Well, here we are, April 13, 2012 and we have no Tax Day Tea Party event scheduled for this weekend. You may be wondering about that. Are rumors of the Tea Party’s demise true?
Not hardly. In this, the fourth year of the Chattanooga Tea Party’s existence, we decided that what is most important in this election year is to work inside the system as much as possible to change things. And our efforts and personal involvement are influencing local political decisions and campaigns to a degree we wouldn’t have thought possible three years ago. More about that in a moment.
In the past three years, we spent a lot of volunteer hours planning for and producing Tax Day Tea Party events. The first year’s event in 2009 drew 2,500 at Ross’s Landing. That’s when a lot of concerned citizens who had never previously participated in a political event realized they weren’t alone and that, together, our united voices just might carry significant weight.
In 2010, we saw a similar turnout for our event in Coolidge Park while the media seemed to focus on the first stirrings of what’s become the Occupy movement, an organization with strong ties – and funding – from Democrat and far left lobbying groups. Nevertheless, the rally served to help members coalesce around candidates and issues in the critical off-year election. We also hosted two well attended congressional debates that highlighted the different policy views and depth of knowledge of each of the candidates.
Last year, we had a terrific event laid out, featuring national columnist Star Parker and conservative guru Richard Viguerie – and bad weather spoiled our plans. While many of us had already been involved in political campaigns and citizen activism by then, it may have reinforced the growing realization that rallies are nice, but it’s our members’ frequent contact with politicians, letters to the editor, monthly meetings and citizen education that is beginning to make an impact locally.
You need to look back no further than this past year for proof. Our members have been involved in the recall of Mayor Littlefield, the education of elected officials and fellow citizens about the constitutionally subversive influences of Agenda 21, and, perhaps most significantly, putting together the hugely successful Liberty Forum featuring presidential candidate Rick Santorum and local elected officials and candidates. Many of us have gotten to know many of our local, state and federal elected representatives, and many of them take the time to follow up directly with our concerns on key issues.
In the meantime, we continue seeing new faces at our monthly meetings (which meet the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Century Club Banquet Hall, 3221 Harrison Pike off Access Road, just south of the Highway 153-Amnicola Highway intersection, next to The Lighting Gallery). This year alone, we have hosted Savas Kyriakidis, who provided a report from his recently-completed tour of duty in Afghanistan, authors Ken Freeman and Don Casey who talked about growing resistance to Agenda 21, and Dr. Bill Warner on Political Islam. Coming up, we’ll have candidates Mike Carter and Charles Joynes next week, and David Crockett in May.
The bottom line is that you, our members, are making a difference by becoming active, informed and involved citizens. While rallies are nice events that can get media attention and energize people within our group, it’s the daily attention to detail and commitment many of you make to attend city council, county commission and school board meetings that really make a difference in how we are perceived as a group and as individuals.
So, on this 4th Anniversary of our first Tax Day Tea Party rally, we want to thank those of you who participate as watchdogs of government officials at all levels. Let’s continue to work toward victory in November!
Larry Grohn, Secretary
Robert Hays, Treasurer
Gregg Juster, Vice President
Mark West, President