Web Extra: Read an Excerpt of Ben Carson's 'America the Beautiful'

The video of Santelli's outburst went viral, with special emphasis on the part where he called for another tea party, during which traders would gather all of the derivatives for their mortgages and dump them in the Chicago River in protest of the massive corporate infusion at the expense of taxpayers. Shortly after that, many people on television began to refer to the various local protests as "tea parties." The entrenched political establishment and most of the media ignored how fast these protests were growing, just as the British had regarded the colonial protests during the American Revolution. However, as the numbers and intensity of these protests began to multiply, the media began to make fun of the protesters in the hope that this would discourage others from joining in. The passage of the new health care legislation in December of 2009, contrary to what the majority of Americans wanted, was like pouring gasoline on a fire, and it dramatically increased the strength of the Tea Party movement. From the perspective of those in the new Tea Party, not only was the government spending money that it didn't have at an alarming rate, but it had now enacted a gigantic federal program that was going to be very expensive and impose freedom-robbing regulations.

As the protests grew, however, they could no longer be ignored, and the resistance phase began to set in. The attacks from much of the media, from several members of Obama's administration, and from the Democratic Party were relentless and mean-spirited. As with the colonial Tea Party, resistance only served to strengthen the movement, which was beginning to be joined by many notable political figures and other individuals. During the 2010 midterm primaries, Tea Party membership had grown to the point that it was able to significantly influence the outcome of the primaries. Since their values were more closely aligned with the values of the Republican Party than those of the Democratic Party, they concentrated on the Republican primaries, where they prevailed in several states, removing the entrenched traditional Republican candidate and replacing them with a Tea Party candidate.

It became increasingly clear that the Tea Party was not simply an arm of the Republican Party, but rather a significant force for real change. Its constituents recognized that both the Democrats and the Republicans were responsible for excessive spending, incessant pork barrel projects to benefit special constituent groups, and intrusion into the private lives of citizens. Tea Party members were especially outraged by the fact that the president and Democratic congressional leaders did not seem particularly interested in the feelings of the people, as manifested by their cramming of the health-care bill down the throats of the American people. As with the colonial Tea Party, denial, ignoring, and resistance had all failed to stem the tide; therefore, it was time for them to exempt themselves from the struggle to quash the rebellion.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...