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The Tea Party Movement Turns Five: A Look Back

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On December 16th, 1773 colonists stormed Boston Harbor to destroy shipments of tea to protest actions by an out-of-control government that had a stranglehold on the lives and liberty of American colonists. The event became known as the Boston Tea Party and the one act which lasted but one night remains in the collective consciousness of American history to this day.


The Boston Tea Party was an act of civil disobedience- a rallying cry to patriots to stand up for their God-given rights as free human beings. Though it lasted but one night, the rallying cry’s message is understood by patriots today.

This month, the Tea Party Movement, born from frustration and an unwavering commitment to liberty, turns five years-old.

On February 19th, 2009, CNBC commentator Rick Santelli stood on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade and offered viewers an impromptu diatribe that condemned the federal government’s most-recent commitment of hundreds-of-billions of taxpayers’ dollars to prop up a failing housing market. In his frustration that mirrored the frustrations of millions of Americans, Santelli blurted out an urging for a modern-day tea party.

Americans everywhere who heard or read Santelli’s comments soon asked themselves, “Why not?” Though patriots did not storm harbors, independent patriot groups popped up all around the country. The liberal media panicked and desperately sought the single leader of this grassroots movement but found that these groups were not artificial; they were not linked or franchised groups; a grassroots movement had been born from millions of like-minded individuals who recognized that something had to be done about government.

The left went through the usual motions; they called it “astroturf;” surely the product of the much-maligned Koch Brothers or some other nefarious rightwing moneymen. When that narrative failed, the Tea Party was labeled as a group for bigots; however, that too, failed to take hold on any meaningful level. Since the earliest days of the Tea Party Movement, the left has waffled on how to approach these principled patriots- they are routinely dismissed by Harry Reid and his cohorts as an ineffectual fringe group.


When Democrats cannot advance their radical agenda, however, these same politicians assign blame to the Tea Party- the all-powerful troublemakers who are, to liberals, seemingly, simultaneously, both everywhere and nowhere.

To the left, these Gadsden-adorned freedom-lovers are “anarchists;” to the turncoat Republican establishment, “wacko birds”- whatever that is. They’re derided as obstructionists, but where would we be without the Tea Party Movement?

When President Obama stoked fears amongst the left and center in the aftermath of the horrific Sandy Hook shooting, it was the Tea Party that remained steadfast and sympathetic; steadfastly loyal to our guaranteed rights as Americans, sympathetic to the pain felt by grieving Americans.

When Democrats tried to slide amnesty past the American people, calling it “an earned pathway to citizenship” and other coy euphemisms for rewarding criminality, the Tea Party spoke up. The Democrats have tried and tried again, but have come up short repeatedly thanks to the efforts of millions of grassroots supporters.

Not every undertaking has been a victory for the Tea Party, however. They have pushed back against bailouts, debt ceiling increases, rampant government spending and other assorted fiscal insanity and have, at times, come up short thanks to the moderate turncoats in the GOP. But the point was made and those who hoped they would simply fade away have been bitterly disappointed.


It was the Tea Party who wrestled the House from the Democrats in 2010 and swept Republicans into office. It has been the Tea Party who has empowered some of our nation’s greatest contemporary patriots- people like Sens. Cruz, Paul, Lee and Reps. Gohmert, Bachmann and Huelskamp.

Though not every battle has been won, many are still ongoing. The fight to defund Obamacare continues as the defunct program circles the drain. Millions continue to sign petitions, contact their representatives, picket outside buildings and demand accountability on such important issues as Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the NSA scandal.

The Tea Party Movement became such a threat that the IRS spent years targeting them for systematic harassment- a move that backfired and became yet another scandal for which this administration must answer.

It has been five years since hardworking men and women- many of whom had never protested in their lives- picked up signs and picketed state buildings. These spontaneous acts of frustration and anger merged with political groups who promised more than venting, but helped organize congressional caucuses and political action committees dedicated to affecting meaningful change in Washington.

In five years, this upstart, grassroots community moved from picketing outside the Capitol to helping create nationwide changes inside the Capitol.

It was one night in 1773 that has served as an inspiration to generations of patriots. The Tea Party Movement (despite continued efforts to delegitimize, diminish and destroy them) has been creating change on a local and national level for half a decade.


Change in government is often slow and best measured in years, not days. The Tea Party Movement has matured and grown, but much more needs to be done to save our nation and recommit our government to the fundamental foundations of freedom and liberty. Such transformations are not easy, but this nation, founded on the principles of guaranteed liberty, is a nation worth saving.

Special Thank You to TPNN.com Chief Writer Gregg Campbell for helping with this article.


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