03.31.2010 0

Cup O’ Tea Party

  • On: 04/23/2010 09:24:48
  • In: Conservative Movement
  • By Trevor Sides

    I attended the Fort Collins, Colo., Tax Day Tea Party Thursday afternoon at Washington Square park.

    And I’m happy to report that no racial slurs were flung (some African-Americans were even in attendance and appeared quite “comfortable”); there were no overt displays of sexism, homophobism, Islamophobism; no coffins were “left” anywhere; children played at a nearby playground (unmolested, mind you); the crowd of 1,000 or so peacefully assembled, waved flags and signs, and cheered when the rally’s speakers said something they liked.

    All in all, it was actually rather…tame. Boring, even. Nothing happened.

    This was a far cry from the Tea Party I went to last year in Loveland, Colo. A crowd of at least a thousand strong lined the main street, waving signs, shouting, chanting, and reveling in the praise and affirmation of passing car horns. The energy and emotion was palpable, real, tangible. As the sun set on the street and over the throng, I knew that this Tea Party thing wasn’t a passing fad. I knew that I was experiencing an incredible moment in our country’s history.

    But as I left the Tea Party on Thursday – early, even before the keynote speaker stepped to the podium – I was troubled by the lack of energy, lack of urgency, and even lack of people. Only 1,000 people in a town of nearly 140,000 showed up? I hope because of poor advertising and planning? The Fort Collins Tea Party turned into an afternoon tea party – minus biscuits, British accents and classical music.

    I’m aware that this is anecdotal. I’m sure many Tea Parties across America experienced plenty of energy and urgency, and helped to further the growing anti-big-government movement. The Tea Partiers, their numbers, their clout and their turnout are going to play pivotal roles in the upcoming midterms. Fair or not, we’re told that the “repealing” of Obamacare hinges on how many stone-cold conservatives they can sweep into office.

    Yet I wonder. The Tea Party movement seems to be at a crossroads. The original Tea Party was a group of vandals that destroyed government property. Today’s Tea Party? It’s a bunch of registered voters in picket lines who rush to assure mainstream media types that they’re as non-violent as Gandhi.

    Even if the Tea Party comes through and spurs a Republican/conservative majority come November, that doesn’t mean we should assume that Obamacare and other “socialist” policies will be repealed.

    Obamacare is definitely the prime target. But we’ll need more than a simple majority to kill that monster with Obama sitting in the White House, waiting to veto any repeal-oriented piece of legislation. This battle will be far from over if Republicans take over both houses of Congress – and even that is uncertain.

    What is today’s Tea Party going to do if either Republicans don’t pick up significant wins in November or Obamacare doesn’t get repealed in the end? Will they wither away to nothing, mocked by the mainstream media and Democrats in D.C. as insignificant racists, bigots and homophobes? Will they go along with the Euro-statism of the Obama administration? Will they shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, we tried,” and watch the sun set on American exceptionalism while collecting entitlement checks?

    As Mark Steyn says, government-run healthcare is a game changer. Not only is it almost impossible to get rid of (i.e. “repeal”), but it fundamentally changes the relationship between governed and government. I want to know what Tea Partiers are prepared to do/become if every “civil” attempt at repealing socialized medicine fails.

    I don’t know what the right answers are if ballot-box rebellion doesn’t work out. Tea Partiers and elected officials in Oklahoma are tinkering with forming a “militia”. “Militias” created by D.C.-loathing Middle-Americans can serve only so many purposes.

    Thus it appears some in the Tea Party aren’t ready to go quietly into the nanny-state night.

    Trevor Sides, former editor of the Akron News-Reporter, is a Liberty Features Syndicate writer for Americans for Limited Government.

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