“I’m striving for a country where a single-income family stands a chance,” one post said. “I’m going to school and holding strong to my conservative ideas,” said another.
These comments do not come from a Republican Party website, nor do they have any relation to the Democratic Party. The organization associated with these remarks is newer and closer to home. These comments come from a forum on the website of the Tea Party Patriot movement, a grass roots organization with the goals of fiscal responsibility, a Constitutionally limited government and free markets.
“These three principles encapsulate the entire purpose of the movement and are the limits of its influence,” founding member of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots and CHS parent Doug Mainwaring said. “Social issues are completely inconsequential to the movement—there are plenty of other groups and organizations that exist to deal with those.”
The National Capital Tea Party Patriots are currently working to elect candidates who will advocate for their core values in the upcoming November congressional elections.
“We are very much focused on all local and national elections to be held this year,” Mainwaring said. “Because of our close proximity to Washington, D.C., we feel we bear an extra responsibility to reach out to all members of the House of Representatives and Senate in any way we can.”
In addition to the National Capital Tea Party Patriots, there are many Maryland branches of the movement; the closest to Potomac are Help Save Maryland and Americans for Prosperity. Help Save Maryland opposes the use of tax dollars for programs and services to attract and sustain illegal aliens, while Americans for Prosperity works to change health care, reduce local taxes, reform pension and advocate for state government to embrace free market principles.
Thousands of Tea Party activists protested April 15 about the Obama administration and what they feel to be excessive taxation and government spending. In addition, according to Tea Party organizers, another 1,500 protests were staged around the same time.
While many have accused the Tea Party movement of being racist and violent, some studies have shown that the Tea Party has more support than has often been presented by the media.
According to a May 6 poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, the Tea Party is viewed 30 percent negatively, whereas the Republican and Democratic parties are both viewed 42 percent negatively.
“This scientific approach has yielded a more reliable snapshot of Tea Party participants,” Mainwaring wrote in a May 3 Washington Post commentary. “The initial picture departs considerably from the long-held assertions [about the movement].”
According to an April 14 New York Times article, the average Tea Party member tended to be white, male and over the age of 45. Twenty-five percent of supporters feel that the government favors blacks over whites in comparison with the 11 percent of the general public. However, social issues are not among the goals stated specifically by the Tea Party movement.
While the Tea Party movement has recently received some negative media attention, Tea Party members stand by their mission statement to attract, educate, organize and mobilize fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with their three core values (see below).
“One question that keeps getting raised is whether the Tea Party movement is more of a conservative phenomenon or a libertarian one,” Mainwaring wrote in his Washington Post commentary. “The Tea Party movement forms a realm in which the two easily can converge. Libertarians and conservatives have found wholehearted agreement and have formed a powerful coalition to bring about change in Washington—change our Founding Fathers would have believed in.”
The next meetings of the National Capital Tea Party are scheduled for May 26 in McLean, VA, and June 6 in Bethesda, MD. The organization is also planning a march on Washington, D.C., tentatively scheduled for Sept. 12.
The 3 Core Values:
Fiscal Responsibility: The Tea Party movement supports the people’s right to spend the money they have earned, and feels that taxes have risen too high. The movement is concerned that government spending is a threat to the personal and economic liberty of future generations.
Constitutionally Limited Government: The Tea Party supports states rights for the powers not specifically listed in the Constitution as said in the 10th amendment and supports the personal liberty of individual within the confines of the law.
Free Markets: The Tea Party holds that personal and economic freedom cannot be separated, and that government interference in the market is inhibiting progress of the individual. The Tea Party would like a return to the principles of a free market.