Two years ago, the Tea Party peaked. We were headed into the 2010 midterm elections and the masses were so pissed about ObamaCare being signed into law in March of that year, that they were taking to the streets and community parks in protest over that tyrannical bill as well as the threat of rising taxes. People were fed up, they felt “taxed enough already” and wanted to make it known that they weren’t going to stand by while their government continued to beat them senselessly into the ground! Oh no! These people were fighters! These Tea Partiers weren’t going to take the establishment’s bullshit any longer! They were going to strike hard, strike fast, show no mercy and vote the bastards out! And come the 2010 midterm elections, they did. Well, at least in the House of Representatives, as the Democrats maintained control of the Senate.
So two years later in 2012, just before the presidential election, you’d expect the Tea Party to be out there pushing hard to kick out Barack Obama and the Democratic ruled Senate. Well, I went to a local Tea Party event for the first time in about 18 months and I was shocked by the lack of a real presence. Now I’ve written about the Tea Party’s shrinking attendance in my own neck of the woods before but nothing I have seen has been this bad. In a park that used to host hundreds to over a thousand people, the latest event held there was only comprised of two-to-three dozen people – that’s counting those who had tables set up to promote their groups and sell their trinkets. It was beyond disheartening.
Now the event I went to was to celebrate Constitution Day. Every time I have been to a Constitution Day event, since the advent of the Tea Party, there have been tons of people. This time, the number of people who attended could fit into one classroom. Now I am glad for those who did show up but unfortunately their rhetoric and message weren’t really what the Tea Party was about during its heyday. The shift in tone was apparent before any speakers even took the stage, as I saw plenty of Romney supporters, which just makes this movement’s fate all the more tragic.
Gone were the colorful signs, colorful characters and contrasting points-of-view brought out through civil debates on how to achieve real liberty in a land where it was in such short supply. All of that had been replaced by those pro-Romney “Anybody but Obama” sheep. This proved to me that the Tea Party was dead. I talked about its death before but this was certainly the nail in the coffin, at least in my area of the country – I hope things are different elsewhere.
However, I have talked to friends in other regions and it seems that my experience isn’t all that uncommon. It’s as if many of the local Tea Party groups through the United States are splintering. Factions are forming from factions, leadership has fallen off and no one seems to be all that interested in an ideal that was changing the whole political climate just two years ago. In what is one of the most pivotal election years, this iconic movement has seemingly run out of gas. Hell, I was never fully aligned with the group but there I was, feeling like the last of the dumbasses because I was standing with a few people in a park hoping that others wouldn’t be too busy or too disinterested to come out on a Saturday afternoon out of respect for the Constitution. Silly me.
After dealing with the pro-Romney/anti-Obama minions, I had to leave and get a drink. Luckily I squeezed into the local Irish pub with some friends and enjoyed a couple pints of Guinness. Sitting with my peeps – reflecting on the event, we all felt pretty discouraged. Sure, some truly pro-Constitution Tea Partiers were still hanging on but those people didn’t realize that the guy they are supporting is not a solution to our problems and certainly not going to be that much different than what is currently the status quo in Washington DC. I guess it is consistent though with how the Tea Party has allowed many of the candidates they endorsed two years ago to get away with establishment style shenanigans since they’ve taken office. One shouldn’t put Romney and the Constitution in the same sentence unless describing how Romney’s agenda is a stark contrast to our nation’s founding document.
Look, I know it is hard to stay vigilant and to keep up with everything when the world is moving fast and we’ve all got our own personal shit to deal with. However, if you stay uncompromisingly true to your ideals, principles and morals, it should be pretty easy spotting the bastards in the bunch, especially when the worst of them tend to be always standing in front of the crowd. It also isn’t hard to vote your conscious. You just do it and let that send the message. We aren’t limited to just two choices and regardless of that, if you don’t like the choices, maybe you need to run for office; this goes for national, state and local levels.
You’ve dropped the ball Tea Party. You’ve let it slip through your fingers. You’ve compromised yourselves again because you are so lost in the rhetoric and the message that you’ve completely abandoned the substance behind it. It’s unfortunate. I was skeptical in the beginning and I had hoped that my skepticism would be all for naught but it wasn’t. The critics, myself included, saying that the Tea Party would be used as a Republican election machine were correct. As non-partisan as the Tea Party claims to be, they certainly vote down party lines and don’t hold those party members accountable when their actions are a sharp contrast to the ideals supposedly held by their supporters.
Truth be told, this will probably be the last Tea Party centered article that I ever write. It was an interesting ride and while it woke up the minds of many, the results haven’t been that promising. I guess this is why the pro-liberty individuals that I talk to and operate with are still moving forward in their own ways, outside of the Tea Party banner. Who can blame them, when they are vehemently opposed to people like Romney but the Tea Party, who were reluctant to support him, have now embraced him just to spite Obama.
The Liberty Movement lives and will continue to thrive and grow. The Tea Party was really just a part of the bigger Liberty Movement picture. They unfortunately allowed themselves to be co-opted by the establishment, the mainstream media and thus gave in to the beast they swore they were going to take down. They fell victim to political tribalism and it became an “us versus them” scenario where the them wasn’t the establishment as a whole but the establishment of the left. Sure, they were critical of the right in the beginning but what happened to that criticism when their heroes like Marco Rubio and Allen West faltered? Those true to the larger Liberty Movement stayed vigilant and offered up their criticism and yes, some in the Tea Party did as well, but when looking at the full scope of the situation, as a whole, they turned a blind eye. The voices of the vigilant ones were stifled by the screams of the sheep.
The real message will never be silenced but the game has changed once again. That doesn’t mean that you don’t keep moving forward and that you don’t stick to your principles. Just let what happened to the Tea Party be a lesson for the future. I applaud those groups who are still thriving and still carry the real message but those groups are seemingly becoming scarce. Maybe we just haven’t suffered enough yet. Maybe it’ll take even more federal government insanity to fire up the people. Eventually, something will have to give and even if the Tea Party brand is dead, the people will still rise carrying the message of smaller government and fiscal responsibility.