The Tea Party Message: Don’t Mess With the Momma Bears!
(Crossposted at your flippant and irreverent source for Ohio politics and humor, Athens Runaway)
One of the biggest liberal arguments against the Tea Party is the charge that it’s mainly comprised of angry white men. This meme stretched up and down the liberal side of the media, from small-town liberal kooks with soapboxes to mainstream media bigshots, who all parroted the same talking point: “there’s an awful lots of honkies in them Tea Parties.”
Hell, this meme was so rooted in the liberal mindset, that it was repeated at the university levels, where race-hustling wanna-be Black Pantherettes accused Tea Partiers of being motivated by racism.
In what could be one of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s most lucid moments, he refuted this Democratic Party talking point, saying that it was not the White House’s belief that “the criticism comes based on the color of [the President's] skin” and that the White House “[understands] that people have disagreements with some of the decisions that we’ve made.” However, people like Jimmy Carter and the aforementioned Post columnist Upton, didn’t get the memo, and don’t just play the race card, they play the race deck.
For those playing at home—the Tea Party: not racist, not Republicans, and not all men. The “angry” part is more-or-less accurate, though.
However, Hanna Rosin, writer for that bastion of right-wing astroturfing (cough, cough), Slate.com, asks if the Tea Party has become something of a feminist movement—a question which your valiant Truth Inspector would not have thought to ask, but has decided that is a question that deserves further investigation.
As with any good logical examination, we must first define the terms before we can determine whether the terms apply. Feminism, without and before all of the enforcement of thought conformity that occurs within the movement, can be defined as “the belief that women are inherently equal to men and deserve equal rights and opportunities.” In other words, women are just as capable of being political leaders as men, and deserve an equal seat at the political table.
According to Rosin’s article, this mentality is definitely held by the Tea Party movement. Rosin writes:
If the Tea Party has any legitimate national leadership, it is dominated by women. Of the eight board members of the Tea Party Patriots who serve as national coordinators for the movement, six are women. Fifteen of the 25 state coordinators are women. One of the three main sponsors of the Tax Day Tea Party that launched the movement is a group called Smart Girl Politics.
The site started out as a mommy blog and has turned into a mobilizing campaign that trains future activists and candidates. Despite its explosive growth over the last year, it is still operated like a feminist cooperative, with three stay-at-home moms taking turns raising babies and answering e-mails and phone calls. Spokeswoman Rebecca Wales describes it as a group made up of “a lot of mama bears worried about their families.” The Tea Party, she says, is a natural home for women because “for a long time people have seen the parties as good-ole’-boy, male-run institutions. In the Tea Party, women have finally found their voice.”
As I repeatedly tell people who question me about my thoughts about the future of the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, “the more people who get involved in politics, the better.” However, this pro-women aspect to the Tea Party is interesting, because as November 2010 approaches, it becomes more apparent that the female conservative Republican is not some mythical creature.
Due to the Tea Party’s catalyzation of the Republican and conservative movements, vibrant, vocal Republican “momma bears”—such as Georgia Congressional candidate Liz Carter (of “Yank Hank” fame/infamy), Stella Lohman (Georgia’s “Freedom Czar”), entrepreneuress and World Wrestling Entertainment co-executive Linda McMahon, conservative lesbian and former National Organization of Women regional director Tammy Bruce, mistress of the conservative blogoblag Michelle Malkin, or any of the the many women involved in countless Republican campaigns across the nation—are getting involved, and are demanding a place at the table that was traditionally reserved for men.
And you know what I say? Bully for them! As Rosin writes, “the conservative woman in public office or otherwise working too hard is an accepted breed. [...] She works; she has small children; she defends the traditional family [...] after 20 years, conservatives have made peace with her type, and embraced it.”
The increased feminism of the Tea Party only serves to drive its main focus home, no pun intended. “Get involved, get loud, get upset at the insanity of Washington.” The Obama Administration’s ineptitude with issues that hit home, such as fiscal responsibility, national security, and economic promotion, only serves to make family life harder and more worrisome for women, so it’s only natural that women would want to get involved.
The cure for the ills of democracy, as H.L. Mencken said, is more democracy. More people getting involved in the process, more people running for office, and more people writing and reading blogs.
The fact that the Tea Party movement has resulted in an increase in voter participation and enthusiasm, as well as an increase in minority participation in Republican politics… well, that’s just icing on the cake.