How the Tea Party could make more sense

Garrison Ebie

OK, so I’m sure you’ve at least heard of them as the raving lunatics who spit on congressmen and watch Fox News after church on Sunday. One of the more popular notions is that they march around carrying barely legible signs with grammar that would embarrass a fourth grader. And of course, who could forget the stereotype of most being backwoods hicks with no very strong understanding of whatever it is they protest about, and that Sarah Palin is the captain who bravely directs their loony

voyage to nowhere.

This is the Tea Party in the United States. It is a hodgepodge of activists with no clear agenda other than to limit the size of government, mostly consisting of dissatisfied Republicans, Independents and even a small percentage of conservative Democrats. Most are middle-class working adults over the age of 40 who are fed up with big government spending. They don’t like Obama and they don’t like anything he does.

Defining any clearer what the Tea Party is can be difficult, considering a lack of official leadership and no identifiable platform. The most reliable Web site I could find,, has a “platform” tab, but upon clicking it all I found was a copy of the Bill of Rights and a statement that their platform is currently being refined. The page hasn’t been updated since 2009.

Tragically, this minority group of activists receives a brutal amount of criticism simply because of its cheesy name and ignorant politics. Respectively, they do have a valid point, as broad as it may be. Our government rules us rather than us ruling our government. How true.

However, the chaotic, unorganized movement combined with few members appearing knowledgeable enough to be taken seriously creates a lack of credibility. Hence, the movement is blown off as a bunch of old, middle-America, yuppie whackos who congregate around D.C., funded by their unemployment checks, to complain about issues they haven’t fully begun to comprehend.

Last September, the G20 summit was held in Pittsburgh. G20 is basically a meeting of 20 of the world’s most influential elites who get together to talk about money. No one knows for sure what goes on behind closed doors, which are secured with a few thousand police officers in riot gear. But the popular consensus is that they’re trying to turn all of us, including our government, into itty-bitty pawns that serve their interest.

Anyway, these meetings draw a considerable amount of grassroots protesting from libertarians, anarchists, socialists, etc. For ideologies that don’t support exploitation, that’s the place to be. However, last September, I couldn’t find one report of Tea Party activists being present at G20. If they really want something to yell and scream about, seriously, G20 is where to go. Maybe the overflow of cops and dirty hippies scared them away.

I mention G20 because I believe that Tea Party activists can faithfully relate to the more extreme activism of the dirty hippy crowd that organizes against more complicated social issues than just big government. But unfortunately, considering the Tea Party’s core supporters are around 45 to 50 years old and have mortgages, children and a developed American lifestyle to deal with, the two factions might as well be polar opposites despite their similar interests.

What is truly sad is that the dumbed-down version of protest that the Tea Party is known for is the one getting all the media attention. Organized protest advocating the same general purpose happens every day around the world and it receives little to no coverage at all, mainly because those involved are usually considered violent youth who just want to topple the system for the hell of it.

If only the Tea Party advocated more specific purposes that inevitably result in the rise of the over-sized government they oppose, then we would maybe see some changes. Protesting against WTO, NAFTA and the Federal Reserve is usually a job left to the more experienced activist, but in order for me to take the Tea Party seriously, this group needs to start attacking from the bottom up.

I think it’s great that a growing number of Americans are beginning to see through the veil of corruption and lies, but they really need to work in tandem and be educated by those who were there all along.

Garrison Ebie is a senior electronic media major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].