At a recent dinner, I asked a friend of mine if he would join me as a supporter of the Tea Party but he balked at the idea. This intrigued me; I know that he champions smaller government and fiscal responsibility – policies the Tea Party stands for as well. When I pressed him, he admitted that there’s a feeling about the Tea Party that makes him uncomfortable.
This got me thinking. My experience with the Tea Party movement, at least in New York, has been nothing less than superb. I’ve met a true cross-section of people – entrepreneurs, office workers, doctors, retirees, young people. They are intelligent, decently educated, passionate individuals. It astounds me that there is a great disconnect between what the Tea Party stands for and what the public perspective is. People need to understand that the Tea Party is not what the press portrays it to be – it is not out-of-touch, crazy, or reactionary. The Tea Party is about smaller government, lower taxes, the Constitution, and individual liberty. That’s it.
I am sure that there are Tea Party followers who have off-the-mainstream and even strange opinions, as do followers of any group. For instances, some Tea Partiers may be pro-immigration, while others may not be. It doesn’t matter; that is, there is no right or reason for any Tea Partier to be saying anything about immigration reform in the context of the Tea Party. Such opinions are not relevant to their Tea Party association. And though these ancillary opinions would be disregarded in other organizations, they become front and center – for liberals and the press – who want to diminish the Tea Party or try to sow discord.
The Tea Party is a movement of ordinary American people who share an excellent philosophy. The fact that they continue to be targeted, tarred, and trashed by the left-wing media should be an outrage to all Americans.
The Tea Party will be successful by continuing to impress upon Americans – person by person – the need for restraint in government, in taxes, and in spending.