You know, it amuses me no end, checking out the comment sections on various websites and blogs, especially when the commenter start to go to town, with regard to tea parties, tea partiers and the whole Tea Party thing. After the obligatory snigger about teabagging, I find out that Tea Partiers are screeching-angry, hateful, racist, rude, Nazis, sister-humping rednecks who hate everyone else, and most especially the fact that we have a black president. That apparently is supposed to be the thing that sticks in our craws the most – I guess the oh-so-observant commenters have missed the sign that said, “We don’t like his white half, either!” Oh, and we’re all old, and/or uneducated losers, and the Tea Party rallies are more of a mass temper-tantrum, there’s only a handful of them, and they’ve all been deluded by Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, or perhaps by the Republican Party, and we’re secretly being lead by all of the above, or maybe Sarah Palin and her little dog, too . . . So they can be safely ignored and scored by all right-thinking people.

Seriously, I’m almost sure that none of the commentators holding forth in this manner, from the high – say, the New York Times, down to the very low, which would be some whacked-out Kos diarist, or possibly some more than usually-deranged denizen of Hollywierdland, like Janeane Garafolo – have actually ever gone to a mass Tea Party event. Nope – I’d be surprised as heck, to find out they are opining from actual, real-world encounters with Tea Partiers.

See, folks – I’ve been to one monster Tea Party event, a good few smaller ones, worked on media strategy for a metropolitan Tea Party, and helped pound out their long-term strategy. I have something to base my opinion of Tea Parties and Tea Partiers on – such as the evidence of my own lying eyes. While it might make a portion of the public and the old-line media happy as a pig in swill to believe the angry-racist-red-necking-dumbass-sheeple meme, and to agree with all the other voices in the echo-chamber . . . I have to say up-front – y’all aren’t doing yourself any favors. Especially, you won’t have done yourself a favor, when the Obama Administration, and all its works and all its ways goes down faster than a Japanese carrier at the Battle of Midway. You won’t be able to figure out why, having been blinded by willful mis-perception. Reality, she is a right bitch, and she will eventually crash any party of the delusional.

Mind you, there is a smidgeon or sometimes more to justify the stereotypes: yep, there are Rushbo and Glenn Beck fans among the Tea Partiers, and a goodly number of evangelical Right-to-Life types; there are Republican establishments and politicians who have been quick to grasp the advantages of being perceived as having something to do with the Tea Party, and lord help us, there are a scattering of screeching, ignorant ranters and racists who call themselves Tea Partiers. But to assume that is the truth and sum of all is to delude yourself – and if you are a media person or an academician saying this, than you are deluding the public that you are supposed to be informing.

Here’s the real deal: the Tea Parties have a couple of unifying principles: small government, fiscally-responsible and strict constitutionalists pretty much says it in one sentence. Everything else is secondary, and at this point, kind of a distraction. Blessedly most are not distracted – although because of the sheer number of passionate people involved in a Tea Party does mean that sometimes contrary opinions are involved. Groups split, morph, form other groups. Among the flavors of political opinion drawn into the Tea Party brew are libertarians, people who run small businesses, generally middle-to-working-class, veterans, people who pay taxes, people who are angered by the same old, same old. There is anger as deep as an ocean about politicians who seem to be more of an aristocracy, spending decades in office doing what is best to secure reelection rather than what is best for the country. Many of the Tea Partiers that I know are just as angry at Democrats as they are Republicans – and they come in all colors and religious backgrounds. Myself, I’ve been describing the Tea Party movement for months as a herd of cats, all motivated by pretty much the same thing, and going in more or less the same direction.

Tea Partiers may also rightly be described as angry; there is temper-tantrum angry, but there is also purposeful and focused anger. The sort that I see within my Tea Party is the purposeful, goal-oriented kind. Their focus and their strategy – and it is a focus, not spasms of temporary anger about administration policies – is to search out, and elect people who will uphold the principles of small government, fiscal responsibility and adherence to the Constitution. In other words, they are starting from the bottom up. This is not spectacular; this doesn’t make a flashy television statement, or make it easy to follow, if you are not directly involved. There is no known leader, really – oh, everyone in the lefty commentariat goes on about Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck, or Rushbo, but they aren’t really our leaders. There are no leaders. We are all leaders, each of us pushing on towards a goal, according to our own inspiration and our own beliefs. Such beliefs are buttressed not by Fox Television, but in the provisions of the Constitution, which we are – if not familiar with it before – are studying with a renewed attention and appreciation.

And I sense, this is what may prove to be much for frightening to the powers that be, the old-line media sitting in easy and ignorant judgment, or the internet commenter who has enough actual first-hand knowledge about the Tea Party to fill up a small cheap tea bag. Not that we are all they have proclaimed us to be – but that we aren’t. And that there are a lot of us, working quietly and with intelligent focus within our communities, picking up the trash after our protest events, seriously applying ourselves to the intricacies of applying to be precinct chair, or running for local office, recalling to ourselves what it meant to be truly politically involved, instead of hiring through pro-forma elections some empty cipher with good hair and a smooth line of patter, to go to Washington and bring home enough pork to be elected again, one way or an other.

Yes – we are all Spartacus. And there are a lot of us, who have remembered what it is to be citizens. Not subjects.

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