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Thursday, April 9, 2009

With Six Days Left: Some Thoughts on the Tea Party Movement

When I made my way through the bitter Chicago cold on February 19th, I found myself among about 300 demonstrators. That day the Tea Party movement coordinated events in about 20 cities. Extrapolating that number, that means less than ten thousand people demonstrated that particular day throughout the country. I certainly felt that I was part of something growing, but I was also well aware of the numbers. This protest had to be the beginning of something not the end. The protests got little attention from any of the national media. Locally, it got a thirty second blurb from our own local affiliates and likely that was the case everywhere they were held. The movement had the raw emotion necessary to grow. It was the raw emotion epitomized by this Santelli rant.

It wasn't until the next day that I knew this movement would grow and become a force. That's when I received several emails from organizers like Eric Odom. Within 48 hours, the movement had created a website, a Facebook group, and had announced plans for another organized and coordinated protest on the 15th of April. At that point, I knew the movement would eventually explode and ultimately change the nature of the political dynamic.

We are nowhere near there yet, but at this point, there is no longer any stopping it. The Facebook page then augmented to create separate individual tea party pages for individual cities. The next stop for the movement was the endorsement of several important media like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Glenn Beck. Fox News has done its part to cover the movement as well.

Now, there are events planned for more than 300 cities in each of the fifty states. At each event, planners expect not several hundred but several thousand. Some conservatives have complained that the MSM has ignored the movement. I am not one of those. The growth of the movement is yet another example that the MSM is largely without power. The movement has grown largely with no acknowledgement from the MSM. Furthermore, they have been diminished by opponents. Here is a typical comment from an opponent.

To pretend that Republicans are back-to-roots conservatives, comparing the tyranny of King George to the damage control of Barack Obama. Funny thing, there's a lot less interest in this "tea party" movement than they'd like us to think.

On the 15th, this individual will see just how wrong they were, though, they will likely find something else to criticize about it.

Now, think about what will happen on the 15th. Across America there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of one million people protesting the entire direction of our country. On that day, most of the rest of the country will have its first introduction to the movement. At that point, the MSM could choose to cover it or they could choose to continue to ignore it. Either way, it will make little difference.

There is no stopping it from here. The next round of coordinated efforts are tentatively scheduled for July 4th. From the first to the second protest, the number will have grown from less than ten thousand to about a million. The momentum will only grow from there and you can bet it will again grow exponentially come the next round of coordinated protests. Remember, most of the country will get its first exposure to the Tea Parties on the 15th. I expect somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million people to show up at the third coordinated Tea Party.

Once the movement grows to ten million, that's when mere protests stop and action begins to be demanded. The coordination and organization means that the movement can and will be able to have enough power to hold politicians accountable everywhere. Many of its leaders will likely run. You will also see participants highlight politicians that have the movements best interest at heart and ask for support from everyone else. Soon, there will be platforms, town hall meetings, and other strategies to turn protest into action.

This movement has something very unique, powerful, and dangerous to anyone that gets in its way. This combines all the hallmarks of populism with all the hallmarks of conservatism. Its been a long time since a conservative was able to frame an issue in a populist manner. That all changed with the Tea Party movement. Now, it is the commoners against the bailouts. It is the commoners against excessive taxes. It is the commoners against the intrusive government. Make no mistake, these issues resonate, and with the power of twenty first century technology, they are bringing all together around these principles. On the 15th, everyone will see just how much it has grown, but the growth is only beginning.

1 comment:

Gail said...

The most important effect that I am hoping for is a re-introduction of the concept of DEBATE. We need to assess and debate nationally.

When the Constitution was being drafted, it was debated by most citizens across the colonies. There was no MSM, no football, no MTV or television. Debate was the entertainment of the people.

It is time to boycott all of the mind-numbing entertainment and get back to our roots. We need to solve this problem. We need to obtain the very best solutions through rigorous debate.

If a little name-calling gets in there, so what. At least we won't be dueling.

We need to leave the rhetoric of "political correctness" behind us and really evaluate the merits of every proposal.

Best regards to all,
Gail S