Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Parties Share Common Goals but Speak with Many Voices

April 12, 2010
Contact: Andrew Ian Dodge (1 207 607 3299)

Last week’s announcement that 23 tea party groups from around the nation had organized into a single coalition – the National Tea Party Federation – in order to provide a unified message and media response platform was met with both encouragement and caution by other tea parties around the nation.

“We really like the idea of tea parties collaborating to bring a message of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets across the country,” said Ken Emanuelson of the Dallas Tea Party and the statewide group of Common Sense Texans. “Too often, control of messaging on issues that are important to all Americans has gone to the heavily funded media machines of the far left. We have always worked to discuss ideas with our groups around Texas and the nation in order to test our ideas and to share best practices. We do not believe, however, that any one group or person is – or should be viewed as being – the leader of a movement as diverse and far-flung as the tea party movement.”

“We congratulate our many friends in the Federation in their focus on the central tea party message,” agreed Greg Holloway of the Austin Tea Party Patriots and fellow member of the Common Sense Texans, “but we know that local and state tea parties, 9-12 groups and other grassroots conservatives each have their own voice, because they realize best what is most important in their communities. The tea party that meets in the town square with 50 local citizens brings a voice that is equally important to that of larger groups in the big cities.”

One of the key players in the nation’s largest tea party network concurs. “Ours is a loosely connected organization by design,” said Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. “One of our initiatives this Spring was a video project in which patriots from across the nation announced that each of them was the tea party leader. We were responding to attacks from James Carville and Bill Clinton, who were looking for tea party leaders to vilify. We say ‘good luck’ finding that one leader. All Americans who hold dear our Constitutionally-protected principles of limited government are tea party leaders.” Added Mark Meckler, fellow National Coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, “The day that we are recognized as the leaders of the tea party will be the day that we have not lived up to our objectives.”

Tea partiers across the nation generally do not desire to be part of organizations that consist of pedestal positions such as leader or director. There are in excess of 1700 local groups and millions of tea party and 9-12 project members across the country that sometimes formally, and often informally, share tools, resources, training and networking. Many are already part of statewide networks and many are part of the Tea Party Patriots network, but all address their local politics and issues.
“I don’t view the Federation as saying they are the one voice going forward for all tea parties,” stated Sally Oljar of the Seattle Sons & Daughters of Liberty, “although we can certainly imagine the media running with that notion because it’s convenient for their own narrative. The message of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally-limited government, and free markets hasn’t changed in the 14 months since the beginning of our movement. We remain united and focused around those core principles. We trust one another to express those principles in our own way, in our own communities, and using our own best judgment of how to communicate effectively.”

“The strength of the tea party movement is the fact that it is leaderless, non-partisan and grassroots,” added Andrew Ian Dodge of the Maine Tea Party Patriots. “We do not need leaders, but merely people to help and advise those on the ground to maximize their efforts to overturn the socialist majority in both the House and the Senate. Americans are clearly tired of top down politics at any level.”

One of the newest tea parties, the Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots, made it clear that its voice needs to be heard. Its organizer, Gary Stein, pointed out, “In the Armed Forces we wear the same uniform, have the same haircut, and swore the same oath, but have different thoughts. We have come together as a band of brothers and sisters in uniform to stand for what is right. We share a life that unique only to us, we share a Tea Party that unique to us. We are the Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots and our voice will be heard!”

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