I fully echo Eric’s thoughts about the tea party activists (I prefer the term Liberty Movement) moving beyond protest to political activism. That is why (shameless plug) the Commonwealth Foundation is helping to promote the American Majority Post-Party Summit in Pittsburgh and is the motivation behind our “Ten Minute Citizen” project, to help encourage concerned citizens to become activist, and giving them some tools to do.
There is however, one aspect I think Eric fails to note, which does a disservice to the movement – there are a large number of local groups already taking these steps. These organizations are holding forums to discuss issues (indeed many groups have committees studying legislation and policy areas). They are working to train members to be citizen-activists. They are vetting candidates for office – many are holding candidate forums, some groups may make endorsements, others will stick to educating their members about the positions of candidates. And these groups are looking to get involved in the election process, even recruiting new people to run for party committee positions.
Here in Pennsylvania, there are a number of groups deeply engaged in activism. Some of the more prominent groups I have had the pleasure of meeting with include PA Coalition for Responsible Government, Unite PA, Delaware County Patriots, Coalition for Advancing Freedom, Original Project 9-12/Tea Party of the Lehigh Valley, as well as a number of 9-12 groups and Campaign for Liberty chapters.
And while Eric, Ned Ryun, and others are correct when they point out that protest is not enough, protest still serves an important function – recruitment. At a rally in York, PA this past weekend, one speaker asked the nearly 1,000 attendees who was at a political rally for the first time – nearly two-thirds raised their hands.
This is emblematic of the entire movement – it is growing, and many citizens are still looking for ways to get involved. The organizations mentioned, and countless other across the nation, that are already embracing “Tea Party 2.0” provide such opportunity, and deserve recognition for what they are doing.