Aside from twice trying to portray the Tea Party Movement as racist, the article did a pretty good job of describing the Tea Party phenomenon.
But a new Washington Post canvass of hundreds of local tea party groups reveals a different sort of organization, one that is not so much a movement as a disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do surprisingly little to engage in the political process.In fact, one of the people they contacted is Lowell resident and Greater Lowell Tea Party leader Barbara Klain. Barbara told me:
The results come from a months-long effort by The Post to contact every tea party group in the nation, an unprecedented attempt to understand the network of individuals and organizations at the heart of the nascent movement.
Yes, I did answer some questions by telephone.So, while many think the Tea Party Movement is the tool of larger secretive movement, but The Washington Post article suggests it is just what Tea Party members have been saying—it is a series of grass-roots organizations springing from individual frustration with the direction of government.
When I was interviewed I mentioned that although fiscal responsibility on the part of the individual and the government is, I believe, a common thread, tea parties across the nation differ greatly because each one reflects the concerns and needs of the local population. If we were to become organized under one national umbrella we would lose the immediacy that makes us click.
As the last statement says, we exist "to educate members and encourage them to become active on their own." This year, I plan to pursue the education theme. Between election pushes, I hope to educate our group about the Constitution and to show one or two films that I think are important.
As for the suggestions of racism put forward in the article, all I can talk to is our local situation. The members of the Great Lowell Tea Party came to a consensus on backing Sam Meas in his race for the Republican nomination to run against Representative Niki Tsongas. Money was given, registration efforts were made and signs and bumper stickers were displayed.
It does seem to me that part of the issue of what The Washington Post refers to as racism is really questions about who President Barack Obama really is and where he wants to take us, as a nation. The two things should not be confused, least we cause confusion.
Racism is wrong! Let us be clear on that. And, as our nation's Attorney General has told us, we need to talk about race.
But, that is not what the Tea Party exists for. The Tea Party is concern for Government financial stability on the part of folks approaching or at retirement. Sure, there are young folks in the movement, but the it is the older folks who are driving the agenda, at least here in the Lowell area. We are just lucky to have a young woman like Barbara Klain ramrodding our outfit.
If you liked this Wash Post article you might consider asking your local convenience store owner about making a fuss about the fact that the newspaper no longer makes it this far north on Sundays.
If you are interesting in the Great Lowell Tea Party, contact me or call Barbara Klain.
Regards — Cliff