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“Amorphous” Aspect of Tea Parties:
Evidence of Their Grassroots Nature

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:08 am - April 19, 2009.
Filed under: Tea Party

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.)

Having now attended three tea parties (one back in February), I agree that the movement is kind of amorphous.  The rally in Santa Monica was a particularly “haphazard” affair.

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.

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30 Comments

  1. All these posts really just leave me with the impression that you’re trying to convince yourself. Repeatedly insisting how ‘grassroots’ you are also seems to be not much more than mimicry of the Democratic Party, you’ve seen their grassroots efforts pay off and would like to copy it. But all you’re really doing is co-opting a word. The type of grassroots organization that lead to Democratic success isn’t anything like whatever you guys are doing.

    For starters, Democrats always had a clearly defined platform – there simply isn’t much to talk about if you haven’t bothered to definitely state where you are on the issues. Democrats also had both short-term, higher priority goals (targeting weak Republicans) and long-term, lower priority goals (targeting crappy Democrats). Democrats also had a leader with a solid strategy in Howard Dean and others, who began laying the groundwork for a network of distributed, local leadership in all 50 states at this point in Bush’s second term. That’s a grassroots formula for success.

    You guys not only don’t have any of that stuff, but you seem proud of that fact. You’re bragging that you don’t have a platform, that there’s no one in charge, and that you aren’t sure where to go from here? Those are not good signs for the health of your movement.

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 5:21 am - April 19, 2009

  2. But, when they let their rage define our activism, they become blind to the legitimacy of our movement.

    And oh yeah, this again. Read my lips: No one is raging against the tea parties. We’re all having quite a laugh. We think it’s funny. I would like to see you guys continue so that I may continue to be entertained. I also happen to think it’s really bad for your party’s already not-so-good electoral chances in the future. If I was defining your activism with my rage, as you put it, wouldn’t I simply be asking you to stop?

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 5:26 am - April 19, 2009

  3. The type of grassroots organization that lead to Democratic success isn’t anything like whatever you guys are doing.

    Soooo…..”grassroots” means being organized by the DNC, MorOn.org, DailyKOSholes, campaigns and/or union rent-a-mobs?

    You’re bragging that you don’t have a platform, that there’s no one in charge,

    Yep. That’s precisely what you’re saying.

    Worse yet, you think it’s funny that those ignorant Proles aren’t just biting on a pillow like you are. Yeesh!

    If I was defining your activism with my rage, as you put it, wouldn’t I simply be asking you to stop?

    Nope. Liberals don’t do anything “simply”. They criticize and harrass hoping to make people stop. In their attempts to “bring down” Bush, they didn’t rely on any honest criticism, they had to make shit up like outing super-duper double secret CIA agents or creating and steering massive hurricanes to pick on poor liberals. They can’t even wreck an economy “simply”.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 19, 2009 @ 5:54 am - April 19, 2009

  4. That, and they can’t even steal an election “simply”.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 19, 2009 @ 5:55 am - April 19, 2009

  5. Soooo…..”grassroots” means being organized by the DNC, MorOn.org, DailyKOSholes, campaigns and/or union rent-a-mobs?

    Whatever dude. If you guys feel like running around like chickens with your heads cut off, more power to you. I appreciate having reliable, innovative leadership that can get the job done. If you want to eschew all that in favor of letting Fox News co-opt your little movement to bolster their ratings, please continue.

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 6:03 am - April 19, 2009

  6. Then why don’t you say that you prefer being a sheep instead of claiming (falsely) that it’s “grassroots”?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 19, 2009 @ 6:36 am - April 19, 2009

  7. Levi’s comments are the kind of rhetoric that will keep the movement alive.

    When seeds are sown, some will land on rock, take root quickly but fade quickly with no room to grasp; some will land in the weeds and take root but will be strangled; some will land in fertile soil and flourish.

    The Democrats really think that Obama is the one but the real test is coming with Isreal. If he turns his back on Isreal it will be to the whole party’s demise.

    Comment by EDinTampa — April 19, 2009 @ 7:16 am - April 19, 2009

  8. I agree- I had over 40 students from my school to go the event, and when I asked them what the event was about, every one of them had different answers- taxes, spending, rights, liberty, God, guns, history- all were given as reasons for being there- the Tea Party event was indeed an amorphous grassroots effort.

    Comment by A Conservative Teacher — April 19, 2009 @ 8:56 am - April 19, 2009

  9. (Wonder if, after February 24, 2004, [Sullivan] ever found “rage” to be a defining quality of the anti-Iraq War protests.)

    Just to underscore your point – as I recall, Sullivan used to find “rage” to be a quality of the Left’s anti-American protests, before his epiphany/disorientation on 2/24/2004. He used to write about how the Left shows a childish, mentally disturbed “rage at reality”. Example from April 2003:

    THE LEFT’S DESPAIR: I was walking through my neighborhood the other day – in D.C.’s hyper-p.c. Adams Morgan – and I swear I’ve been seeing a few more anti-war posters since the war ended. The signs are perhaps expressions of some kind of rage at reality, especially a reality that has surely undermined some of the anti-Bush left’s cherished nostrums – that American military intervention is always evil, that nothing good can come from any Bush policy, that Iraqis will loathe being liberated, and so on. Some people on the left whom I respect have also gone off what can only be called the deep end. Michael Lind is sadly one. Paul Krugman is another…

    I can see why the left will disagree with Bush on certain issues: judicial restraint, tax cuts, a pro-active, rather than defensive, war on terror… But the domestic record of Bush doesn’t begin to justify the hysterical opprobrium thrown at him… the level of animosity has now gone to truly unhinged levels… it’s bad news for Democrats and worse news for anyone who believes, as I do, that an intelligent opposition helps good government, rather than hinders it.

    But, “that was then”, as they say.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 19, 2009 @ 9:34 am - April 19, 2009

  10. The Democrats really think that Obama is the one but the real test is coming with Isreal. If he turns his back on Isreal it will be to the whole party’s demise.

    Ed, I agree but I would go a little farther. If the Dear Teleprompter *doesn’t* turn his back on Israel, as many on the Left want, that will also tend toward the Democratic party’s demise. The two issues that are going to do him in, one way or another, be it in 4 years or 8, are (1) the return of Carter-esque domestic inflation, and (2) Israel.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 19, 2009 @ 9:38 am - April 19, 2009

  11. Back on GPW’s point – You know who *doesn’t* have “amorphous” rallies, Ms. Andrew Sullivan? You know who has real top-down message discipline at their rallies, the kind you could admire? The anti-American, Soros-funded (and/or Communist-organized) Left.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 19, 2009 @ 9:41 am - April 19, 2009

  12. Levi, you really do miss the whole point. This “tea party” phenomenon is not a partisan thing. To be sure, there are more Republicans than Democrats, but that is because the people who are fiscally conservative tend not to be Democrats.

    I am not sure why you are so stuck on “organization” as your benchmark. Isn’t organized spontaneous combustion an oxymoron?

    My Congressional district has a Democrat Representative for the first time in my memory. Four months into his first term he is running scared about reelection, because anger at George Bush has turned into anger at Socialism and fiscal irresponsibility. I will not be the least bit surprised to see him go down in flames, unless he turns full fledged Blue Dog and listens to the “unorganized” grassroots.

    Laugh, if you will. But the writing in on the wall. No President can make the current tax and borrow plan work. Obama is spending his capital and goodwill by this campaigner in chief strategy. When the economy is suffering, “hope” is thin soup. When the economy is suffering, “change” must have an honest and obvious ring to it.

    True idiots can grasp anti-war sentiment and get fired up in the pitchfork and torches style. The ACORN target group is not much able to grasp how a secure life is achieved. Those who respond to the “tea party” call are not disaffected droolers and malcontents looking for more handouts. They are like home schoolers. Determined, smart and dedicated to seeing positive things happen.

    Laugh at us if you will, but we do not feel that our economy, our future, and securing the blessings of liberty on ourselves and our posterity is a laughing matter.

    Comment by heliotrope — April 19, 2009 @ 10:04 am - April 19, 2009

  13. Levi laughs because he’s scared.

    The problem with the amorphous nature of the tea parties is that it does need to be focused. I think the next thing that needs to be done by the grassroots is to besiege their local governments, the best to affect fiscial conservatism on the local level. Social conservatism will follow suit, as once the money dries up for ‘feel good’ projects, people will have their own self direction and privacy again.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 19, 2009 @ 11:38 am - April 19, 2009

  14. Levi wrote: I appreciate having reliable, innovative leadership that can get the job done. and he wrote; Democrats also had both short-term, higher priority goals (targeting weak Republicans) and long-term, lower priority goals (targeting crappy Democrats).

    Just what, exactly, is the job that needs to be done (other than targeting conservative pols from both parties)? Does any of this important work include, oh, looking after the interests of citizens and the country?

    I don’t expect an actual answer – libs won’t debate ideas. Instead, they’ll regurgitate something about “Bush did this” or “looming theocracy”.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — April 19, 2009 @ 12:48 pm - April 19, 2009

  15. Levi, if Democrats had a clearly defined platform, as you claim, how come Obama ran for President promising a “net spending cut,” yet once elected, delivered a severe spending explosion?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — April 19, 2009 @ 12:54 pm - April 19, 2009

  16. GP friends! This is perfect. The fact that this “haphazard” affair is being so condemned and mocked by the smug and frightened big Govt fans on the left, shows that the tea parties are dangerous indeed! Remember, this is just the beginning! Imagine what will happen when angry patriots who are tired of being mocked and robbed organize in a few years, when the TP movement has caught like wildfire. We have already seen well attended TPs, but they weren’t HUGE. But the great thing is, they will be, soon. July 4th will be a dangerous time for the sneering media Jackals, for they will realize that instead of mocking us into submission we have only grown louder. the Rage has a voice, a voice that is loud, clear, and ready to go back to a better day for patriots! Keep dumping the crates in the Harbor!

    Comment by untrendypatriot — April 19, 2009 @ 12:54 pm - April 19, 2009

  17. Levi, if Democrats had a clearly defined platform, as you claim, how come Obama ran for President promising a “net spending cut,” yet once elected, delivered a severe spending explosion?

    I never expected or wanted him to do that. He’s on his own with that statement. The liberals that put him into office always had as part of their platform bigger spending – that’s how we expect the economy to recover.

    Obama doesn’t define the liberal platform, and in many ways he’s come up short in supporting it. That said, it is still early, and he’s immeasurably more in line with it than George Bush ever was with the stated goals of the Republican party.

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 1:12 pm - April 19, 2009

  18. Just what, exactly, is the job that needs to be done (other than targeting conservative pols from both parties)? Does any of this important work include, oh, looking after the interests of citizens and the country?

    I don’t expect an actual answer – libs won’t debate ideas. Instead, they’ll regurgitate something about “Bush did this” or “looming theocracy”.

    I’m not even sure what the question is. The Democratic Party is far from perfect, it’s barely even good. They take for granted support from liberal progressives, and they can do that because we have no place else to go. The guys we elected aren’t doing the things we elected them to do, but that hardly comes as a surprise to most of us. It hasn’t been all bad though, and while I have dozens of complaints, I do feel the interests of the citizens and the country are being better looked after than they were in the Bush administration.

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 1:26 pm - April 19, 2009

  19. Levi laughs because he’s scared.

    And The_Livewire keeps insisting I’m scared because he’s actually terrified.

    Comment by Levi — April 19, 2009 @ 1:28 pm - April 19, 2009

  20. I never expected or wanted him to do that. He’s on his own with that statement. The liberals that put him into office always had as part of their platform bigger spending – that’s how we expect the economy to recover.

    And as usual, progressives lied to the American public.

    Why do you need to lie, levi? Why can’t you and your fellow progressives just campaign on the truth — that you demand massive increases in government spending and massive tax increases, and that you and your fellow “progressives” simply don’t pay your taxes, as we saw with Sebelius, Solis, Daschle, Geithner, Rangel, and Stark?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 19, 2009 @ 2:24 pm - April 19, 2009

  21. If I was defining your activism with my rage, as you put it, wouldn’t I simply be asking you to stop?

    That’s what you’re doing, Levi. You’re calling us racists, you’re calling us sore losers, you’re insulting everyone, you’re doing everything in your power to make it uncomfortable for us to continue.

    Unfortunately for screaming leftists like yourself, we know what a hypocrite you are. We know you support racist behavior like Kwame Kilpatrick, Louis Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton. We know you support lying to the American public, as you admit that you did when you and your fellow progressives claimed Obama would cut spending. We know you support increasing taxes on the poor and minorities to pay for your free healthcare, as you just did.

    It says volumes about your parents that they raised a child who believes that he can namecall and insult other people into doing his bidding. It also demonstrates why you hate businesses and productive people so much, because no office would tolerate someone like you who lies in order to manipulate people and who resorts to namecalling and sexual innuendo when people do things he doesn’t like.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 19, 2009 @ 2:31 pm - April 19, 2009

  22. The power of the tea parties is the as-yet unorganized energy of ordinary people coming out of the woodwork to demonstrate — many for the first time in their lives (like me). It’s Howard Beale for our times. I have no worries that this movement will organize and be immensely influential.

    Comment by Juju — April 19, 2009 @ 2:37 pm - April 19, 2009

  23. #17: “The liberals that put him into office always had as part of their platform bigger spending – that’s how we expect the economy to recover.”

    We know. That’s what makes you complete fuc*ing morons. However, we concede that Obama won the election and the Democrats have a majority in Congress, so your party can/will do whatever it wants (behind closed doors in the dead of night, natch). The problem is that what you call “giving Obama a chance” requires the rest of us to sit quietly and watch you foolishly gamble away trillions of dollars, taken by force from the productive, to the detriment of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And when it doesn’t work (AND IT WON’T), that money will be gone forever, and there will be no reckoning. You will blame Republicans for ALL OF IT, and refuse to take any responsibility, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that Republicans had nothing to do with launching this Titanic. We just get to watch it go over the falls (as predicted) and then brace ourselves for the blame. And that, Levi, is why YOU SUCK.

    Comment by Sean A — April 19, 2009 @ 2:37 pm - April 19, 2009

  24. #22: “It’s Howard Beale for our times.”

    How right you are, Juju. Just watched Network again the other night. Genius.

    Comment by Sean A — April 19, 2009 @ 2:40 pm - April 19, 2009

  25. I do feel the interests of the citizens and the country are being better looked after than they were in the Bush administration.

    How so?
    The government can’t create jobs and the increased taxes on those who can takes money away from them that they can be using to pay new employees. Not to mention the fact that increased taxes encourages them to move those jobs to other countries with lower taxes.

    Il Douche was supposed to help people with their mortgages so that people could keep the homes they couldn’t afford. Many of those folks still can’t afford the payments and are still defaulting.

    I’ll ask you an easy one. How does spending $13 billion on a commuter rail system, which nobody wants or will use, going to help the economy?

    I should think that as a cheerleader for massive debt, you would be able to easily explain how it will benefit us. And yet, so far you’ve never answered any questions about it. You just move on to the next bumper sticker slogan.

    Running up massive debt and raising taxes didn’t get us out of the Clinton recession or help the recovery after 9/11. Nor did it bring in the record revenues into the treasury we experienced under Bush. So why in God’s name should we believe that it would work now?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 19, 2009 @ 6:03 pm - April 19, 2009

  26. Or is it that Il Douche is on TV everyday, like Big Brother, that convinces you that he’s doing a better job?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 19, 2009 @ 6:31 pm - April 19, 2009

  27. Comment #23 by Sean A is awesome and is exactly the words Levi needs to read. That was quite a smackdown! Levi, you may be a well intentioned fellow with politics I disagree with, but even you have to admit that the way Obama is throwing money down the tubes will not help us or our children. IT JUST WON”T!

    A new day is coming in 2012, America will not be fooled again!

    Comment by untrendypatriot — April 20, 2009 @ 1:49 am - April 20, 2009

  28. Well now the meme from the administration is ‘dissent is unhealthy‘ per David Axelrod.

    I guess it’s up to those judges Levi worships so much to decide that Obama’s right to govern is more important in the constitution than freedom of speech, assembly, etc.

    I am terrified Levi. I’m terrified at an administration that is putting my godchildren in debt. I’m terrifed that we have a president who coddles terrorists in the Middle East, and pledges my money to support them. I’m terrified that apparently his only reply to anti-american tirades is ‘thank heavens it wasn’t about me.’

    I’m terrified that Obama’s reply to Iranian roadside bombs is to ‘talk’. That to Americans imprisoned in Iran for journalism is to ‘talk’. That he’s willing to make tangible physical concessions to Cuba for ‘talk’. That a nuclear Iran requires ‘talk’.

    Yet he’s not willing to ‘talk’ about the millions of people who are upset with where he’s taking us. He brands us as ‘unhealthy’.

    But hey, you’re still believing that it was an evil plan by BushCheneyHaliburton to invade Iraq, and that somehow even though they pulled off this amazing plan they somehow forgot to put lots of WMDs in Iraq, and President Bush is a ‘moron’. So don’t let reality get in the way of your mocking screeds.

    Comment by The Livewire — April 20, 2009 @ 6:57 am - April 20, 2009

  29. Frank, I mised an i-a-n in the post.

    Comment by The Livewire — April 20, 2009 @ 6:57 am - April 20, 2009

  30. “If I was defining your activism with my rage, as you put it, wouldn’t I simply be asking you to stop?”

    Well, not asking so much as demanding….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWHgUE9AD4s

    Comment by Stephen R — April 20, 2009 @ 1:19 pm - April 20, 2009

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