Welcome to the Tea Party, pal
Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies -- dubbed "tea parties" -- to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like MoveOn.org.
So who's behind the Tax Day tea parties? Ordinary folks who are using the power of the Internet to organize. For a number of years, techno-geeks have been organizing "flash crowds" -- groups of people, coordinated by text or cellphone, who converge on a particular location and then do something silly, like the pillow fights that popped up in 50 cities earlier this month. This is part of a general phenomenon dubbed "Smart Mobs" by Howard Rheingold, author of a book by the same title, in which modern communications and social-networking technologies allow quick coordination among large numbers of people who don't know each other.
In the old days, organizing large groups of people required, well, an organization: a political party, a labor union, a church or some other sort of structure. Now people can coordinate themselves.
We saw a bit of this in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, with things like Howard Dean's use of Meetup, and Barack Obama's use of Facebook. But this was still social-networking in support of an existing organization or campaign. The tea-party protest movement is organizing itself, on its own behalf. Some existing organizations, like Newt Gingrich's American Solutions and FreedomWorks, have gotten involved. But they're involved as followers and facilitators, not leaders. The leaders are appearing on their own, and reaching out to others through blogs, Facebook, chat boards and alternative media.
The protests began with bloggers in Seattle, Wash., who organized a demonstration on Feb. 16. As word of this spread, rallies in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., were quickly organized for the next day. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli's Feb. 19 "rant heard round the world" in which he called for a "Chicago tea party" on July Fourth. The tea-party moniker stuck, but angry taxpayers weren't willing to wait until July. Soon, tea-party protests were appearing in one city after another, drawing at first hundreds, and then thousands, to marches in cities from Orlando to Kansas City to Cincinnati. ...
There's good news and bad news in this phenomenon for establishment politicians. The good news for Republicans is that, while the Republican Party flounders in its response to the Obama presidency and its programs, millions of Americans are getting organized on their own. The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama's policies, aren't especially friendly to the GOP. When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: "With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around."
Likewise, I spoke to an organizer for the Knoxville tea party who said that no "professional politicians" were going to be allowed to speak, and he made a big point of saying that the protest wasn't an anti-Obama protest, it was an anti-establishment protest. I've heard similar things from tea-party organizers in other cities, too. Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they're really a post-partisan expression of outrage.
As Professor Reynolds would say, read the whole thing. And take to heart what I bolded above. That's what these protests are all about, folks. We're mad as Hell and we're sick of taking it on the chin from these monkeys in Washington, DC.
For far too long we have voiced our outrage at the politicos in DC, and all we ever get is a pat on the head, and assurances that they've heard us. Well, obviously they haven't been listening. If we had been listened to, the Pork-A-Palooza never would have passed. The $410 billion pork-laden omnibus bill never would have passed. Washington, DC has sullied the memory of the Founders, and turned away from their vision and wisdom. The government was never supposed to be as intrusive and oppressive as it is today.
The Tea Parties represent our outrage, but not in the way that most people are used to seeing. This is not your A-typical liberal protest where every nutter, Left-wing, fever-swamp protester that so many of us are used to seeing. Those are the clueless, mouth-breathing mobs. We're not clueless, and this isn't a mob. These are grass-roots-organized protests in a nation founded by the people, for the people, and trust me when I say the people are more than fed up.
This is the day that Washington, DC is going to be forced to pay attention. The media isn't going to cover these, or at least they'll try not to. And while the Left claims that this will backfire, and the amount of people attending these protests won't be as big as expected, they're wrong, and the people will show up. To take the grass-roots movement further Pajamas Media will be covering the protests across the country with hundreds of citizen reporters. They'll be sending in dispatches and videos of what people are doing and saying at the protests.
Is this the beginning of a new movement? Let's hope so. Let's hope this will also get average people involved in politics -- from the city council level up through the upper echelons of power -- to return this government back to it's founding roots; back to the vision the Founders had for the nation and it's citizenry. Oh, and for those that think this is a whole lot of nothing, think again. Check this out from Michelle Malkin. It's a timeline of the Tea Party movement. For those that pooh-pooh this, remember that this all started back in February, and they've exploded to over 2000 tax day, Tea Party protests, including one in Denmark.
This isn't just a passing fancy, folks. If you're not pi$$ed off, you're not paying attention, and it looks like there are quite a few people in this nation that are now paying attention.