Hot Steeping Tea
Despite media obituaries proclaiming their demise, the Tea Party is alive and well. And highly energized. Like with Mark Twain, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
Lugar was an establishment guy. How could he not be after 36 years in the Senate? He claimed to be a conservative. But endorsements from a pro-union group and a voting record that supported both of Obama's Supreme Court choices said otherwise. Lugar was even praised by the L.A. Times, hardly the home of conservative anything. Barack Obama and Democrat Senators John Kerry and Dick Durbin thought Lugar was a wonderful senator. Good indicators, all, that Indiana voters made the right choice to send him packing.
Lugar misjudged the mood of the electorate and lost touch with the values of his constituents. He sought votes in a state where he didn't even live and was surprised when polls showed him behind. In the end, his defeat was no surprise to anyone. As November approaches, other GOP incumbents have started to notice Lugar's misfortune and wonder, "Could I be next?"
The short answer? Absolutely.
The political earthquake of November 2010 was a Tea Party-inspired event. Since then, the grassroots movement has matured from a simple protest movement into a professional coalition of local and national groups dedicated to re-establishing fiscal responsibility, constitutional rule, and accountability of elected officials. They know what they want. They've learned from their mistakes. And their political savvy is growing.
Numerous websites, blogs, and radio programs are being created every day by average Americans intent on defending their God-given rights. Writers, authors, speakers, filmmakers, musicians, actors, and artists have all added their talents and abilities to the cause. People of every background, race, profession, and religion are joining together in a vast and powerful citizens' movement to rein in our out-of-control federal government and hold unruly politicians' feet to the fire.
The Tea Party movement is no flash in the pan. It is not a fad, and it is not temporary. It is American patriotism and citizenship on fire. And it will continue to grow in strength and influence because it is born of the American people, stoked by a love of country and fanned by a deep yearning for liberty.
As the movement grows, expect to hear the same dire predictions and "woe is me" coming from liberals, progressives, media outlets, and moderate Republican policymakers. Just as they did two years ago, they'll mourn the good old days when Republicans were known for their "bipartisanship" and willingness to compromise rather than their loyalty to the Constitution.
The socialist left and the Republican establishment have a lot to lose in this election. They may even join forces as they suddenly realize that they have much more in common with each other than either would have believed.
They both seek power. They both seek wealth and influence. Their primary motivation is self-preservation. And they share a common, dreaded adversary.
A Constitution-wielding American public.
Washington political elites resent the restrictions placed upon them by those pesky, fading documents housed at the National Archives. Those Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Sacred texts of the American people. American scripture.
They're an obstacle to change. A maddening inconvenience, and a thorn in the side for many politicians. Revisit the town hall meetings held across America in 2010. Remember the shock and awe as squirming politicians were held to account by their constituents and forced to constitutionally justify their actions? Remember the look of bewilderment? The palpable sense of fear? The contempt from some of the nation's most lauded legislators?
They still feel the same way.
They fear that 2010 could happen all over again.
And rightly so.
Today, the American people remain a powerful force. Citizens' voices have immense influence. Because of the Tea Party, a more mature and seasoned citizenry will make their presence known in the halls of Congress. Their voices will be heard loud and clear in the West Wing and beyond. In state houses and local governments. In national capitals the world over. And for a long time to come.
The Tea Party did not just have a "comeback" in Indiana. The fact is that they never left in the first place. They've been working. Watching and waiting for the chance to make their wishes known. They are eager. Excited. And dedicated to their cause. The cause of a free nation and a free people.
Politicians of both parties should take notice. To ignore the Tea Party is to tempt fate and to risk being thrown overboard, like former Senator Richard Lugar, and like those 342 crates -- some 45 tons -- of English tea floating in Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773.
In 1773, tea was America's drink. Not so today. Coffee has become America's caffeinated drink of choice. Whether it's a $5 latte or an old-fashioned cup o' joe, coffee is everywhere. Fast and convenient. Gulp and go.
Tea is a different thing altogether.
Tea is a beverage of calm. Of culture. It cannot be rushed. It takes time, heat, and patience to develop its full potential. The longer it steeps, the deeper, stronger, more complex, and more robust it becomes.
Tea just takes time.
America's most pivotal presidential election since 1860 is now less than six months away.
Not long at all.
But in the world of tea, that's a long time to steep.
Jay Clarke is a businessman, writer, and lifelong conservative from Southern California. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @AmericanHeirs, or visit his blog at http://americanheirs.wordpress.com.