I can (awkwardly) drink to that

Thisanjali Gangoda

The Tea Party Movement is gaining ground fast, and I’m still a bit fuzzy on the details. It seems that conservative-minded Americans are discontent with the actions of the federal government, so they’ve taken to the streets in protest of wasteful spending, political corruption and the tyranny of the “socialist czars” that currently hold office.

Yet the leaderless movement somehow managed to set $500 registration fees for the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn., most likely to pay the eloquent Sarah Palin an estimated $100,000 for reading that now infamous list off her hand. Republican officials vying for reelection of their congressional seats are throwing themselves into the antics of the convention, standing right alongside the American people who are demanding for elimination of federal taxes and stricter anti-immigration laws.

Glenn Beck is out there too, screaming nonsense and misspelling words as usual, while Tea Party enthusiasts mull over Federalist papers in hopes of uncovering a secret weapon to overthrow progressives. The entire Tea Party Movement thus far appears to be rather conspiracy-theorist related and incredibly boisterous as well, but you know what? I’m actually impressed.

This movement has created a stir among all realms of American society, causing people to ask what exactly the movement is and why it’s happening. Since the first Tea Party protest last February, conservative Americans have been energized with the idea of taking back the country and creating real government and social change.

The specifics generally stick to Republican Party lines, but they are broad in that they want to inspire individuals to take their own initiatives to understand government action and policy-making. In order to accomplish their agendas, Tea Party advocates encourage followers to become involved in the movement through protests, letter-writing, attending town hall meetings and being as vocal about the issues as they possibly can be.

To a degree, they have encapsulated the ideas of a grass-roots movement, pushing forward by way of information-sharing and organized meetings. It’s enough to make die-hard liberals want to gag themselves with a copy of the Bill of Rights: The idea that conservatives have suddenly overtaken their role of being activists and protesters.

The movement is fascinating in that it appeared out of nowhere, suddenly gracing all of the prominent television news networks, newspapers and online blogs. In the last year it has taken the country by storm, so now what?

Since there are no particular leaders or central figures in the Tea Party Movement, the true direction and focus of the party-goers has yet to be decided. There are several hundreds of Tea Party factions that organize all over the country, holding meetings to discuss issues of tax, health care, government spending and the rise of the right-wing “rebellion.”

They are people of all different histories, economic backgrounds and cultures, although interestingly enough the movement is predominantly made up of white Americans. There’s been some talk of some extreme right-winged radicals involved in the movement who have been holding out in their bomb shelters, convinced that the end of the world is on its way with the Obama administration in office.

On the other end, there are conservatives who just want to understand the details of their Medicare plans and what kind of financial support they can expect in the future. There are so many different dynamics, ideologies and perspectives in this movement — so much that it has riveted a nation into paying attention to what actions it takes.

Although I in no way can relate to the base ideology of the Tea Party Movement, I respect and admire its right to go ahead and rebel. In fact, I encourage it, so long as they tone down the aggressive nature of their tactics. Their approach is brash and alienating, and it could take a turn for the worse if there is infighting or violence involved.

I’ve noticed lately the attitude of many conservatives is to literally be up in arms and defensive about every issue, to the point where people become borderline psychotic (note: Glenn Beck). But, nevertheless, I commend you, Tea Party people. You’ve semi-accomplished what we liberals tote around as being something of our own: a revolution.

Thisanjali Gangoda is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Contact her at [email protected].