Inside the Tea Party
Inside the Tea Party
On Friday, February 27, 2009, something amazing happened. Across the country, citizens gathered to complain about their government. Over thirty thousand people gathered in over forty cities to complain about their government. The amazing part is that there was no organization existing a week before to pull all of this together.
The national tea party started about nine days earlier, when CNBC correspondent Rick Santilli spoke from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and called for a Chicago tea party. The idea spread like wild fire.
On Friday, February 20th, I had no idea that one week later; I’d be in the center of one of those tea parties.
On Saturday, the 21st, I heard about the tea parties. I posted online, on Facebook, to see if anyone else was interested in having a middle Tennessee tea party. A friend of mine challenged me to organize one. That was all it took. I created a group on Facebook and an event and it went from there.
First, we had to choose a venue. My initial thought was to do it in Williamson County, the County directly to the south of Nashville. Williamson is a very affluent, very Republican county. Nashville is very democratic and I thought they might give us a hard time. Some of my friends who were helping me out talked me out of that idea. Instead, we hit on Legislative Plaza. Legislative Plaza, in Nashville, is directly across from the Capitol. It is an open space, about half the size of a city block. It made a compelling back ground. Since Republicans controlled the Tennessee legislature, getting it was not a problem.
As soon as we had the location, everything else came together. Friends volunteered (after all this is the Volunteer State!) People came from Nashville and surrounding counties. Others came from counties an hour away. Students came from Clarksville, TN. One woman came from Knoxville and another family from Chattanooga. Some even came from out of state.
People came together, outraged by the policies of a President who seems more interested in tanking the economy than stimulating it.
On a cold, damp Friday lunch hour, over six hundred people gathered to exercise their constitutional right to petition the government for redress of their grievances. A fellow attorney spoke, as did two state legislators, a congressional candidate and the chair of the Tennessee Republican party.
Over the weekend, I’m told Obama’s political team met on Saturday to try and figure out how to deal with the tea party movement. I don’t think they will figure it out.
Since the tea party on Friday, I’ve spoken or emailed with people in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Huntsville, AL about having their own tea parties. Tonight, I will be on a major west coast radio talk show, talking about this movement.
I had the privilege of speaking to the Nashville Tea Party and I told them, the movement did not end with just one protest. It will be a four-year process. We have to act to stop Obama from bankrupting the American economy.
If you want to help fight back, look on Facebook for your local tea party groups. If you can’t find one, email me at MiddleTNteaparty@gmail.com.