Less Government, More Freedom.
Thursday, May 23rd 2013
What is the Tea Party Movement?
Millions upon millions of Americans feel as though the country is heading in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, there’s no one single problem (or one single person) on which to pin the blame.
Government spending is at an all-time high, and America is trillions of dollars in debt. The tax burden on American families, rich and poor, is unbearable, and the hard-working middle class seems to pay the highest price. The borders remain unsecured, yet the right to defend oneself if necessary comes under scrutiny. Even as the beacon of freedom for the entire world, Americans are less free than ever before.
Fortunately, the Tea Party movement aims to change all of that. By congregating with likeminded individuals across the nation, dissenting Americans have made their voices heard. While these individual problems plague our nation, the intention of the Tea Partiers is to change the institution itself, to get elected officials to vote the will of their constituents, and to elect new leaders who share real American values.
What Does The Movement Stand For?
The Tea Party movement stands for many American ideals. The first and foremost of these is the idea that taxation has reached bizarre and unreasonable levels. Some have proposed that “TEA” stands for “taxed enough already!”
While this is an oversimplification of the movement’s ideals, lowering taxation is certainly a core value of the movement. More to the point, the Tea Party movement believes that government itself is out of control.
Many Americans believe intuitively that they alone possess the rights to their personal freedom, but that the government has adopted a babysitter role that squelches that freedom. The Tea Party movement believes that “We the People” are the true deciders, and that the government simply acts on the citizens’ behalf. A Tea Party Patriot knows that the unalienable rights of every American citizen—those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—should not be subject to change without notice.
Tea Party Goals
In a broad sense, the main goal of the Tea Party movement is to change the institution of the federal government to the effect that American’s freedoms are restored to the ideals of the founding fathers. These ideas include:
- Low taxes
- Dramatically smaller government with a much reduced role
- Substantially less central government (Washington) and a preference for states rights
- More individual freedom
- Free market prosperity
This is accomplished in a number of ways:
- American citizens must decide to elect out corrupt officials and replace them with individuals who value the input of the average citizen.
- The government that governs best is one that governs least, and elected leaders must be made to understand that.
- Those officials who remain in office should know that they will not remain if they vote against the will of the people.
Another objective of the Tea Parties is to educate Americans who don’t understand the price that’s been paid for freedom, and to mobilize them into civic action.
Tea Party Organization
When the media discuss the tea parties, they often deride them as disorganized, confused movements from individuals across the nation who want to make noise. This is not the case. The Tea Party movement is extremely well organized, demonstrated by the scope of the movement across the country.
What is confusing to many is that the Tea Parties are not organized by a particular political group, party, or established ideology. Rather, the movement is organized by the American people. The Tea Party movement claims no de facto leader. In fact, central leadership would be counter to the core principles of the Tea Party as it is against centralized control. The will of the average citizen drives the movement.
While certain groups and organizations do help to fund and position the movement, it was not conceived, designed, or mobilized by a political party or traditional ideology. Any American who is dissatisfied with the role of government in daily life is welcome to join the movement and participate in the cause. In fact, many different groups of individuals have joined the movement without an affiliation with a particular party.
Tea Party Impact
The impact of the Tea Party movement across the nation has been huge. While many competing groups have experienced minimal media coverage, the coverage of the Tea Party patriots has been massive.
Not only is Middle America listening to the words the movement has to say, but the political mainstream has also responded in turn. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have commented on the Tea Party demonstrations, for good or ill, demonstrating the popular culture roots of the movement.
All fifty states have hosted tea parties to protest out-of-control government spending and the increasing tax burden. In the spirit of true federalism, Americans across the country have made an impact on the political culture.
This impact is seen in larger changes, such as the election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts to the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, and in the smaller movements that transcend the traditional Republican/Democrat dichotomy in local governments.