Thursday, March 22, 2012
'Tea Party Express' - more like a boil, than on the boil
The national political action committee known as the 'Tea Party Express' is rolling into St. Louis today to tell us locals that they've determined who the best grassroots 'Tea Party' candidate is for Missouri's U.S. Senate race, and we should all be good little folks and rally around them.
There are a number of problems with this, not the least of which is the fact that the official filing period for those who'd like to run for the senate hasn't closed yet, so there is a possibility that we, here in the actual grassroots, haven't even seen all of the potential candidates yet.
Another is that the primary has barely begun, we've barely heard from any of the candidates, let alone heard enough to determine who would be the best candidate to support.
But the part which disturbs me most has to do with what the Tea Party is, and what it is not - I hope.
The Tea Party has from the beginning, been the result of local citizens whose outrage at government gone wild got them up off their sofa's to come out and tell their representatives 'No more!', and in doing so, they looked around and noticed that they were not only not alone, but a force to be reckoned with.
Some individuals rose to the top of these groups, either by being the first to publicly say 'No!', which others heard and rallied to, or because they were willing to put in the time and effort to keep in touch with their new found fellows, and continued to let them know when and where they could best meet again to question their representatives and communicate to them that enough was enough, to communicate a message that might be summed up as:
"We are Americans, and we have Rights that are ours by our nature as men, they are not given to us as gifts from our government, and we have a constitution that was designed to make that relationship clear, and to constrain our government from thinking otherwise; We have a Constitution, it is time to follow it!".
Some of these people have followed where their new paths led, into political campaigning, media or simply sustaining their local rallying points, supplying their fellows with important information and ideas on how to keep the pressure on... but what pressure exactly was that, and for what?
The pressure has always been in the form of one person communicating questions, information and ideas for action, from one to another, occasionally meeting together again at a protest or rally, or a politicians appearance, or at the capitol rotunda, or the ballot box, but whatever the case, it has always been a movement that originated from the ground up, a true grassroots movement.
In this context grassroots has a particular meaning: it began, and continues to be, individual citizens communicating with each other, whether through email, blogs, rallies and/or other media, it's substance and momentum has come from We The People.
Even when there were national coordination’s, it was between those who had found themselves as... leaders isn't quite the right word, in fact it easily leads into the opposite of what they truly were and still are, they were people who organically found themselves at a focal point, the confluence of their fellows concerns, and coordinated ideas and actions with others who found themselves in similar positions, around the nation.
There were no elections, there were people who stood up, and who found that their fellows agreed with them, and urged them on. The people at those focal points have shifted and changed over the last few years, some still there, others tiring of the strain, slowed or stepped aside and another took their place.
These were not elections. They were not representatives. This was not a political party. They were not a form of government. They were people who were moved to action and found that they were not alone. They did not set the agenda, they simply expressed best what their fellow citizens were trying to say.
That is not the case with the so-called "Tea Party Express". This organization is a political action committee, funded by donors, perhaps sprung from the same original issues that the local Tea Parties were, but it is another animal entirely. By it's very nature it is NOT 'grassroots', it has it's own agenda, and while it may have had the same origins, it purposefully pulled itself out by the roots and transplanted its original growth into a tended planter, watered and cared for by financial contributors and beholden to others concerns.
Whether or not they still promote the same ideas is not the issue. They are NOT representative of the Tea Party, because they are NOT what the Tea Party IS. They've, on their own, without connection or even consultation with local citizenry, selected and decided to promote one candidate in our Senatorial primary, over the others. Why? Because they feel that that candidate is 'electable'.
If that's not the mating call of the entrenched establishment, I don't know what is.
And the fact that they expect to simply roll into town and tell us what we think or should think... makes my blood boil at a far higher temperature than any tea pot has ever whistled on the fire before.
Their endorsement of any candidate in our local elections, is foolish, futile, infuriating... and doomed to failure, because they have no roots here... or at least not amongst the local grass. Weeds perhaps. But no grassroots in sight.