some sort of office themselves. As it evolves, it will take on a life of its own. It will, however, be built on mobilization, unity of principle, and will use those two in order to change the political process.