The Tea Party Phenomenon

The Tea Party I attended had folks from every walk of life but it
seemed that they had a lot more in common than they expected. They all
had experienced frustration in trying to communicate about their
concerns and they hadn't expected to find so many people who were in
the same situation.

Most people found out about the Rocky Mount
event on the Internet, others through emails. I was not planning to
attend because I am not much of a joiner, but I felt that there was
something here that I needed to know about and experience directly.

I
found a lot of people very much like myself. They seemed to be
self-motivated, concerned about their families, and willing to work
hard to achieve a better life. Many were self-employed although a large
number were old enough to be on Social Security.

This was not a
networking event with people looking for contacts and swapping business
cards. The people were cautiously friendly as most had never been to
this kind of protest event before.

There was no shouting and reckless
behavior, more of a continuing surprise as we all discovered that we
were a community of like-minded souls who wanted positive change that
we could believe in, not empty promises and double-talk.

Tea Parties are self-structuring social organizations of indeterminate lifespan and relatively incoherent purposes. I believe that this is about to change and the Tea Parties will evolve into a serious effort to wrest back control of government from those in both parties who are abusing public trust. They have already morphed from generalized protest meetings toward more specifically targeted activities.

They have already stepped up their self-organizing to deal with attempts by Progressives to disrupt things. The attacks by left-leaning media have helped shape and toughen up the Tea Party efforts. Read any of the Tea Party websites and you will see warnings about signing petitions and how to deal with disruptive activities and biased reporters.

When people attend one of these Tea Parties and then see what the media has reported about the event, the media spin becomes evident and people are turning to the Internet for news they can use.

I think we will see various individuals and groups attempt to
get out in front of the Tea Parties and claim that they are leading
them. I do not think that will fly. Anyone who hopes to contribute to
the Tea Party movement is going to have to participate in events and
really learn what people are upset about and what can be done to
improve conditions.

Tea Party leadership will grow out of
successful actions by charismatic figures who can lead. I do not see
this movement giving much credence to high level political figures who
hope to hop on the Tea Party train as it picks up speed.

The
birth of the Tea Party movement may have been triggered by CNBC's Rick
Santelli calling for a "Chicago Tea Party" back in February, but the
movement's continued existence is due to the recognition by many people
that serious mistakes are being made by elected officials who are not
being responsive to the voters who elected them.

People who
thought they were the only ones noticing the insane behavior of elected
officials suddenly found out that they were not alone. They gathered
with hundreds of other citizens in their own area and found reassurance
that others recognized corrupt and incomprehensible actions in the
Federal Government.

They shared experiences and found that many
others agreeing that our leftward lurch toward Socialism is not good
for children or businesses or our future existence.

When you
think that you are the only one refusing to drink the poisoned
Kool-Aid, life becomes pretty hopeless. When you find out that others
have avoided the Kool-Aid too, you find that there is a real hope that
things just might get better.

I think we are just in the beginning of a change in political activity at the grassroots level. As people get used to using emails and Twitter to communicate about Tea Parties, the pace will pick up and the Tea Party movement will really begin to have an impact on our elected officials.

The first step was to recognize that we are a group with some common interests. The next step will be to align our interests in a way that maximizes our chances of impinging on society and our elected officials.

There will be a lot more steps following these and resistance from elected officials and opposition groups will only solidify the resolve of the Tea Party patriots. Efforts to dismiss or radicalize Tea Party protests will backfire and may cost incumbents seats in the next election. I do not feel that the Tea Party movement will go away. It has already gone viral.

The term "smart mob" is a good description of the Tea Party phenomenon.

According to Wikipedia: A smart mob is a form of self-structuring social organization through technology-mediated, intelligent emergent behavior. The concept was introduced by Howard Rheingold in his book Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. According to Rheingold, smart mobs are an indication of the evolving communication technologies that will empower the people.
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0 Responses to The Tea Party Phenomenon

  1. Dragon Quilter says:

    I sure hope they don’t go away. I have always felt we had it in our own power to change things and am just happy to see others finally feeling the same and willing to do something about it. More!!!

  2. Your description pretty much tracks that of mainstream media: Tea Party participants are each disgruntled about something (lurching toward socialism, globalization, bank bailouts, losing a job) without the group being “for” anything. It’s quite easy for political parties to rope in disgruntled individuals.

    But if the Tea Party movement is, as you predict, a movement that will thrive on disgruntlement and grow and develop “charismatic leaders,” then I can only be reminded of Huey Long and Father Coughlin — and, frankly, I will take Socialism over Fascism any day of the week.

    The white nationalists over at Stormfront are already working to make sure Tea Parties are a success. http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=586820

    So be careful what you hope for.

    David Says:

    Thanks for the provocative comments.

    Mainstream Media is busy ignoring Tea Parties because they do not fit the MSM narrative. When they attend one, the results are pitiful (embarrassing Susan Roesgen video)

    The Tea Party attendees are for less government and they frequently quote Thomas Jefferson on the subject.

    Our current Presidential phenomenon rose to power fanning the disgruntlement of non producers who wanted more “entitlements”. He is about as charismatic as you can get these days. No records of accomplishment, no experience, but charismatic as hell!

    Reminds me of a certain corporal in Bavaria some years ago who came out of nowhere and went on to make his mark in the world. He was a Socialist and created one of the most fascist regimes in history. If you really prefer Socialism, I would be very interested in how you will avoid fascism.

    The StormFronters are just one of many groups who see the potential energy in the Tea Party movement and want to tap into it for their own use. They will have as little success as the incumbent Republicans are experiencing.

    The Tea Parties may die from lack of interest, but the odds are that they will persist as long as people are being slandered for attending them.

    Nothing irritates a good citizen as much as being targeted as a threat to national security for protesting Administration bungling. It confirms their viewpoint that something is very wrong with our government.

  3. GBGames says:

    ***
    Our current Presidential phenomenon rose to power fanning the disgruntlement of non producers who wanted more “entitlements”.

    No records of accomplishment, no experience,
    ***

    We know you aren’t happy about Obama being President, but it isn’t surprising how he got there. He didn’t fan “disgruntlement of non-producers”, even though that seems to be the story conservatives like to tell now. He had the support of an overwhelming number of people. You’re telling me that Americans generally don’t produce and just want entitlements? Really? If the tables were turned, saying something like that would have resulted in outrage that someone would dare to insult American citizens.

    And he has a record. It may not impress conservatives (who turn around and get impressed by Palin’s extensive credentials), but it’s not like he just showed up as a Senator, snoozed through his job, and suddenly found himself in a position to be President. If you were to genuinely search, you would find articles about how researchers were surprised to see Obama’s name show up on various pieces of legislation.

    David says: (It is a well-known practice to put names of favored candidates on legislation to build a resume. As far as I know, he never spoke or worked on any of these pieces of legislation.)

    ***
    Nothing irritates a good citizen as much as being targeted as a threat to national security for protesting Administration bungling. It confirms their viewpoint that something is very wrong with our government.
    ***

    That’s funny, because people who did that with the previous administration were called unpatriotic. “You’re either with us or against us” was the rallying cry, and anyone who disagreed on policy was accused of hating America as well.

    And no one is seeing these tea party protests as a threat to national security. Bush’s administration tasks an government organization with identifying domestic threats, and because EXTREME right wing groups are identified as a whole, suddenly all conservatives act like martyrs fighting against Obama’s fascism. Please.

    David says: (You have obviously not heard of the recent DHS report.)

    I don’t understand how I’m expected to believe that tea party participants can be so non-partisan and yet seem to be so held up by conservative media (and funded by conservative organizations). The Left media isn’t attacking it because they are afraid. It’s because it is incoherent and comes across as a temper tantrum for people who are upset that Obama won.

    David says: (Do your homework. This was already covered in the post.)

  4. It’s said that as soon as someone drags Hitler into an discussion, it’s better just to walk away. It can’t get worse, and it won’t get better.

    But I will give a whirl.

    When you ask most Americans if they want “less” government, they say yes, as a whole.

    But ask them if they want better roads and railroads, some say yes. Ask them if they want guaranteed health care for their kids, some say yes. Ask them if they want better VA hospitals for their sons and daughters, some say yes. Ask them if they want trade protection to support local industry, some say yes. Ask them if they are ok with loan guarantees for the local bank, some say yes.

    You end up with a whole lot of “yes” for more government when you ask individuals.

    For example, I doubt you are writing Op-Ed letters decrying public investment in Virginia tourism. And when you start writing Op-Eds calling for the end of Medicare, please let me know.

    The Tea Partyists can come together for a day and make speeches for less government, but, back home, most have an exception. And those exceptions are what shift levers in the voting box. Every presidential candidate since 1900 has know that.

    So…again. The Tea Partyists are “against” something(s) but they have no one thing they are for (not really).

    If Tea Partyists were honest, as a group (I am sure the individuals are as honest as the next person), they would be calling for an end to farm subsidies, oil/gas subsidies, trade protectionism — just for starters. Their household expenses would skyrocket and some would lose their jobs, but there would be integrity in their “rugged individualism.”

  5. GBGames says:

    ***
    And no one is seeing these tea party protests as a threat to national security. Bush’s administration tasks an government organization with identifying domestic threats, and because EXTREME right wing groups are identified as a whole, suddenly all conservatives act like martyrs fighting against Obama’s fascism. Please.

    David says: (You have obviously not heard of the recent DHS report.)
    ***

    David, that’s what I just referenced. The DHS report was commissioned by the Bush administration and identified extreme right-leaning groups as potential domestic enemies. That’s “extreme”, and not just anyone who is identified as right-leaning. The way right-leaning media pundits make it sound, it’s like Obama’s administration is claiming that anyone who opposes liberal policies is an enemy of the state, and it sounds like you fell for it, too.

    ***
    David says: (Do your homework. This was already covered in the post.)
    ****

    I am doing my homework. I’m pointing out how what I find doesn’t jive with what I read here.

  6. thomas mccroskey says:

    If anyone has any information on any tea parties in the south west virginia area, please contact me. I have some people in the wytheville,hillsville, galax areas that would attend one in this area.

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