The Coming Storm: By Charles Robertson
Imagine if a major category 5 hurricane, like Katrina, was headed straight for South Florida. Now picture this…no one is paying attention! The hurricane is 24 hours away and every forecast track has it going directly over Miami, yet everyone seems oblivious. In the entire region there are only a handful of people desperately trying to alert the others. Despite all indications to the contrary, the vast majority believe the hurricane will miss the area. Strange as this scenario seems, it’s my analogy to what is happening in our country now. The hurricane is our looming financial crisis and the Tea Party faithful are the only ones who understand the danger, the vast majority is either in denial or totally unaware.
Last week at our Broward Tea Party Seminar on the Constitution & Bill of Rights, we were reminded by Historian KrisAnne Hall, that we are the “Front Line”, in the struggle to restore and defend liberty. It’s not easy being on the front line. Front liners are the first to get shot at. In our battle, the shots have been “fast & furious”. They have come from the media, politicians, unions, liberal groups, and even “so called” friends. We’ve heard the insults from those passing our street rallies. Activists with years of fighting for the cause all have stories of attacks in various forms. We’re not just on the front line, we are wearing targets.
Wearing a target would understandably make one uncomfortable, yet I’ve come to view this as a sign of honor. Glenn Beck is a great example of someone who wears the target with pride. Millions took their shots at Beck’s bold predictions. They laughed at and ridiculed the following predictions: gold prices reaching towards $2,000 an ounce, double-digit unemployment, revolution and regime change in Egypt, the Arab Spring, class warfare, violent civil unrest in our city streets; these are just to name a few. Leaders press on in the midst of attacks and against unfavorable odds, bolstered by the certainty of their convictions. In Beck’s case, being right has only made him a bigger target. We Tea Partiers have also earned “front line” distinction, the honor of being leaders for a cause many don’t understand or appreciate. I only wish I had certainty of our outcome.
Following the Tea Party inspired gains in the 2010 election, many within our cause felt the heavy lifting was over. The drop-off in attendance at the annual Tax Day Rally was obvious, at least half from the previous year. Local election turnout was a similar disappointment. It seemed many among our ranks signed up for a limited tour of duty. Unfortunately, with our liberties being eroded on a weekly basis, the effort to counter this assault requires a long-term commitment. Will the Tea Party once again rise to the occasion; will we continue what we started in 2010? I had to confront that question and deliver an honest answer.
Marie LePennec, a graduate student from France, visited our Tea Party last week to learn about our cause. In writing her thesis on the Tea Party, Marie handed out questionnaires with most questions being fairly easy; then came one that made me stop and think hard. The question was, “Do you think the Tea Party will continue to grow? Why?” I was tempted to answer this with heartfelt wishes, with optimism, but I owed her my true honest opinion, I answered as follows: “No, this movement was a reaction to a liberal agenda. Once that agenda diminishes, the interest will fade. I believe the Tea Party will remain a force that will shrink or grow depending on the current political situation.” My own words saddened me, yet all that I’ve seen has led me to that conclusion. Despite my ambivalent assessment, I remain committed to affecting the outcome and leading others to our front line. The ending, whenever that is, remains unwritten.
Being referred to as a “front line leader” felt good. It was a nice counterpoint to the typical adjectives tossed our way. Often we Tea Partiers act as martyrs then wonder why it’s so hard to recruit others to our cause. As we gear up for a critical election, my growth strategy will be to frame ourselves as the leaders we are and invite others to our élite group of warriors. To hold a position of honor on the front line is not for everyone, only leaders willing to wear a target earn the right to join us. I’m dropping my complaints about apathy, leaders persevere through difficult setbacks. It is in the worst of circumstances when true leaders emerge, as I was reminded by KrisAnne Hall, who brought us back to our revolution, reminding us that most colonists opposed a war with England. Indeed our revolution was an unpopular, uncertain movement, led by patriots with conviction. Their heroic words and actions inspired others to their cause. Let’s hold our heads high with conviction as we also inspire others to our unpopular, uncertain movement. The stakes remain the same…LIBERTY!