Tea Party diversity far beyond labels
For over a year now, I have participated in and observed the machinations of local Tea Party organizations. I would like to caution those that want to label the organization in general as religious, racist or otherwise, and I include this warning to those within the movement. (My comments are in respect to the movement nationwide, not individual organizations).
Those that try to pigeon-hole the various Tea Party groups will find (if they care to look) that while there are right-wing, born-again, gun-toting, “birthers” involved, there are also atheists that believe in abortion and the rights of gays. I won’t even speak to the subject of race, because only those outside the Tea Party movement consider that an issue; those within welcome all colors.
The Democrats, Republicans and Independents I have met all have something in common that supersedes their social and religious beliefs: they are overwhelmingly frightened to death for the financial future of their families, their communities and their country.
These individuals understand that the right to practice their beliefs is being infringed upon daily. They understand that capitalism is part of the framework of our country’s productive success. They recognize they are footing the bill for uncontrolled spending with their federal taxes. And they are putting these other personal beliefs to the side in order to work together towards getting our country back on a track of fiscal constraint and individual responsibility.
While personal prejudices, poor management skills, conflicts of interest and miscommunication will haunt all of the Tea Parties to some degree, the momentum and commitment of the people who have volunteered to try to restore respect for our history and hope for our future cannot be dismissed.
The grueling hours, the personal financial costs and criticism from all sides is something most volunteers encounter, and for enduring that they deserve our thanks and our help whenever possible.
However, it is up to them to understand that their participation in this incredible journey should be inclusive and perhaps temporary. This movement is like a wave on the beach – powerful, yet constantly changing and picking up new folks as others wash out.
It seems to me that everyone that is concerned about the skyrocketing deficit, the unemployment rate, and the ongoing bailouts would belong in the Tea Party movement.
I hope that whether you join a Tea Party or not, you take the time to educate yourself and those around you on what you can do to help make our government responsible to its citizens through fiscal constraint, free markets and smaller government. Our children’s future depends on it.
Peachtree City, Ga.