THE VIEW FROM RIGHT OF CENTER
By Doug Crosse
Be a Tea Party Evangelist
You were mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. Fearful of the direction America was taking. Tired of the government’s increasing control of your life. Fed up with politicians that spoke out of both sides of their mouths, not keeping their promises to represent our best interests. Outraged over the economy and disappearance of your life savings. Terrified by the vision of the America that will be inherited by your children and grandchildren. So you joined the Tea Party. Great, so now what?
Sure you’ve gone to a couple meetings (that is if your Tea Party group even holds them). You read the emails and blogs highlighting and grousing about issues and problems and pass a few on to others, and you even wrote a letter or two to the local newspaper. You may have even attended a government meeting or two. You probably peacefully picketed and carried a sign on tax or Election Day. What did you really accomplish?
The Tea Party wave has indeed grown and has made great political strides. But like it or not our numbers are few and our long-term effectiveness is not nearly assured. The leftist, liberal progressives consider the Tea Party only a minor inconvenience. That group is committed, well organized; very well funded and has been working for a long time. Lets not allow them to be right, that we are just an inconvenience. The only way we can succeed long term is to grow the Tea Party wave into a tsunami.
We can’t just be cheerleaders standing on the sidelines whipping up the crowd while not participating in the action on the field. Democracy only works if you participate.
Stop bitching and do something!
While sitting in a stadium on Easter Sunday morning it hit me like a ton of bricks. Evangelism! Regardless of value of Christ’s teachings, Christianity would have quickly died if it were not for the Disciples. They persevered in their mission, disregarding the threat to their very lives. Christianity grew exponentially. Without this evangelism Christianity would have died. Without growing any movement or organization will soon die. Remember back in the day when at a concert or event everyone would pull out their lighters and light them (nowadays it’s cell phones)? A few at first but soon like a million fireflies the entire place would be lit up. Well like the children’s song, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. That’s what the Tea Party movement needs.
The Tea Party doesn’t nearly face the same level of obstacles that Christianity or other “movements” have. The fact is there are a ton of mad as hell folks out there just waiting to become converts. They already agree with what the Tea Party is doing. They just need a little push, support and validation to get them to be come involved activists.
What are you doing to grow the Tea Party? What can you do? To begin with reach out to family friends and acquaintances, especially younger folks. Talk us up at meetings, events, church and your bowling league. Take positive actions and show a “yes we can attitude”. Invite a couple people to the next meeting or activity. Pass the word on line; make it a Tea Part chain letter. I just made up a nametag size sticker I’ve been wearing around town and a homemade bumper sticker that says: Mad as hell & not gonna take it any more? ASK ME ABOUT THE TEA PARTY. I’m astounded how many people do. I recently wore the sticker on my lapel at our Police/ Community Partnership Awards Luncheon. Five people commented and four asked to be involved in our Tea Party group. Now I wear it almost everywhere and folks just keep on asking. Be creative.
Our local Tea Party strongly believes it is critically important to be “legitimate”. Even though we may individually disagree that the government shouldn’t regulate name registrations, business licenses, not for profit tax operations and etc, we have done all that is “required”. It is a strong selling point to potential members and financial supporters. Not to mention we can be highly active and visible in the community without fear of public reproach.
You must be visible and vocal too. We just joined our Chamber of Commerce and had a booth at the community street fair. We didn’t need to be aggressive “carnival hawkers” several hundred attendees saw our sign and displays then came right up to us asking, “Where do we sign up?” We added over 100 new contacts to our email mailing and alert list.
Every three months or so hold a large General Membership meeting with the main intent of attracting new members. Keep the agenda free of business matters that are better decided at a regular meeting. Try to get a dynamic speaker who will attract folks. Keep the program informative and simple highlighting goals and issues. Promote it extensively around town with advertising and flyers. Most important have a sign in sheet.
Look for important issues on the agenda’s of local Government bodies. Attend those meetings, speak up, write letters and blogs, and email Tea Party compatriots and the newspapers. When you do proudly identify yourself as a Tea Party member. Folks will notice and be thankful you spoke up on their behalf, and thus no longer feeing alone, frustrated and powerless; will be much more likely to join us.
That which stops growing soon dies. Not acceptable! Fight on Tea Party Patriots!