Saturday, February 6, 2010

Conventional Thinking

This weekend, they are holding the first Tea Party convention down in Nashville. The 600 delegates attending undoubtedly see this as the next step in the evolutionary process of this movement, and one that will take it (and perhaps them) to the next level of political influence. I am not so certain. 

For while this may be the opportunity to guide this exciting vehicle of change in the politics of this country into the future, it might just as easily prove to be a carjacking. Take for example, the $549 registration fee for delegates to the convention, and some of the pretty steep room rates at the swank (I have stayed there and I know) Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Take a closer look at its high profile speakers, some of which have since canceled. 

Consider if you will, the steak and lobster on the menu this evening for their keynote dinner. These trappings seem hardly in keeping with the grassroots nature of the Tea Party movement. Consider as well, that squabbling has already broken out between two disputing groups over control of this first convention (and perhaps the money that might be made from it). For in fact, this convention is being run by a for profit corporation, the Tea Party Nation. This all reminds me of one of the old classic black and white movie plots in which the ability to move people of an actor or musician is subverted by a greedy movie or music business. 

Oh it all starts off innocently enough with someone possessing the raw talent of an unknown and the power of an idea. By the time that it finally hits the big time however, it has been taken over by the agents, the professional handlers, and the money people. Much of what was pure and good in the original concept (or person) is lost in the desperate scramble of greedy power brokers to cash in on something 'too good to miss'. 

Since the Massachusetts election, it is apparent that those whose profession is the pursuit and use of political power have finally noticed the new talent on the field of play. Having previously written off much of the Tea Party movement as little more than disaffected malcontents with no prestige; they now recognize it as a potentially powerful, but mostly amateur undertaking that could easily be directed by the right 'leader'. 

And while I cannot read into the minds of the delegates attending this weekend, I wonder how many realize the tremendous danger that exists to co-opt their message and principles and subvert the Tea Party movement into the very thing that they despise. I wonder if they can see these vultures of power circling this first gathering and waiting for a opportunity to feed. 

The principles that the Tea Party movement of today are trying to emulate are for the most part those of the Founding Fathers, and are therefore to be praised. If they are not careful however, this movement could easily become the tool of the very 'business as usual politics' of today that they now seek to end. If they are not constantly on their guard, I fear that they could easily fall prey to Conventional Thinking.


Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Tsk, tsk, tsk a budding new political movement turned into a commercial enterprise, just like the other 2 parties...

A pity that :-(

Tim Higgins said...


I'm not sure that they have succumbed to the same disease yet, but they are certainly showing the initial signs of a fever.