Why have tea party supporters taken the country by storm? What makes the tea party attractive to middle class Americans—is it just the “bandwagon” syndrome as some claim?
Do tea partiers represent the fringe on the right who are “crazy” and have consumed too much of the right-wing “Kool-Aid?”
There is no dispute that thousands of Americans across the country—from north to south, east to west, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, social status, or income level have joined the Tea Party movement. When polled, they all tend to share the same conservative principles. They all are unhappy with the way government (both parties) have been running things in the last several years.
The majority of tea party activists have never before attended a political rally, town hall meeting, nor donated money to a political group. They are hard-working, law-abiding individuals who are busy raising their families and who previously trusted government to take care of national interests. Abruptly, conservatives woke up and realized that the same government was running America into the ground.
Massive deficit spending, bailouts, and interference in free markets became major affronts to the health of the nation. Infringements upon liberties by way of government takeover of health care, cap and trade, and pending corporate reform and immigrant amnesty made tea partiers say, “Enough is enough!”
For raising their voices, tea party members have been attacked by their elected officials with slanderous name-calling and generalities to discredit the movement. As I’ve stated, tea partiers are not racist
, nor anti-government.
As one Plano tea party member Mark R. states,
“I…was raised in a time when we learned to be proud of America. I believe in ‘American Exceptionalism.’ I believe that our nation was founded by great men at great personal sacrifice. I believe in the words written in the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. I believe that throughout the history of this great nation, men have died to establish and defend the principles codified in these great documents. I believe that America has done more to advance freedom, liberty, and prosperity than any nation in the history of mankind. In other words, I believe in all those [so-called old-fashioned] notions that modern liberals, progressives…seem to dismiss.”
Many tea partiers share these views of liberty and limited government. Stefani L. of McKinney says, “A strong-armed government scares me. It makes me feel as if freedom and liberty will simply be words without meaning. How can one have true freedom or liberty when the government dictates every area of their life?”
Getting involved in this movement is not an effortless task. It takes a great deal of government misbehavior to motivate large masses of people to stop their busy lives, inform themselves, make homemade signs, attend rallies, spread the word to their friends, write and call their Congressmen, donate money and attend town hall meetings. Tea partiers would not make these continued sacrifices were it not for their intense passion for saving their country.
Saving their country? Progressives would ask, “What exactly are they trying to save?” Progressives believe their own initiatives have only been to “improve” our society, to “keep up with the times,” and avoid being perceived as “old-fashioned.”
What tea party activists strive to save is:
- The U.S. Constitution in its original interpretation,
- The limitations placed on government (detailed in the Constitution),
- The sovereignty of our nation (not balkanization and loss of English as the primary language),
- Economic stability (even growth) and free markets,
- Preservation of basic freedoms such as religion (not only freedom from religion), life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
- Elected officials doing the will of the people,
- The opportunity to achieve the American dream: anyone can be or have anything they wish if they are willing to work for it.
Tea partiers know that America is a “center-right” country. This means that most people are not on the far right or far left of the political spectrum, but somewhere in the middle, but leaning towards conservativism. Most Americans could agree with the principles above.
At least 60% of Americans are not in favor of the government supporting everyone from cradle to grave in the form of Socialism—taking from the rich to give to the poor. There are other governments which have modeled Socialism and have failed miserably. Conservatives realize that there is a need to care for those who cannot care for themselves. But it is disastrous to take care of those who choose not to care for themselves.
A recent Pew poll shows close to 80% of Americans do not believe the government can solve America’s problems. Congress’ approval rating is a dismal 22%. President Obama’s approval rating is currently 48%, which is the lowest rating ever for any president after his first year in office since the formation of this nation.
Tea party patriots aren’t fringe extremists, “crazy”, or anti-government; on the contrary, it seems as though more and more Americans are on board with Tea Party values. So liberals might want to rethink any future attempt of verbal bashing the Tea Party movement.
The resolve of zealous patriots is showing up everywhere today, and it will be on full display at the ballot box this November.