CATO Institute recently held a book forum reviewing the newly published “Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution.” Authors Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin explained the origins of the Tea Party and what it does and does not stand for. The discussion also included comments by John Fund, a senior editor at the American Spectator and former political columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
According to the party’s leaders, the Tea Party Patriots seek to make representatives more responsible and accountable to the governed people. The party prides itself for being a truly grassroots movement that has diffused throughout the nation; its goal is to gain support from 60% of Americans. Members of the party collectively refer to themselves as Patriots for short, and hold to the fundamental ideals of American liberty. A sheer, non-partisan look at the word patriot defines a “person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.” Another interpretation is a “person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.” The party’s proclaimed ideals are right on track with these descriptions.
Tea Party proclaimed ideals are to allow the people to govern themselves and protect freedom from the federal government. Meckler even cited the American Revolution as the colonists fought against the British Red Coats. He drew a parallel between the 18th century colonists and present day Americans. The colonists did not rise up against the British because of taxes on stamps or tea, but rather because colonists wanted to govern themselves. Similarly, Americans in the Tea Party are deciding to stand up and defend their liberties for self-governance.
Panelists at the CATO Institute event also explained that the party does not endorse a particular political candidate. Prominent supporters like Michelle Bachman make statements on their own behalf, but do not necessarily speak for the Patriots. The party also avoids taking stances on social and moral issues, and chooses to focus on essential constitutional liberties. This blog post is not a call to join or to support the Tea Party. It stands to raise awareness and interest for a group that has gained sizeable support on its own. Some center and left wing activists have disregarded them as right wing wackos. But before joining in any name-calling, why not look in to it yourself?