I first have to tell you that I attended my first Tea Party on April 15, 2009 in Denton, Texas. I blogged about it here. At that time, it wasn't really a movement, it was more of a theme that could be brought to bear anywhere that anyone wished it to be. I then attended a July 4th Tea Party at Southfork Ranch, just outside Dallas. I blogged about that here, here and here.
So what have I done after those events? I've gotten involved in blogging and blogging groups to support the basic goals of the Tea Party and I've thrown my support behind Sarah Palin. From a Tea Party standpoint, I haven't had much further involvement due to the fact that I live in a very Red county in a very Red state. I don't have the means or motivation to travel outside my local environment, so I have to do what I can from here.
So, you might ask, what does that have to do with the Tea Party? Actually, it has a lot to do with it. I have never thought of the Tea Party as a political party, I've only thought of it as a gathering of like-minded individuals. Somewhere along the way, groups of people have decided that the Tea Party theme needed to be organized into a political power. With the advent of the first Tea Party convention in Nashville, we now have been advised of multiple Tea Party conventions going on elsewhere around the country. These events are being organized by different groups, all vying for Tea Party supremacy, aka, political power.
I believe that we're starting to see the results of the Tea Party movement becoming a political organization. Recent polling suggests that the Tea Party is starting to lose favor with the general public, but the Tea Party was never about gaining public acceptance as much as it was about providing an outlet for dissatisfied citizens to vent their concerns about government largess. The fact that local organizations have been able to leverage the Tea Party moniker to influence politics in their regions only helps the conservative cause. It has also inspired countless political newcomers to take the plunge and get off the sidelines. That is a good thing.
What doesn't help is when right-leaning political pundits impugn the Tea Party movement as just another political stunt that can't possibly have an impact on our changing government. I was dismayed by a recent article at the American Thinker blog that basically said the Tea Party is too late to effect any change in the direction of our country. I beg to differ as does, apparently, the Associated Press. (Go figure!)
Is it better to do nothing and throw up our hands in surrender or should we keep fighting the fight? If the Tea Party movement inspires civic-minded individuals to go the Washington to help turn back the tide, isn't that a good thing? Maybe, just maybe, we've reached the tipping point where we now have the start of some real conservative activism that could put an end to the socialist experiment once and for all.
Even if the Tea Party as political movement has taken a hit, its underlying theme has not.