TEA Time?

   Has the country, and the GOP moved past the TEA movement?  Or has the TEA movement moved too far past the main stream of  America?

   Clearly 2010 was the high water mark for the so-called TEA movement. It was a time when many people were motivated to become more involved in the political process, myself included. There was a sense that people could actually make a difference if only they would find the right candidates, and work to elect them. I still believe that to be the case.

   In many cases this actually happened, and the nation saw many new political leaders come from out of no where. In large part due to the grass-roots movement that became known as the TEA movement, or TEA party, though no TEA Party has ever existed.

   TEA stands for “taxed enough already”, and was the original idea of the TEA movement, but as I have pointed out at other times, the TEA movement has been taken over and morphed into any number of sub groups. From anti-abortion groups, to libertarian groups, to pro-second amendment groups. Pretty much any group that is anti-establishment self-identifies as TEA.

  The problem is that the TEA idea has moved so far past what it originally was, that even some who were strong TEA members in the beginning have decided to no longer be a part of the movement.

  The more professional members of the TEA movement have faded away, the doctors, lawyers and such. What is left of the movement seems to be populated by former military and or government employees. This has given rise to a more militaristic vibe to the movement. Add to this the recent second amendment issues in the news and the reaction of many whom identify themselves as TEA members, and we are seeing the growth of another sub group that seems consumed with the idea of armed defense of their rights.

  This is alarming to even straight line conservatives such as myself. There is a lot of talk about tyranny, and talk of us against them, when speaking of the federal government.

  There seems to be a fanaticism in the rhetoric coming from a vocal faction within the TEA movement. Like the fanatics on the left who see the world ending due to man’s destructive nature, the fanatics on the right see the world ending due to man’s corrupting nature.

  The fanatics on the left see man destroying the natural world.  The fanatics on the right see all things government as the destructive force in the world.

  In both cases the fringes at the left and the right have a unatural fear of these elements. They also have a view of themselves as victims. The left see themselves as victims of other people who are either more successful, or who hold some form of authority. They see themselves as victims because they have not succeeded in business or in life in general.

  The fringe right see themselves as victims of government. They believe that government’s only purpose is to stop them from praying, or to stop them from owning guns.

  In both cases the fringes of the left and the right are correct to a certain point. In some cases people are victims of others who have become successful at the expense of others, and yes government does at times seek only to control  and restrict our lives.

  However, like all fanatics these fringe groups take the grain of truth in their fears and allow it to run away with their imagination. They see monsters around every corner, and a conspiracy under every rock.

  In the beginning the TEA movement was made up of all types of people of a conservative mind. However, as the people with a more moderate ideology have removed themselves from the tag line of TEA, it has left the movement to survive with an element that is in large part fringe at best and fanatical in many respects.

  This is why I feel that the TEA movement, while still vocal, has squandered its early political capital. Unfortunately for the movement, the fringe element, as is often the case, was the loudest, and in being so, scared away not only any possible new converts, but also scared away early members who are of a more reasonable mindset.

  The question becomes for loyal Republicans, such as myself, can the GOP survive the influence of the TEA movement? In many case a negative influence.

  Here in Delaware the TEA movement had only small successes, even in 2010. We saw a handful of so-called TEA candidates win some lower offices, and also some significant primary wins state-wide, only to lose in the general election.

  Since 2010 we have seen a decline in both elected officials, and in activist who self-identify as TEA members. In 2012 we again saw challenges for some local offices in GOP primaries, most were unsuccessful, and some that were, ended up as embarrassments for several reasons. Most, simply because the candidates had nothing beyond bumper sticker rhetoric, and some because of serious personal flaws.

  The real problem, the so-called TEA movement has, is that the main stream of America no longer can identify with the things that the TEA activist portray as being their goals. Old school conservatives like myself cannot support the angry, sometimes border line hate speech that many TEA activist pass off as patriotism.

  I cannot support people who demand that their second amendment rights be upheld, and in the next breath would take away the rights of others under the first amendment by imposing school prayers. These people who tout their love of the Constitution seem to have no real understanding of the most basic aspects of it, beyond their narrow views and personal wants.

  So while the average American citizen understands that our government has out grown its original intent, they cannot abide by the idea of a violent overthrow of our government. The radical element, and the hangers-on of the TEA movement have doomed it to a slow downward spiral. The question is, will old school Republicans allow the GOP to be dragged down with it, or will we disentangle the real Grand Old Party from the so-called TEA party?

2 Comments on "TEA Time?"

  1. saltyindependent says:

    the tea party is done.

  2. Dave Jones says:

    Agreed! They need Reagan’s sunny yet firm determination.

Got something to say? Go for it!