Recently, the question “What is the Tea Party” showed up in hot Google searches. For some, the arrival of the “Tea Party” has come as a surprise. Others have been aware of the Tea Party since early 2009, when the movement’s roots initially began. It is likely that the question “What is the Tea Party” became a hot search item after Republican senator Michael Castle, who has been in office since 1993, lost in the primary to Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell.
I have been a supporter of the Tea Party since the spring of 2009, during the early days of the movement. The popularity of the Tea Party marks a shift in the power of the American people. Instead of letting the elites rule, more people want to take matters into their own hands.
Who is Behind the Tea Party?
The Tea Party had its initial beginnings in January after the government started passing bailouts; stock trader Graham Makohoniuk suggested mailing tea bags to members of Congress who voted for them. In February, CNBC’s Rick Santelli suggested holding a tea party at the Chicago River to dump derivatives. A month later, on March 12, Glenn Beck suggested that people gather together to focus on nine principles and 12 values. The principles and values he wanted to promote included charity, hope, thrift, and hard work. Shortly after that, local groups started organizing Tax Day Tea Parties for that April 15 to protest big government and wasteful spending. I attended the 2009 Tax Day Tea Party that was held in Gilbert, Ariz.. Several local politicians came to speak, as well as volunteers and concerned citizens.
The Tea Party is not an official party like the Republicans, Democrats, or Green Party. The Tea Party candidates who have chosen to run for office, like Christine O’Donnell, have chosen to run primarily against Republican candidates. No one official organization speaks for the Tea Party, although there are several groups that seem to capture the spirit of the Tea Party movement, including the Tea Party Patriots, Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express, and Tea Party Nation.
What the Tea Party is to Me
I think that the Tea Party movement is a backlash against high taxes, big government, and the loss of freedom in this country. We don’t want the government to give corporations billions of dollars in bailouts; if they can’t succeed in the free market, let them fail. We want the freedom to make our own decisions while, at the same time, we accept that we have to pay the consequences for our actions. If we want to pig out on French fries or ride motorcycles without helmets, that should be our right, but we don’t expect anybody to bail us out if we end up with higher health insurance bills or die in an accident as a result.
Although we want smaller government, we don’t want anarchy. We are tired of elections where there is no difference between the policies of the Republican and Democratic candidates. The rise of the Tea Party, I believe, means that more people want to take responsibility for their own governance, rather than leaving it to the elites.
Cillizza, Chris. “Christine O’Donnell Upsets Mike Castle in Delaware Senate Primary” Washington Post.com, 15 September 2010.
Glenn Beck Radio Program. 15 September 2010.
Michael Castle. Wikipedia.
Tea Party Movement. Wikipedia.