Congressional and Senatorial candidates did well and national media spokesmen said that a monolith had arrived.
But has it? Will the Tea Party's impact be as "national" as people are saying...or is it REALLY the strongest on a statewide level?
The last time the Tea Party held a public event at the Idaho State Capitol, I was a bit reserved.
I've been at many "steps of the Capitol" events for other things (and probably organized even more!), so my expectations were less than what others held.
In fact, I was somewhat jaded. "Who are these people?" I seemed to say to myself, maybe even stewing that they were attempting something like this. It wasn't out of jealousy, for I have too many "days in the sun" for my own good! I just didn't know many of them. This speaker, that speaker - all strangers to me. I knew a legislator or two, but they were sidebar stories to the real-deal.
And what is the real-deal?
Is it that citizens are becoming "active"? Maybe...but I long ago learned in politics that motion does not equal progress. Also, trendy things dissipate as a result of political abuse; from Goldwater to Reagan, from Gingrich to W, the road is littered with "activists" who were used up and tossed under the many, many campaign busses.
Is it that the GOP base, as the national media talking heads said, is "firming up" (whatever that means...)? Not really since so many of the folks really are not GOP-ites, in the strictest sense. They KNOW they're not Dems, yet they need a home towards which to head...and the Republicans invited them in.
So, what's the real-deal?
I can't define it, but I can describe it: They feel that something is desperately wrong in America and the mid-term election frustration with its anger showed it. The clear decision on what is NOT desired (Obamacare) and a notion that we as citizen-patriots (yep, that word is STILL a good word) moved plain people... such that they MUST stand up for their kids and grandkids.
This makes sense, since the Tea Party movement was founded by a grandmother...and picked up by parents, dads and moms who work a regular shift and are as far away from "political compromise" as left is from right.
So, with that, I changed a position. In the Spring I met with the Boise Tea Pary folks and liked them. Solid people, salt of the earth; military, retired, old and young - all folks who see their duty as serving in this capacity.
And I bet I'll attend their Capitol event on January 17th, this time with no side-glances and consternation in my eyes. Maybe I'll even listen....ha!