I went for a run last week down on the Roanoke River Greenway.
Right along Wiley Dr. is the spot where the first Roanoke Tea Party happened, nearly 5 years ago. I almost didn’t go that day… it meant taking an evening off work, and the April weather was questionable, but tired of helplessly ranting at the television, I went anyway. I don’t remember that much about it other than the event itself impressed me – that a few hundred people were concerned enough to show up and protest the unprecedented spending in Washington. The deficit was only 13 trillion back then, but politicians were about to approve another $850 billion in “stimulus”, and the fiscal trainwreck/logistic nightmare of ObamaCare was still just a pipedream. Tea Party protests spread quickly across the Nation and groups began to organize. Seemed like in no time, we were piling onto buses bound for D.C. to make our collective voices heard. Solidarity won the day, and it felt like we’d done something. Soon afterward, the “tea party” label became either the most reviled or championed title in American politics. Then came the 2010 midterm elections… and Republicans became known as “tea party” Republicans. We were popular, or at least we had something they wanted. After they got it, slowly but surely, the enthusiasm evaporated… “the party is over” echoed the media chorus. We had fallen into the trap of believing what the press said. Once they’d grudgingly given us a legitimacy, they set about finding a way to take it back.
Jogging on up toward the Wasena bridge, I wondered – what would it take to generate enough angst to draw that many folks out again? Barack Obama declaring himself a third term? Would that do it? There’s sort of precedent for that, and things no less outrageous and illegal go on every day, yet remain unanswered. What if there were a real political party we belonged to, one that actually believed in smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and adherence to the Constitution? Would people support it in the numbers we’d seen in the past? Where was the fabled “silent majority”?
Our Tea Party has come through a lot, and managed to survive when other groups faltered. We’ve made some good choices and made some calls we might like to have back. We have had some gifted and dedicated people in leadership, and a core membership that continues to support the cause of Liberty, often at enormous personal sacrifice. But as with all things that last, it’s time to evaluate our status, and adapt to the current circumstances. We don’t turn out 700 people for rallies at Elmwood Park anymore. Politicians that don’t like answering hard questions with anything other than canned answers, or are more accustomed to being fawned over, they shun us these days.
So, what exactly do we do?
It’s been said you go to war with the army you have. Right now, it’s time to train for the next Tea Party. Eventually, there will be another time when a mass protest is needed, but for now, we have to keep this group in place and viable for when that day comes. We’ll continue to meet each month, talk about the issues of the day, putting things into perspective, educating ourselves first, so that we can pass along the vision of the Founders. We are safeguarding the future of American Liberty.
But the only way this effort continues into the future is if current leadership is replaced with equally dedicated people. Fresh ideas and new perspective is critical to survival. If that sounds like something you could do, we need you. Are you ready to lead the next Revolution?
President, Roanoke Tea Party