Perhaps the most accurate description of the tea parties in one of Andrew Sullivan’s tirades against this grassroots phenomenon was his use of the adjective “amorphous” to slur the rallies To be sure, he used that word to modify our “rage.” (Wonder if, after February 24, 2004, he ever found “rage” to be a defining quality of the anti-Iraq War protests.)
But, this is how grassroots movements begin, as amorphous affairs, gatherings of a diverse array of individuals with a common concern, but lacking a set agenda on how to address that concern. So, we take the streets, meeting others who share that concern, in this case about an ever-growing federal government. Once together, we start working on means to improve our amorphous movement so we might better reach our goals.
If they were astroturf, they would have had been better organized, had more structure. A platform would have preceded the protests. And now, let’s hope the protests lead to a platform.
Those who criticize us are welcome to do so. It’s their right as Americans. But, when they let their rage define our activism, they become blind to the legitimacy of our movement.