Tempest in a Tea Party

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Again, no time to comment much, just to note the situation.

Tulsa has three Taxpayer Tea Party events scheduled for April 15:

  • Civic Center Plaza, 5th and Denver, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • LaFortune Stadium, on Hudson north of 61st St., between 12 noon and 2 p.m.
  • Veterans' Park, 18th and Boulder, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

From the tulsateaparty.org press release:

A group of citizens in Tulsa, OK, the Tulsa Tea Party, are organizing two Tax Day TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party protest rallies on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, the day tax returns are to be mailed, in the downtown Tulsa area....

The TEA Party is part of a national movement formed to protest the spending of trillions of dollars, which will leave our great-grandchildren a debt they must pay, and to restore the basic free market principals upon which our country was founded. This is a grassroots, collaborative volunteer organization made up of everyday American citizens. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. It's about the defending the Constitution and loving America.

Tax day rallies are being held in over a thousand cities across the nation and are being promoted by Americans for Prosperity, American Family Association, 912 Project and several national radio and television programs, among others.

While the multiple events at different times and locales will allow more people to participate, there's also some talk radio tug-of-war going on as KFAQ hosts are emceeing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park tea parties, and KRMG is promoting the LaFortune Stadium tea party.

Chris Medlock, who "no longer [has] a dog in this fight," has an interesting analysis of the Tulsa Tea Party situation (and a great graphic -- rockem-sockem radio stations) and how it could work in the protest movement's favor. The post has already generated 17 comments, including one from "joe.kelley," although I have trouble believing it was really written by the KRMG morning host -- the tone is way out of character.

Jai Blevins, who organized the February Tea Party at Veterans' Park and is organizing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park events for next Wednesday, seems to have found the whole experience eye-opening.

I've been around grassroots organizing for a long time -- neighborhood organizations, political parties, campaigns, and other causes. I've seen many people like Jai, who get passionate about an issue, get motivated, and seemingly come out of nowhere to get something going. We need people like Jai, who haven't yet become worn down, jaded, and cynical, who still believe that it's possible to make a difference.

These freshly-minted grassroots leaders often learn, to their shock and displeasure, that the biggest challenge to their movement's success may not be from outside opposition but from internal dissension, as some people seek to use the movement to promote their own agenda. Sometimes that agenda is hidden, sometimes it's right out in the open -- as it is with the radio stations and their understandable desire to use the tax party movement to promote their own business prospects.

But from the perspective of someone like Jai Blevins, this isn't a time to jockey for advantage, but a national emergency that demands patriotic cooperation from people who might otherwise be at odds. To call him a whiner or to say that he's insincere and doesn't believe in free-market competition is to misunderstand his motives.

Eventually, an activist learns how to deal with individuals and companies that are trying to use his movement. He learns to use them to promote his movement's agenda. They achieve a kind of symbiosis, but there's an understanding that the relationship is one of convenience, not permanent and grounded in principle. In the process of coming to terms with that reality, you lose some of your idealism.

Like Chris, I don't have a dog in this fight either. I haven't been invited on either station for months, and I don't expect that I'll ever be invited on either one again. I hope all three events draw big, enthusiastic crowds and get plenty of media coverage.

As for which one I'm attending -- it's also my wife's birthday, so I doubt I'll be able to get to any of them.

MORE: American Majority, which provides training for prospective political candidates and activists, is offering to help you learn how to make an ongoing difference after the tea parties are over.

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W. said:

This seems like a very obvious question, but it needs to be asked:

Where were these Taxpayer Tea Parties when the previous administration was running up huge deficits during times of economic expansion?

Isn't this a case of selective outrage?

Archivist said:

Well, this seems like the obvious response, then. Where are all the people who were so outraged when GWB spent a trillion dollars over 7 years on the war on terror, when the current president triples the national debt in a single year,

Read this:

Here's the rest of the tripling quote,

it is far more accurate to describe Mr. Obama’s budget as almost tripling the deficit. It adds $6.5 trillion to the national debt, and leaves future U.S. taxpayers (many of whom will make far less than $250,000) with the tab. And all this before dealing with the looming Medicare and Social Security cost...

Those of us participating in the Tea Parties are VERY concerned, not only about the proposed spending, but the apparent plans to develop mandatory civil service (See Ted Kennedy's GIVE Act), nationalize health care (have you ever seen a V.A hospital?), proposed Amnesty for Illegals (We didn't like it when GWB proposed it either), and the lack of adult supervision at the State Department.

We also worry that 1 day after a rogue nation launches an alleged satellite, which was more likely just another long range offensive missile test, we find out that the one area that the President is proposing actual cuts in the budget is Defense spending in general, and Missile Defense in particular.

So I guess huge is relative. If you have already reverted to a pre War on Terror (Contingency Operations? Really?) mindset, I can see where GWB's deficits might bother you. If it does bother you, then President Obama's budget should devastate you.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 9, 2009 8:24 AM.

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