The Tea Party is the Wind this November
19 Oct 2010 via TCOT Report (The Hill)
Political pundits across the nation have been desperately trying define the Tea Party movement by identifying leaders since its genesis with Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC to the present day. It is inconceivable to official Washington that a movement could rise up without some controlling leadership. This has generated a perpetual stream of speculation, prognostication and conspiracy theories from the left and various self absorbed media pundits. Their pseudo-prophetic utterances of the looming destruction, and/or failure of the Tea Party movement have taken up hours of broadcast and cable media, barrels of ink and generated untold hours of cyber searching – all to no avail.
Instead, the movement, which the oracles of the media have been pronouncing fractured, dead, or dying, from the beginning has been growing and gaining strength beyond any of their imaginations. Being that these pundits and oracles of the left see themselves as “the best and brightest” among us it is my belief that they are having personal crises of emotion and damaged egos since all of their forecasts have heretofore fallen flat. Their experience and world view will not allow them to understand that the Tea Party movement is a natural phenomenon of people coming together to stop the destruction of the America that they love. The flags are not props, the patriotic songs are not necessary background noise, instead they represent the true heartfelt beliefs of the Tea Party.
Most pundits share a couple of basic misconceptions. First is their perception of their own intellectual superiority, secondly is their world view rooted solidly in the manure rich compost generated by the Left. They make the assumptions that all movements must certainly be manufactured as are the astroturf socialist-leaning organizations on display at the recent October 2 rally, that traditionally support the liberal agenda.
One thing that the pundits are evidently blind to, that the organic grassroots of the Tea Party movement fully understands, is the fact that the American spirit has never craved a leader. Our founders delivered to us a “representative” republic. To those in the Tea Party movement “We the People” does not mean the downtrodden, offended or victimized. “We the People” means something all together different.
In February I had the honor to emcee a debate that the Tea Parties of the Virginia 5th District hosted for the GOP primary. I didn’t know what to say when I went to the microphone. I was new to this sort of thing, and I was obviously nervous. An elderly gentleman with years of political experience was amused with my nervousness and he said “don’t worry about it, just speak from your heart and these people will understand.” That was some great advice, I think. When I took the microphone I asked the crowd “how many of you are looking for a leader, please raise your hand” and about half of the 600 raised their hands, and some cheered. I was taken aback. I said, “you’re wrong!” The crowd went silent. I had to explain that this debate was a job interview for an employee. The fact that many in this “conservative” crowd were looking for a “leader” was disturbing. I told the crowd, “if you are looking for a leader, then look in the mirror.” This is the attitude of the Tea Party patriot that is completely missed by the “smart kids” that are currently calling the shots in Washington.
The fact that this concept is incomprehensible to the elites inside the beltway and in the media, works to the advantage of the organic grassroots. They dismiss us, because they don’t understand us. They try to demonize us, but when they do, they demonize their neighbors and constituents. Consider a tall-ship sailing the high seas. Picture this ship pitching and rolling and cutting through the waves. The pundits are engaged in describing for the rest of us the sails, the deck, the masts, and the rigging of the ship. They express faux-concern that the ship may be sea-worthy, but the crew is not experienced, and the ship is without a pilot at the helm. They predict the inevitable destruction of this grand craft as the unqualified captain and crew sail it into dangerous waters and crash it on the rocks, and then they predict the tales will be told of how the ship and its crew were lost at sea, and the tale will become legend. This certainly may be the case, however, it will not matter. Perhaps they will never understand that the ship and the crew are not the Tea Party – the Tea Party is the wind.
Mark Kevin Lloyd is the vice chairman of the Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots and the chairman of the Lynchburg, Va. Tea Party.