Dear Readers: A few of you may know that I have been converting to Catholicism this year for many reasons, including my involvement with our local Tea Party group. One of my goals in this decision was to stay grounded — while it is nice to get attention for liberty-enhancing reasons, the trick is to ensure that the ego stays in check while you stay on message. A second aim of this conversion is almost the exact opposite — our opposition seems content to hurl all kinds of insults and will even stoop to physical assault to stop us from getting our message out. Therefore, I could use extra helpings of grace, strength, and courage now-a-days.
Yesterday, Ascension Catholic Parish’s Father Anthony gave a homily that really hit home, as it relates to the current media-brewed “tempest” that surrounds the up-coming Tea Party Nation convention in Tennessee. As a co-founder of the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition, I would like to translate the 4 key points in Father Anthony’s homily into items meaningful to citizens action organizations everywhere.
* Make sure the message is based on the U.S. Constitution/Declaration of Independence/Founding Principles…and not something based on YOU.
The Tea Party Patriots and many local groups are receiving an overwhelming number of calls and emails asking about the tea party convention in Nashville. Tea Party Patriots is not participating in the tea party convention for many reasons, including the steep ticket prices.
I think that the Tea Party Nation Convention may have started out with a good idea — essentially trying to gather a wide variety of patriots together to determine how the whole movement can me made more effective. If they have made mistakes in the process, it is because they are flawed humans — and many citizens organizations have had growing pains as they have learned from rallies, townhalls, and interacting in a wide array of media venues.
If it can be proven the organizers have done something illegally, then they should be condemned. However, accusing them of “profiteering” seems like a needless opprobrium — and one started by an opposition content to create rifts between all the various Tea Party groups.
Note my header — the “Shrine of Flaming Capitalism”. I do not begrudge a Tea Party group their profits — as that means they are well run, have innovative ideas, and are highly engaged. Tammy Bruce pointed this out during a recent show: Profits mean money; money means power. Our citizen groups MUST have money as well as man-power.
The only thing asked by citizens is full disclosure! Where is the money going? What is the money supporting? Some groups focus on candidates, others on issues. Some citizen groups feature forums, others are more directed to causes and actions. All Tea Party participants should make sure they do their homework to ensure that the group they are involved with is the best match for the message they want to help send to local, state, and national entities.
(Note: The Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition is mainly an action-oriented organization that uses donations and contributions as seed money for the next rally or petition drive. Dawn Wildman and Sarah Bond provide a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to spread the word on many important state and national issues that impact Americans and our quality of life. All of this is without financial compensation; their sole reward comes when we win our battles, like the May 19th special election or stopping national Cap&Trade. Tea Party Patriots is a the national group for which Dawn is the California Coordinator, and has essentially the same structure and goals).
* Make sure the message is based on integrity.
As I have said before, organizing conservatives is like herding cats. Dawn, Sarah and I spend a lot of time reviewing current events, reading legislation, and keeping abreast of important matters. However, we can’t do it without a help from patriots across the state and around the country. Without their aid, we could miss key points or essential timelines. To that end, I would like to take the time to thank the peeps I have had the pleasure of working closely with this year — and direct my fellow Californians to check them out:
* Tea Party California: A key resource for many of us “left coasters”!
* North County Conservatives: It has been our pleasure to partner with Lynn Miller often to promote local, state and national causes.
*Inland Empire Tea Party (spearheaded by the dynamic Laura Boatright, who is an unending source of inspiration).
* Central Valley Tea Party: These patriots are on the front-lines of California’s battle against eco-statism, as they try to get water to the farms in that region. Please help if you can.
* Bakersfield Tea Party: Julie Demos and her team have been key supporters in state-wide issues and have contributed much to our success.
* Ramona Tea Party: We are looking forward to working with them this year!
* Stop Taxing Us: They have provided valuable, additional support, especially when it comes to the national healthcare reform issues.
* San Diego Tea Party Meet-Up Group– Jeff Wangsgaard and his crew totally emphasize the U.S. Constitution, and I have learned much from them.
* Make sure the message is steeped in love.
I must admit, it is a real challenge to respond the the enormous amount of vitriol spewed at us from the opposition with love. At this point, the best I can aim for is humor! 🙂
I think this can be a key reason for Tea Party success — let me now show you why. Many of you may recall I am a Democrat. I also know many other Democrats who are in Tea Parties or are now acting with a new spirit of independence.
Below is what passes for savvy outreach from the California Democratic Party, and it is clearly a case of “What Not To Do”:
Not in California Pledge
The Republicans, along with their allies in the teabagger movement and Fox News have elected right-winger Scott Brown to the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy.
We won’t let the same thing happen here. Not in California. Not this year. Not to our candidates.
Sign below to take the pledge and add your comments to send a message to the teabaggers and their candidates: “Not in California.”
Firstly, the use of the derogatory term “teabagger” only inspires us “teabaggers” to do more “teabagging”. Secondly, I am in daily contact with many Democrats who are not active in citizens action organizations — however, they are not threatened by them, either. Insults to other Americans are NOT likely to inspire donations from the average Democrat, either — especially not to shore-up the war chest of a loser Senator who has insulted American military men AND supports tax-increasing/liberty-inhibiting legislation like Cap&Trade.
I would have posted a link to my increasingly popular piece (as more Democrats are in search of Tea Parties) on the California Democratic Party Website, (click the link to the CDP WHICH IS HERE. ) However, as that website is nothing but a contact-information gathering spot, I declined. I filled one of those out early in my Tea Party career, and am now besieged with calls from the Republicans asking for money. However, if you want, you may share this with them: On being a Democrat at a Tea Party!
I would also like to point out that the Democratic Party is not really serving many minority groups well, despite the numerous claims that they are the bastion for minority rights. I am in correspondence with a patriot who is focused on Native American issues, who writes:
I have my work cut out for me then. We are already working on the organizing all the local groups in to one cohesive cooperative, so I have a lot of convincing to do to get them to consider my proposal and stop depending on help from the Democratic machinery of Washington (as opposed to the Democrats on the local level) and the BIA, which most would like to see dissolved anyway and the funds from leasing Native American lands and other such income be paid directly to the tribes it belongs to.
Seems to me there are more pressing issues for the Democratic Party to be focused on than a self-serving Senator’s re-election.
And I say this as a Democrat. With love. 🙂
MUT Note: You know the BEST WAY to piss off Babs Boxer this year? Send a former member of our dear military to take her place. CHUCK DEVORE FOR US SENATE!
UPDATE!!! CHUCK DEVORE MONEY BOMB!
* You will need courage to spread the message.
This is, perhaps, the most challenging aspect of all. I am aware that my compatriots have been insulted and demeaned because people didn’t agree with the stance they took, or the approach they arranged. As Dawn and Sarah do all of this work voluntarily, and strive to balance family life and careers with their Tea Party efforts, personal attacks (large or small scale) are draining — courage, intestinal fortitude, and humor are needed to carry on.
The independent Democrats at HillBuzz have been harassed to the extent that their careers have been harmed. They are asking for help in tracking down the nameless abusers whose baseless and salacious charges have cost them financially. The gentlemen of Hillbuzz are going to go after these people legally — good for them, and a true example of courage. Please help them, if you can, by making a small donation to their site.
The physical attacks are the most chilling:
* Lila Rose assaulted by Planned Parenthood escort
* Protester beaten by union goons at town hall speaks; Update: SEIU releases attack ad against “teabaggers”
* Finger bitten off during California health protest
* It Has Begun… Father of Handicapped Son Receives Threats After Confronting Dem Congressman
With all of this in mind, I would like to conclude with an apt quote from David Brinkley:
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.
The Tea Party Movement has a firm foundation, indeed.
San Diego Tea Party – 2010 Roger Hedgecock will be the keynote speaker.
—— Date: Saturday, Feb. 27th.
——Time: 11 am to 1 pm.
—— Place: Just NORTH of the Star of India along the beautiful Harbor Drive.
The SEIU is in the news again! From Michelle Malkin:
Culture of Corruption Watch: Probing SEIU shenanigans. I would like to ask fellow Americans to help us Californians fight the SEIU leadership and other power-mongering union-based elites by participating in the CITIZEN POWER CAMPAIGN. Through a petition drive, we are hoping to gather enough signatures in this state to place the first Tea Party proposition on the ballot.
Also in the news:
Debt deluge: Here comes the $1.6 trillion flood of red ink
Video: Specter jumps onstage, interrupts Sestak
Gallup, Blue states, and Red elections
Obama Bows to Tampa’s Mayor
Climategate: WWF, the ‘Para-Governmental Organization’ at the Center of the Storm
Gateway Pundit has more on other Democrats today: The Dem’s Disconnect: A Response to Obama’s Defiant SOTU Address (Video)
The Anchoress has an outstanding analysis involving some of our favorite Democrats, too: But is that America?
Finally, Instapudnit has a great round-up of the Illinois Gubernatorial race, which is getting Tea Party interesting!