The majority of Americans are fed up with Washington, and have been for years – for good reason. Both major parties have become nothing short of a disappointment, both governing outside the Constitution. It is time for an overhaul in Congress, and it is high time that our elected officials answer for the irresponsible decisions that have been made at the taxpayers’ expense. But how could we possibly begin to change the disaster that is our national government?

By finishing what the Tea Party started. Sustainable political change starts at the grassroots with local and state level elected officials. The Tea Party, sporting the mantra “don’t tread on me,” is a non-partisan, issue-based movement. It exists independently and only at the grassroots level as a disorganized and decentralized force working to get pro-liberty candidates elected. It’s message is clear: Big government is bad. Unsurprisingly, the Tea Party was born from Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential run, and as the pro-liberty/anti-government movement grew, so did the Tea Party.

Then, during the 2010 midterm elections, it was time for tea. Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, proponents of the liberty movement, both owe their election successes to the efforts of the Tea Party. Both these candidates, and many others, became allies of the Tea Party because they outwardly criticize the GOP and the Democratic Party for their shortcomings. As Ben Van Heuvelen wrote at Salon:

“Rand Paul’s success can be understood in the genealogy of the Tea Party movement. Its viral and decentralized traits, the intellectual foundations of its libertarianism, and its fundraising tactics all come from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. The first tea party event of the Obama era was arguably a Ron Paul “moneybomb” fundraiser…”

The Tea Party movement is synonymous with the liberty movement in ideology, it acts as liberty’s arm of activism, working to get the politicians out of Washington by replacing them with those interested in restoring the constitution. The Tea Party has proven that liberty and politics can mix; this spontaneous and independent movement is ample evidence that the quickest way to enact political change is through effective activism .

The Tea Party would see the GOP restored to being the party of resistance, one that supports fiscal responsibility, upholding the constitution, and a small federal government. They will be supporting candidates who also espouse these beliefs in an effort to take back the Republican Party.

It is vital now more than ever, that the efforts of the Tea Party continue to be successful. 2014 will be a pivotal midterm election, one that is more likely to predict the future of American politics than the 2016 presidential election. I have heard it said that the “tea” in Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already.” If you, like me, want to send a message to the vast and faceless bureaucracy that it is time to get the finances in order and to uphold the civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution, then grab your cup – because it’s tea time.

  • AuntMerryweather

    Curious how you reconcile the claim that the “Tea Party is synonymous with the liberty movement” when recent survey data suggests there’s not much overlap.

  • Erin

    I must say, my initial reaction to the notion of the Tea Party being about liberty is, “yeah, unless you’re gay, an atheist, or believe in marijuana policy reform.”

    However, I do recognize that many of those argument are lobbed against libertarians in general and, under introspection, my perception is probably based on the self-proclaimed Tea Partiers I’ve met, who are unsavory on these issues to say the least.

    This sort of touches on an issue I’ve had for a while with labeling–anyone can call themselves a Tea Partier, or a libertarian, or a feminist, or a Christian–and their actions and views will become the basis of others’ perception of the group(s) they represent, no matter how prevalent those actions and views actually are in the movement. I honestly think about 85% of liberty movement internet fights could be done away with if we all abandoned our labels and just talked out our issues.

    If you have sources about the tea party and their platforms that you’d recommend, I’d be curious to look through them. Maybe I’ll overcome an unfair prejudice I didn’t realize I had.

    • AuntMerryweather

      Totally agree. I’ve been rethinking my own use of labels within the context of ideological “branding.” My suspicion these days is that identity and branding are tools used primarily by the left (“the tea party is racist and lowbrow”) to invoke group affinity – THEY are X, where X is bad, and if you’re not X then you’re one of US. This could explain why the media, whose primary focus is branding, is generally left-leaning and why conservative media frequently seems to be a reactionary, defensive mad house, focusing too much on “gotcha” tactics.
      This could also explain why left-libertarians have such trouble making inroads to the left – they’ve been primed by the “leftist media” for the last several decades to know what “reasonable” and “crackpot” sound like, what codewords they use, and so on. Ideas to chew on…

      • Erin

        It’s interesting to me that labels are generally defended as necessary to save time, but, IMO, they end up being a huge time-sink when you have to explain that what YOU mean when you say you’re XYZ isn’t what the person you’re speaking to means.

        • Crissy Brown

          Labels and branding can be dangerous; as Aunt Merryweather points out it has been a huge cause for discontent within the liberty movement – a lot of internal fighting results from sectarianism.

          As someone who has worked heavily in grassroots activism, particularly with college students, I have noticed that ideas sell far better than partisan affiliation does. This is an idea the Tea Party also subscribes to and they remain entirely issue based. There chief concern is that the scope of government is far too large and must be reigned in, and they only support candidates they believe will espouse this idea once in office. I agree that we would be better off if all politics operated this way, but I don’t believe that will ever be the case.

    • Crissy Brown

      I would strongly suggest reading Rand Paul’s book “The Tea Party goes to Washington,” it is a an interesting account of the modern Tea Party’s history as well as their intentions and why it is structured the way it is.

  • dino

    you mean like this:

    some people are so far behind in the race they actually believe they are winning.

  • Thank you, dear Lady,

    I’ve been saying the same things to those who might listen for years.

    I’m leaving the States – that’s how “bad” it’s gotten for me.

    But I have a daughter who’ll be 22 in a few months and I’d like to believe that the States I leave behind will be kind to her. “It is a dream I have.”

    So I’m leaving the USSA, just as my grandfather left Ukraine in search of safety and opportunity.

    The States are no place for “liberty lovers,” Libertarians or Anarchists.

    The Boot-Strap Expat

  • Gay_for_Jesus

    The tea party, and by extension the shitty bloggers it employs either literally or by proxy, are financed by billionaires who advocate a modern feudalism.