Will Fear Cripple the Tea Party in Minnesota? – Part IIJuly 28, 2010 at 5:47 am | Posted in Political | 3 Comments
Tags: Astroturf, conservative, grassroots, libertarian, Minnesota Tea Party Patriots, nancy pelosi, originalist, politics, Republican Party, revolutionary, tea party, tea party patriots
by Walter Scott Hudson
In the wake of a shakeup in Tea Party Patriots’ coordination in Minnesota, I have posited the existence of two opposing factions within the Tea Party movement. The originalist is an activist open to utilizing the existing political system, including its major political parties, to secure public policy consistent with the movement’s principles. The revolutionary is fed up with the whole shebang, detests party politics, and seems less concerned with securing public policy than sticking a thumb in the system’s eye.
It was not my intent for this to be a multi-part series. However, I received a comment from an American Majority activist and Tea Party organizer in California named Laura Boatright, which provides an excellent opportunity to expound upon the point.
I disagree with this confessed Tea Party Patriot affiliated writer’s conclusion: “This is the revolutionary mindset, fixated on pursuing an elusive and undefined alternative to the current system. Instead of recognizing corruption as the problem, and seeking to root it out, the revolutionary seeks to undo the system and start from scratch. The originalist, on the other hand, recognizes that you don’t change the score by taking your ball and going home.”
The (completely LEGITIMATE) “fear” is that instead of Tea party Patriots influencing the parties (system), the parties are influencing the TPP (by pretending to lend an ear to the self-appointed leaders; flattery works). I haven’t seen ANY proof of this being a winning strategy in bringing our country to the stated goals of TPP…in fact, here in CA, where TWO TPP board members (and “co-founders”) reside, we had DEVASTATING LOSSES. Most MARKEDLY in their respective backyards of San Diego and Sacramento. Not even able to gain seats on the Central Committees in their own backyards. While “revolutionaries” were able to do so in their communities.
So, it begs the question as to WHOM will be EFFECTIVE in the end; the “originalists” who partner with the corruption [they] claim to fight against, or the Revolutionaries who, like the Revolutionaries before them (from Paul Revere/Sons of Liberty to Martin Luther King Jr), INSISTED we do better.
I know where my money is…
Addressing Ms. Boatright directly: I can’t speak to your personal experience or the examples you cite. I trust I can take your testimony at face value. That said, I’m not sure I understand your point.
Let’s first consider your initial statement, that there is a legitimate fear of the TPP being more influenced by the system than the system is influenced by the TPP. A couple things come to mind. First, your sentiment seems to impose an obligation upon TPP to pursue its goals in a manner you have prescribed. It is possible others have reached different conclusions regarding the best path to success. Their method being different than yours is not evidence they have sold out their principles.
This highlights my only real beef with the revolutionary, the defamation of allies. Though I disagree with the revolutionary’s method, I do not question their loyalty to the goal. I ask for the same respect.
For most Tea Party activists, all this politicking is a relatively recent development. It stands to reason that folks who are new to negotiating the system are likely to go through a kind of adolescence. What began as a gung-ho charge against the system begins to settle into an understanding of how it works, and therefore how to pursue goals through coalition rather than combat. Perhaps this accounts for the “influence” you perceive. The goals have not changed. The principles remain. The methodology has matured.
The success or failure of select elections seems a poor benchmark for “a winning strategy.” Strategies are long-term. Elections are certainly important, and no effort should be spared to elect Tea Party vetted candidates. However, the movement goes beyond 2010 and 2012. We’re not just trying to undo the corruption of our political system, but rehabilitate the culture which enabled it. That is a goal which could span generations. The “progressives” have been at their game for over a century with virtually no competition. We have just begun our fight.
I certainly don’t wish to diminish lofty ambition, but it seems unreasonable to make the success of the movement contingent upon sweeping victories in California. If you want to swap anecdotal evidence, I can tell you about Minnesota. Some local groups have thrived due to the tremendous efforts of their respective coordinators. However, the statewide effort has been – up to this point – nearly stagnate. This is due in no small part to “state coordination” which was so busy sifting Republicans from membership, shooing away candidates, and otherwise burning every bridge we might cross to accomplishment that virtually nothing was done to facilitate growth.
The Revolutionaries of Old, our Founding Fathers, were tasked with destroying their contemporary system. There was no guarantee what might arise to replace it. We are blessed with the clearer goal they ultimately provided – the Constitution. We need not destroy, only restore. In that sense, we are not revolutionaries. Neither was Dr. King. He stood apart from the revolutionaries of his time and took a higher, harder, longer-sighted path.
To the question of which of these methods will be effective, let us hope both. Certainly, let us hope one or the other. All I ask is to be left to the race, that patriots direct fire downrange.