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Friday, January 07, 2011

CLINT FLECKENSTEIN: AND WHAT OF THIS TEA PARTY PHENOMENON?


“Once you label me you negate me.” - Kierkegaard, 1976

In the case of the modern American political upheaval I dare suggest that Kierkegaard was wrong.  Try as they might, the left and their establishment media have attempted to label the current citizen uprising as solely “the Tea Party.”  Not only does this satisfy Rule Five and Rule Eleven of Saul Alinsky’s notorious “Rules for Radicals” but it also give them a target on which to fixate.  In this case they picked the wrong target, but arguably the only one available to them is one of their own making.

The only way the left accomplishes anything is with words.  They’re used to obfuscate what they stand for and what they do, as illustrated by the names given to recent legislation.  They hijack terms in order to control their meaning, which is how a modern day leftist Democrat can even be called a “liberal.”  And, in the case of the aforementioned Rule Number Five, they need to label the “Tea Party” so that they can ridicule it with the “Teabagger” misnomer.  Only a leftist could come up with such a perverse bit of vernacular, the definition of which I won’t allow to soil these pages.
Radio host Douglas Urbanski made an important observation recently when he pointed out the fatal flaw of Alinsky’s tactics: if they succeed, they turn the radicals into the establishment while turning average citizens into activists.  This is precisely what I believe has happened in the era of Hope™ and Change™.  While the left is scrambling trying to stick to the activist playbook, they are the ones occupying the seats of power and therefore the ones playing defense against an angry populace - the true “sleeping giant” which has finally been awakened.

Sure, there are “Tea Party” entities all across the nation.  Some are co-opted by leftists in order to attempt sabotage to the brand, but it doesn’t matter: the Tea Party is not the movement; it’s merely the vehicle.  In an era where we average citizens are reticent in identifying ourselves with either political party, we are resolute in our core values.  Not all the values of all members of this movement overlap 100%; however, we are able to see a common direction and core prinicple upon which we can all unite.  It may be the “Tea Party” today, it may be something else tomorrow.  How do you target something like that?

A letter to the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Bismarck Tribune smugly posed the historical record that alternative Parties come and alternative Parties go, with little effect.  I don’t disagree; but anyone who thinks the Tea Party movement (to use the term as it is so broadly applied) is a political party has sorely misunderstood it.  Perhaps this is another blessing in the left’s scramble to find a target to vilify: they’re shooting wildly into the ether, hoping to hit something with little understanding that there’s no single target to hit.

Few have been so prescient in regard to the true nature of this movement and political awakening than established conservatives such as Gary Emineth, who saw the “Tea Party” phenomenon as a diverse group of motivated citizens, people who have had enough and want a way to get involved.  To his credit he welcomed these newfound “citizen activists” (as I like to describe us) to the Republican Party, emphasizing what we have in common, and giving us a way to make a difference as part of the Republican Party.  Others continue what he started, and I think North Dakota is a good example for the nation as a whole in that regard.

I draw upon my own experience in this arena.  While I’ve attended every “Tea Party” rally I could here in Bismarck, I’ve never looked for a likewise named political party to join.  I found my local Republican representative, asked him how I could get involved, and met him for coffee.  He suggested I meet Gary, who was welcoming and excited about new people wanting to get involved.  I found a receptive North Dakota Republican Party, have become a member, have made many friends therein,  and hope to become a part of the effort.

So what of this “Tea Party” phenomenon?  Will it fade?  Perhaps.  I mean no offense or discredit toward any groups which have adopted that moniker.  What I’m saying is that the idea of a single nationally purported “Tea Party” entity is a product of media creation.  What the opponents of freedom have found themselves facing are millions of citizen activists, motivated by contempt for the assault on our nation, ready to do their part individually as well as part of a somewhat organized movement.

I subscribe to the idea that at this point a third national political party could serve only one purpose: electing Democrats.  That’s why I’m excited to see a Republican Party that is welcoming to this conservative citizen uprising as well as motivated citizens who choose to join the Party and help define a core conservative platform.  We recently awakened conservatives have a political party already; in fact, it needs us as much as we need it.  We can capitalize on what it does right and work to change what’s wrong.  Newly awakened citizens infuse new blood and enthusiasm into the Republican Party and can get it back on track, giving us a recipe for success.

It seems even political newbies like us can figure that out.  Many fed up citizens are doing what I am: entering the fray by joining the Republican Party, making friends, voicing our views, and speaking out against our leftist enemies.  We’re attending rallies, joining organizations, blogging, writing letters to the editors of local newspapers, making YouTube videos, evangelizing our friends, and keeping our eye on what matters: core principles.  Those aren’t going to fade over time, regardless of how we may be labeled.

I’m delighted to see the left wring its collective hands over an entity with no single leader, no headquarters, no “bullseye” at which they may aim.  I’m pleased to watch them waste time and resources trying to identify a single monolithic Tea Party movement, try to portray certain Sarah Palin types as the de facto leader, and throw the same old Alinsky playbook at the straw man they’ve created.  All the while they’re motivating us even more, the average citizen-turned-activist who continues to fly under their radar.  We’re out here in numbers, we’re resolute in our cause, and we’ll make our presence known during every legislative session and election cycle.

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