Who Attends Political Tea Parties?
I was recently a scheduled speaker at a couple tea parties. I felt complimented to be on the program with some very impressive speakers.
As I looked out over the audience, the first thing I noticed is their age. Probably half the audience was of retirement age. The other thing that impressed me was how they were attentive and courteous. There were no obscene signs or disruptions. When the events were over, the sites were totally clean. There was not one scrap of paper. This respectful behavior certainly did not indicate a lack of passion for the issues.
There are some other things I concluded from talking to people in the audience and listening to the speeches. The percentage of veterans is much higher than the general population. These people love their country and have put country before their personal well being in the past.
I concluded the audience was better informed politically than the general population. This is good because it keeps the speakers honest and not taking liberties with the facts.
There also seems to be a high percentage of Christians. Some are concerned about the loss of religious freedom. Most tea parties are started with the Pledge of Allegiance including “under God”, and an opening prayer.
There are Republicans, Democrats and independents at tea parties. Many people think tea parties are Republican, which is wrong. I would guess many were independents like myself. I would agree the majority of the political candidates supported by the tea party are Republicans simply because more Republican candidates support the same issues as the tea party. I sincerely wish there were more Democratic candidates that supported these issues.
So what issues does the tea party support? The tea party is very fragmented and there are many issues, but opposing a large federal government, out of control federal spending, and federal debt seem to be paramount. The tea party also supports states rights and individual freedoms guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Supporting individual freedoms and opposition to the redistribution of wealth are also big. They are opposed to a political elite ruling class making our decisions for us. In general, the tea party wants federal government reform and not expansion of the federal government.
Does this sound radical to you? Why does the media and some politicians misrepresent the tea party? Maybe they are afraid of this non-partisan and truly grass roots movement
It is true that the tea party is fragmented and unorganized. They are not a political party. They do not have a platform. They endorse, but do not have candidates. There is a lot of civil disagreement on individual issues. All this is good in my opinion. I would hate to see the tea party become an organized third political party.
As I looked at these aging tea party attendees, and as I talked to them, I questioned why they were there. With the exception of health care and more specifically Obama care, most of these issues would probably never affect them personally in their lifetime.
So why do they care if the country expands the power of the federal government and moves toward a European social economic state? It certainly is not for personal gain. Maybe, like our founding fathers, they feel passing debt on to future generations is immoral. The only reason that makes sense is that tea party attendees love this country and are concerned for their descendants and future generations.