When Professor Jacobson reported that cancer funding research had been used to smear the Tea Party, calling it a tool of a big tobacco and the Koch brothers based on plans hatched over a decade ago, I had one thought:
Anti-Tea Party advocates suffer from the single biggest case of projection in the history of humanity.
This week marks the fourth anniversary of the start of my citizen activism, and it is a good time to review what got me, as well as thousands of other Americans, involved in grassroots efforts at that time.
Most of the original “Tea Party” organizers joined the developing national-scale protest in 2009 because we were deeply concerned about our children’s futures. Between the enormous expenditures of the Toxic Asset Relief Program and the “Stimulus Package”, many of us were reeling over the fact our taxpayer concerns were being ignored, and the result would be making our children indentured servants of the state to pay off the enormous debt.
The Koch brothers did not enter into this calculation at all.
Dawn Wildman, the President of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition and my fellow co-founder, responded to this assertion by the National Cancer Institute:
“I volunteered to hold the first Tea Party in San Diego, because I knew there had to be other people who were like me, frustrated with the spending we saw our Republican legislators advocating. I don’t know the Koch Brothers and I have never had anyone from their organizations even offer me money or advice on advocating for the American citizen. Now, other national groups cannot say the same. But the local organizers are all self funded, and we only take advice from each other — not some Beltway insiders, Big Tobacco, or the Koch Brothers.”
Women, with an eye to the future and a hand on the checkbook, were the dominant force in the start of the efforts, and make up a majority of the local group coordinators and the membership. It was women, and not the Koch Brothers, who gave birth to the Tea Party movement.
Keli (”Liberty Belle”) Carender became one of the founding mothers of the Tea Party Movement when she organized the Seattle protest against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a.k.a. Porkulus. In a letter sent to Michelle Malkin she reminds us of what the first “tea party” was about back in 1773 and how Americans are suffering similar oppression under present day tyrants.
Interestingly, Team Obama’s track record with women is less than stellar. It is well known that the pay for women on staff is substantially less than for men, and a female debate coach complained of a “hostile work environment” at the White House. Now, there is a petition drive calling Obama on the carpet for using women as rhetorical tools, instead of referring them as sentient voters: Stop using the “wives, mothers, & daughters” rhetorical frame that defines women by their relationships to other people. (hat-tip, Tammy Bruce)
Defining women by their relationships to other people is reductive, misogynist, and alienating to women who do not define ourselves exclusively by our relationships to others. Further, by referring to “our” wives et al, the President appears to be talking to The Men of America about Their Women, rather than talking to men AND women.
Please embrace inclusive language, Mr. President.
Today, many of the women of the Tea Party have moved on from rallies into school boards and elective office. And, as this video from Sarah Palin reminds us, we are directed by our interest in our children, not the Koch brothers. It was true in 2009, and it is true now.