Tea party demonstrations have served their purpose:
Now it?s time to organize and win some elections
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
(Reprinted from the April 7, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/news.php?id=8206)
Some people who call themselves leaders of the tea party movement are planning another tea party demonstration in Trenton next week on Tax Day, April 15. Others are organizing bus trips for a big tea party demonstration in Washington.
Last year, these tea party demonstrations were very effective. They grabbed the attention of national TV news cameras. They showed the anger of millions of Americans toward politicians who ignored the core principles of our American Constitution and Declaration of Independence and who brought our country to the brink of ruin.
Even popular long-term incumbents, like our own Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo, knew they were no longer safe if they voted for Wall Street bailouts or Obama’s health care proposal ? or continued to vote for bans on offshore oil drilling and cap and trade legislation that would jack up our gas and electric bills.
Last year’s tea parties brought many libertarian, traditional, economic and social conservatives and previously nonpolitical independent citizens from around New Jersey and around the country in contact with each other for the first time.
Last year’s tea party demonstrations forced Republicans in Congress to act like a cohesive party with principles and a purpose for the first time since they made their Contract with America in 1994 ? and then broke it.
Finally, last year’s tea party demonstrations forced liberals in Congress to prove how corrupt they were, and the ABC, NBC, CBS and Associated Press news organizations to prove how biased and dishonest they were.
Yes, they finally got their takeover of health care, but we made them pay a heavy price for it.
These same types of things were achieved by the first American tea party of December 16, 1774, when 5,000 people in Boston loudly protested against a new British tax and then very carefully destroyed roughly $3 million worth of taxable tea ? without causing any death, injury or the theft or destruction of any other property.
That first American tea party in 1774, like last year?s tea parties, shocked the nation and the world. They proved how much Americans cared about their unique system of little government and low taxes ? and how Americans would fight to keep it by any means necessary.
It also brought patriots from all walks of life and all parts of the country together through Committees of Correspondence. And it forced the British to take brutal and oppressive measures that made them even more unpopular.
But after one year, Americans stopped holding tea party demonstrations. Instead, they did the serious and disciplined work needed to rid themselves of the British and take back control of their government.
American patriots ran for public office and won elections to run their colonial legislatures. They elected judges who set low bail that allowed the quick release of patriots arrested for destroying tea. They elected sheriffs who never found or arrested patriot fugitives, but who always picked “reliable” patriots who acquitted tea party offenders.
And, of course, American tea party patriots volunteered to join militias and were elected as officers. American patriots made voluntary donations and voted for high taxes to properly train and equip the militias.
By April 1775, when the British army tried to destroy the Massachusetts militias and arrest patriot leaders, they faced a military force at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill that was better trained and equipped than they were.
Many American militias were so capable that they could and did quickly light fuses and fire cannons at German mercenaries in Trenton, in the middle of a driving rainstorm ?something few professional soldiers in Europe could do.
The tea party patriots of 1774 and 1775 had to learn the skills of warfare because they were not allowed to vote in British elections and had no other way to obtain political power.
Tea Party patriots today have a much easier job. They only have to master some basic political skills, and then win some elections and hold public office.
That means reaching out to other people and forming effective organizations. It means choosing and uniting behind capable leaders, raising funds, agreeing on workable programs that have the support of most Americans, and agreeing on and delivering a clear message. It also means working within and taking over one or both political parties in June primary elections (The deadline for filing petitions is April 12).
Is this happening? Or are too many tea party patriots today too busy planning more tea parties?
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears live on WVLT-92.1FM heard throughout South Jersey 8-9 a.m. every Saturday. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Athena Diner, 1515 New Road, Northfield.