The tea party – though it may not have been grabbing many headlines lately – still is growing across America, because there’s so much wrong in Washington, according to a spokeswoman for one of the movement’s leading organizations.
“They’re always trying to say we’re looking backward. We’re trying to look forward,” Keli Carender, national grassroots coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, told WND.
On the path Washington is traveling now, there’s “less freedom, less opportunity, malaise again,” she said.
“Our solutions are tried and true, and actually the way forward. They are the solutions that will lift more people out of poverty, allow people to follow their dreams.”
WND reported yesterday a left-leaning organization that opposes “white nationalism” and “white privilege” had discovered via its own study that the tea party – which emphasizes limited, constitutional government responsive to its people – continues to grow.
The report came from the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which boasts of “new hope” for its “dreams for social and economic justice.” The group is led by Leonard Zeskind, who describes himself as “a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements.” He was trained as a community activist and has work for more than a decade in the field.
The report, “The Status of the Tea Party: Membership, Support and Sympathy by the Numbers,” looks at the state of the movement that arose in response to Barack Obama’s far-left agenda and helped Republicans regain the House in 2010.
“Against IREHR’s expectations, the national organizations at the center of the tea party movement have maintained stable memberships in 2013,” states the report, which analyzes membership, location and commitment to the ideals of the movement.
“During the past year, tea parties have endured leadership changes, significant splits, and the emergence of competitive forces. Nevertheless, core membership numbers have neither receded nor died, but grown by four percent.”
The author of the report, Devin Burghart, warned: “Tea partiers are more than minions for millionaires, or the sum of ballots cast on Election Day. They are not illusions created by public relations magicians. Over the last five years, real people have been involved in real activities aimed at impacting politics, culture, and civil society in negative ways.”
Carender told WND tea-party members already knew they still had influence.
“Groups are growing. They’re doing different things … service projects, food drives, clothing drives, all sorts of projects,” she said.
Because it is a grassroots movement led by individuals and local groups, not a Washington-down hierarchy, there are constant changes, she said.
But the main goal remains.
“If we utilize our Constitution and we follow it, the solutions that the tea party offers is what will make the country great again,” she said.
There are several problems at the top of the to-do list.
One is that “politics is built around a permanent political class doing everything they can to hold onto that power.”
That violation of the founders’ intent, she said, deprives the people of their legitimate power and prevents them from pursuing their own dreams.
Another problems, Carender said, is Obamacare, which needs to be “outright, fully, completely gone.”
Making the tax code simpler and setting up checks and balances so a White House cannot use the agency as a political tool, also is important, she said.
WND has reported on the IRS’s discrimination against hundreds of conservative and Christian groups in the last election cycle, hindering their ability to raise funds. Among the agency’s tactics was demanding to know the content of group members’ prayers. Most recently, as WND reported, the Obama administration has proposed formalizing some of those actions in government regulations. In response, the non-profit advocacy group Liberty Counsel set up a petition to keep speech free for everyone, not just the president’s chosen few. Also, FreedomWorks, a grassroots service center for a community of more than 6 million activists, has set up an Internet link for Americans to comment to the IRS.
Carender told WND the White House wants to impose draconian speech restrictions on conservatives while exempting labor unions and others who support him.
That brings up yet another problem in Washington that needs to be addressed, she said: the lawlessness.
The Obama administration isn’t the only culprit, she said, but it’s getting worse. A president or an agency cannot simply change the law – as already has been done dozens of times with Obamacare – without Congress, which constitutionally must write the laws, she argued.
“The basis for a constitutional republic – and freedom – is that laws are applied equally,” she said. “If you have lawlessness nothing else really matters.