The Tea Party movement has become one of the most influential grassroots movements that this nation has ever seen. We have educated others about the anti-American direction that the government is heading, organized against the most powerful leaders of both parties and halted their advancements at the polls. We have fought against unconstitutional nonsense coming out of our town halls, state capitols and Washington D.C. We’ve enjoyed a lot of success and suffered our share of defeats. Win or lose, the Tea Party has become bigger, stronger and wiser.

Regardless of the growth and advancement of the movement, we face two major challenges, both of which have the potential to destroy the entire movement.

The first is a lack of leadership and a common direction. If a group doesn’t have these, they’re doomed to slowly wither away and lose all momentum and certainly all influence that they’ve earned. Who would make suitable leaders? What direction is the right direction for the Tea Party? With the wide array of individuals and ideals within the movement, this is nearly possible for any one person to define. Certainly smaller government, vast reduction in government spending and the protection of Constitutional liberties are among the most important values for all Tea Party members.

The second challenge is a divisive leadership. Given the vast spectrum of beliefs within the group, if leadership isn’t chosen very carefully, it will be very easy to choose leaders who, while inspiring some, may deter others and reduce involvement. This is something that must be handled soon and with caution. If we wait until we absolutely need leaders to find them, finding those who won’t be divisive will be as daunting of a task as convincing Chris Matthews to join us.

When searching for strong leadership, they need to keep in mind that no part of this movement belongs to them, to Sarah Palin, to Glenn Beck, to Michelle Bachman, to Ron Paul or to whomever you want to name although they are all important people. This movement… THIS CONSERVATIVE AWAKENING belongs to us and it will never fade away as long as we maintain our resolve!

While a powerful force, the Tea Party must keep in mind that there were many who have been fighting the good fight for much longer. Groups like the Club for Growth and (in my home state) Taking Back Kentucky have been going toe to toe with the progressive left for years. Without a united front, the Conservative Awakening will not be able to successfully attack the movements that are leading us away from the ideals of our founding fathers.

As we build for the moment and for the future, we have to keep thoughtful strategy in mind.

Although we don’t really care about what Keith Olberman or Katie Couric says about us, we have to keep in mind that we are in a war. Attacks against the conservative movement aren’t attacks against us but attacks against America’s founding principles.

How many generals would put soldiers in a position that would make it easy for the enemy to attack? None! As a member of a strong grassroots group, it is your responsibility to keep this in mind. Always ask yourself, “if I do this, will it promote the group in general and make us a more relevant to our would-be members or will it give the left something to attack without making a very strong positive impact?”

Every group is going to have their wackos. It is of the utmost importance that we handle ours appropriately. If someone is just a mild inconvenience they may need nothing more than a word of redirection. However, the small percentage of people who have more extreme and unethical views must be dealt with harshly, if necessary, ostracized from any group events or involvement, so that the value of the movement is not discredited.

The Conservative Awakening must focus on a plan of action. As conservatives, we a predisposed to being a group of “no”. As the left marches on, it is far too easy for us, as a group, to say “no, we don’t need your idea. We already have a guideline” while pointing to our copy of the U.S. Constitution. To be truly effective, we must come up with strong plans for progress that fall in line with the Constitution to offer a clear alternative.

The best ideas will come when we are all actively involved to whatever extent we have within us, so… get involved.

How many tea party speakers have told you this very thing? We hear it all the time. Most of the time, unfortunately, that is all that’s said. How will you get involved? Where do you fit? What function were you created to do?

The answer to the question is very simple, but it’s an answer that only you know. I can’t tell you, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and the person next to you cannot answer that question for you, but I’m willing to bet that you already know the answer.

Are you the person with the experience, charisma, know-how and savvy that your city, district, state or country needs to run for public office? For some of you, the answer is yes.

Are you the person that a local or state candidate needs to do volunteer work on a large or small level? For some of you, the answer is yes.

Are you the person who has been blessed with success and finances and have the ability to write a big check to a candidate or organization? For some of you, the answer is yes.

Are you the person who has become a stay at home mom with a bunch of kids to take care of and very little time for anything else and can “only” focus on training your kids to carry on your passion. Again, for some of you, the answer is yes.

Are you the person who has a gift, ability, talent or fortune that can be used to further our patriotic cause? For all of you, the answer is, ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

The Tea Party is only the beginning, and what a glorious beginning it has been. But we have both a personal and a collective, responsibility to take our passion, vision and momentum to the next level.

Please visit me at http://www.examiner.com/x-22361-Boone-County-Fiscal-Responsibility-Examiner