Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tea parties becoming a force in politics

For those inclined to think in traditional terms of Democrats/liberals and Republicans/conservatives, understanding "tea parties" has proved to be an elusive undertaking. This is so largely because the movement lies outside the scope of contemporary political models and practices. Activism among the liberal urban population has been part of the landscape for some time. Activism among people all across the country who demand decency and responsibility from those in Washington has not been prominent until now. Consequently, there have been mischaracterizations and misunderstandings of the tea party movement by those thinking in traditional, two-party terms. While many on the left have attempted to write off the movement because of so-called "AstroTurf" efforts by power players on the right to co-opt it (i.e., Newt Gingrich's American Solutions, Dick Armey's Freedom Works), the fact remains that there is a genuine grass-roots phenomenon that no top-down power structure will succeed in controlling. Those in the movement reject the agenda of the Democratic majority and recognize the GOP desperately needs revitalization. To be sure, the GOP needs to return to its basic principles or it will die a painful death in 2010; meanwhile, it's becoming more and more more

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