My friend and fellow grassroots organizer, Eric Odom, debates a sarcastic and dismissive Bill Press about the TEA Parties – who started them, who’s funding them, and what they mean – on Fox News Channel. Here’s the video clip.
A few notes:
Bill’s opening quip – “I smell a rat” – made me roll my eyes. And his contention that the Tea Parties are “not genuine” and are “funded by big Republican groups” and that the “timing is politically suspicious”…are ill-informed, wrong, and frankly, silly.
The TEA Party movement was and is a grassroots thing. It started with a few small blogger-groups who organized some small demonstrations awhile back, and then the idea spread like wildfire online (“new media”) and on the “small” airwaves: via blogs, email forwards, BlogTalkRadio, RFC Radio, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Ning networking sites, message boards, and chat rooms.
The biggest evidence that this is a grassroots effort is the lack of funding and the lack of central control/planning. Here in Nevada, I’ve seen about a dozen different web pages posting 3 different locations and a dozen different time windows for the TEA (Taxed Enough Already!) Party events. People got wind of the idea, liked it, and started organizing their own mini-events among their own friends and networks. When they all show up today, it will be Big – but not because the mythical Vast Right Wing Consiracy and/or Big GOP is behind it.
Here in Las Vegas, there was/is NO BUDGET for our Tea Party event. A few dozen very committed leader-volunteers and about 800 local volunteer-helpers spread the word about the event/rally. The only money spent (that I’m aware of) was the $200 plunked down this past Friday by Chuck Muth of Citizen Outreach, for a picnic area at Sunset Park. Chuck offered to do this when he got wind that we (the organizers and volunteers) were being told that local radio station KXNT – which wanted/wants to cover the event – could not set up a broadcast table, nor could we set up a small podium, mic, and sound/speakers, on or near the sidewalks at the designated protest areas.
Most of the people I know who are attending here have NEVER participated in a protest or a picket line. General disgust and a wish to be heard has drawn them out.
Whatever the Snarkmeisters wish to say, the Tax Day TEA Parties are a grassroots, post-partisan/non-partisan thing. People are simply fed up with the endless bailouts, lack of accountability and transparency, ridiculous earmarks, huge deficits, frightening federal budget, and the like.