Last night my daughter was surprised that I was going to a tea party. She probably thought the same as my son, who believed I was at a tea party with my niece (who has probably outgrown those parties). Surprisingly, when I searched on the Internet for details I found out they still have those kinds of tea parties in Laurens County, a southern genteel county about 30 miles from my home.
Instead, this tea party was reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party held in 1773. If you're a Mary Poppins fan, you know the initial event made the tea undrinkable, even for Americans. But more than that, it signaled a rebellion, a rebellion against a government that didn't listen to the people it governed. The current day tea parties, over 2000 scheduled to have occurred by the end of this week, also signal a rebellion -- a rebellion against government spending and a change in the philosophy of this country.
During the meeting that lasted slightly over an hour, I tried to keep myself from becoming engrossed in the speeches and to report the details. My goal was to learn what was really going on and to listen carefully to what was said. A good bit of the meeting was simply political presentations: one man running for congress, another for Lt. Governor, a state senator and a US Congressman. Much of it toed the right wing of the Republican Party line - anti-abortion, defense of marriage and anti-Obama.
But there were also some good points that were brought out that require more research - a call for thinner waste lines on government (pardon the pun), more transparency in government, accusations of overstepped constitutional bounds (discussion on six provisions in the Constitution given to government).
One of the most impressive speakers was Bill Connor, candidate for Lt Governor. Connor spent some time in Afghanistan serving our country in our efforts there. For that alone he garnered my respect. He also gained my attention when he spoke of the difference in English view of taxes and American views (fodder for another post). While I didn't agree with everything he said, I want to follow this man and see what his candidacy will look like.
Another speaker, Bobby Smith, Chairman of the Laurens County Republican Party pointed out that effort started with the individual, that we must not allow the government to be the source of our provisions. In a poor county like Laurens, this is a difficult step for a lot of people. Smith admitted this in his speech, but encouraged everyone to make the step. With the way the government rules over those it helps (see here), we should all heed those words.
The final speaker was Dr. Tony Beam, pastor and local talk radio host. Beam's speech outlined what I believe is the focal point for the tea party - it's not about taxes, it's about tyranny. His notes will be posted on the 'net later this week, once I find them I'll post a link.
To summarize, the tea party was a success. I counted close to 150 people and probably missed some (a local report said 200 - I don't doubt it). I hope to attend another party later in the week, maybe even two. My goal is to understand what is really going on and what all the talk is about. I'll report more of the ideas later.
* Update - Tony Beam's speech can be found here.