We in the liberty movement have a choice. We can either spend our time, treasure, and energies in an attempt to rescue the "Tea Party" brand, or we can spend those limited resources combating big government, reaching out to new people, and organizing our towns and neighborhoods for social and political involvement.
It's time to abandon the "Tea Party" label, and redouble our effort to defeat the statists.
I said on twitter the other day:
It's time to ditch the #TeaParty label. Disband your local Tea Party group and reform as "Community Action Forum" or something.
— Loren Heal (@lheal) January 27, 2013
Some misunderstood me to be proposing a new name, but that's not it at all. Note the "or something" part. We need to be a swarm of groups, each taking care of our own town or city, in cooperation with those nearby.
Nor do I oppose those who want to push through the negative and rally around the brand. That has value, especially for those who want to keep the threat of forming a distinct political party alive. It's just not the way I think we should go.
Public support of the Tea Party brand has fallen sharply. Rasmussen polling finds that "only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. " Yet 62% favor smaller government.
That means it's the label that is the problem, not the ideas behind it. We are not loyal to a label, but to a movement, and not to a movement, but to the ideas it represents.
The Tea Party label has become a burden. It's an unnecessary one. Like the British Redcoats, using the Tea Party brand alerts our opponents to our presence. Instead, we need to disappear into the trees, organizing the people while the enemy thinks we're gone.
Here at Redstate, LaborUnionReport wrote that we can unite or perish:
However, when the 2006 mid-terms rolled around the union bosses and their troops united and took over Congress. The union bosses knew they must work together to defeat the GOP. They pooled their resources and their assets in the states to work–telling them to work together. And they did.
Meanwhile, on the right, at least two of the “leaders” will not even speak to one another.
On the ground, petty bickering over e-mail (donor) lists and past grievances is the cause for division and hatred. It’s pathetic.
As a result, the grassroots of the Right are floundering, demoralized, under attack, leaderless and clamoring for what should be done.
Now, more than ever, Americans who value the Constitution and the Founders’ vision must set aside their differences and unite upon common ground or we all can continue to watch American freedom perish.
It is time to regroup, re-engage, and organize and, most importantly: Unite or perish.
I urge you to read and study the PowerPoint presentation that goes along with that post.
When the ACORN scandal broke, the group first defended itself, but then went in a different direction: it disappeared, with its supporters even allowing Congress to defund it. ACORN no longer exists.
Instead there are a hundred other groups doing the same things with same people at the same addresses and the same funding. Only the signs above the doors have changed.
The tea parties of 2009 were a great time in the history of the republic. Ordinary people rose up and demanded that their government live within its means.
But even the leaders of those groups owe nothing to the Tea Party, for there has never been such a thing. It has always been a movement, an amorphous collection of like-minded, interlocking groups with common goals and concerns.
And should the "Tea Party" label be dropped, the movement would continue to be an amorphous collection of like-minded, interlocking groups with common goals and concerns.
Instead, reform your group under a different name and start issuing press releases. But more importantly, do the real work:
- Enter your local political party as a Precinct Committeeman or woman
- Contact your like-minded friends, family, church members, softball team and recruit a team of activists
- Involve your members in local events to spread the word to surrounding precincts
- Knock on doors and use personal contact to turn out the vote in your precinct
- Move up the ranks in your political party, having more and more influence on the candidates it chooses
Some have said the tactic of dropping the Tea Party label is allowing the left to define us and set the terms of the debate. Just the opposite is true. They are already defining us. Instead, we can define ourselves. We can do that by accepting that the Tea Party brand has outlived its purpose and adapt our tactics accordingly.
Follow @lheal on Twitter.