The Rise of the TEAR Parties
Organized protesters are disrupting the public events of Republican congressmen, and media commentators have widely proclaimed them the new TEA Party. Are these protest groups truly similar to the TEA parties? Will they become a lasting movement that revitalizes the Democratic Party, or is this wishful thinking?
Taxed Enough Already (TEA) was a reality felt by people who had long seen their tax dollars wasted, squandered or embezzled by government. Examples include public schools that spend twice that of private schools, but produce the worst students in the country; city executives of small towns making ten times the median income while doing one-fourth the work; and public employees making three to five times private industry while doing half the work. They saw nepotism and patronage in expensive and unproductive local and state government, and bureaucratic waste, incompetence and frustration in an expensive and counterproductive federal government.
The watchdog groups that seeded the TEA parties existed long before 2009. They would occasionally bend the ears of politicians, but the ones profiting from government would never listen. Strangely enough, the press that proclaimed itself "the watchdog of government" never gave these watchdog groups much attention, except when the most scandalous activity was exposed, and maybe not even then. These groups were largely ignored. Perhaps they failed to connect the government excesses to the peoples' pain, or perhaps the people failed to realize they were suffering under government that cost far more than its worth, but in 2009, that changed.
Contrary to the media narrative, Obama had little to do with it, other than dragging a coattail full of tax-and-spend, nepotic, and patronizing Democrats. Rising tax bills with declining incomes and property values formed a cattle prod. Everyone experienced the pain of excessive taxation, and when people sought answers and became wise to the causes, their blood didn't boil, it exploded. These groups became known as TEA parties. Their meetings routinely involved presentations by policy experts and reports on government activities. The name of Jesus was often invoked, and many palms slapped into faces, yet everything they heard was sourced, cited, and real. Government was a nightmare, and they had discovered that the hard way. When Speaker Pelosi proclaimed, "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it", the TEA parties already knew what was in it, from where and why it originated, what it would do and was intended to do, and they were horrified and outraged. History was repeating itself, in a bad way.
The TEA parties organized rallies, for which people took time off and paid their own way to attend. In general, about two-thirds of Republicans heeded the TEA parties, while only 15% of Democrats gave them some consideration. The other third of Republicans made excuses for maintaining the establishment, while the vast majority of Democrats openly laughed at the TEA parties' concerns. The response of the Democrats was particularly confounding. They simultaneously proclaimed the TEA parties "Republican AstroTurf", while they expressed concern that these anti-establishment outsiders were taking over the Republican Party. Which was it? Considering that the Republican establishment made the same complaint, it was most definitely the latter. About 20% of TEA party attendees had routinely voted Democrat, and many had been politically inactive for decades. The TEA parties protested Republicans and Democrats, but the Democrats gave the wrong answer. Democrats implicitly or explicitly embraced everything that people saw as wrong in government, mocked their concerns, and lost.
By 2016, the TEA parties had secured management of many local and state Republican organizations, and the local governments they influenced were addressing their concerns; however, this was more the ideal than the norm. Their righteous struggles had been met with opposition from establishment Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats, and strangely enough, a news media that had become propagandists for establishment and Democrat-controlled governments. In most places, the cattle prod was still the reality, and the cause of the TEA parties was still strong; and so Donald Trump was elected president.
No sooner was Trump inaugurated than the organized protests began. First came marches for women's rights, where the protesters expressed their concerns by repeatedly chanting, "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!" The pattern repeated itself. Not a single one of these groups, among their leadership or their members, has expressed any substantive policy position. On the occasions that they have attempted to do so, their statements are based more on slander and debunked fallacies than knowledge and reason. Unlike the TEA parties, whose participants addressed substantive issues from positions of knowledge and reason, these new protesters do nothing but decry Republicans and disrupt communication. You might say that they are a Tantrum at Every Action of Republicans (TEAR) party. Pronounce it whichever way you want, for they exist to cry and divide.
Who are these TEAR parties? A group of about 170 protesters gathered outside a meeting of the Palatine Township Republican Organization, at which Congressman Peter Roskam was the invited speaker. A week earlier, the leaders of the group had attempted to blindside Roskam with a media stunt, but failed. This protest was ostensibly about Roskam "hiding" from pro-ACA groups, except that Roskam had already met with two real pro-ACA lobbying groups that same week. This TEAR Party was a stunt, and at its head was the Democratic committeeman for Palatine Township. Other connected Democrats were also in the crowd. The protesters brought juvenile and teenage children to inflate their ranks, and the media cameramen used optical illusions that increased their apparent numbers. Not all of the protesters were Democratic partisans, but this was, without question, an event orchestrated by the Democratic Party and enhanced by the media. Likewise, Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer forgot to bring the "real people" to their TEAR Party event outside the Supreme Court. Examples of paid protesters and hired actors abound.
The TEAR parties bear little resemblance to the TEA parties. The TEA parties grew as people experienced the pain of excessive government, informed themselves and addressed their concerns to both political parties. The TEA parties will be long-lived, as the sword of bad government perpetually hangs above our heads. The TEAR parties are organized by Democrats, and consist of partisans and misinformed masses whose grievances are based mostly on slander and deception, and are aimed at Republicans alone. Those who honestly care about policy are acting separately from and more productively than the TEAR parties. The pool of gimmes and misinformed is also perpetual, but always in flux. Lacking any substance, the TEAR parties cry and disrupt. The Republican committeeman for Palatine made an interesting observation: the Illinois municipal elections are fast approaching, but rather than creating a slate of candidates, the Palatine Democrats have chosen to throw a tantrum.