The Tea Party has a bad reputation -- it's been called racist, anti-feminist, anti-government, and even spell-check-phobic. Perhaps justly so. It's also been called a fad that will eventually fade and fizzle into the next big thing. That could be true too.
Just the other day, New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg pooh-poohed the Tea Party as a movement:
"That's what the Tea Party is. It's funny, it's not a political movement. They don't, they're not pro-choice or pro-life. They're not pro-gun or anti-gun. They're not pro-gay-rights or anti-gay-rights. They're not with any of the social issues ... They are a group of people and you see this every 8, 10 years, and they're saying, 'I'm sick of it."
The Tea Party might only be a blip in America's political radar, but since we're all living in that blip, it seems somewhat relevant. And while the movement (or non-movement) may not be your cup of tea, that doesn't mean you can't appreciate it.
Here are three reasons the Tea Party is good for America.
- It's inspired Americans to take part in civic engagement. Sadly, a majority of Americans are too apathetic to do anything -- they don't vote, they don't participate, they don't engage. Protests and rallies by citizens are at the heart of democracy. Even if you don't agree with their ideology -- or their signs --Tea Partiers are marching and talking and demanding to be heard by their government, just like our Constitution allows.
- It might get some coffee drinkers off their butts. Sadly, a majority of Americans are too apathetic to do anything -- they don't vote, they don't participate, they don't engage. (Is there an echo in here?) Maybe disagreement with the Tea Party's agenda will encourage some more liberal types to caffeinate themselves into action. With elections around the corner, it's time to drop the remote, and head to a rally you can buy into, like, say, a Rally to Restore Sanity (which we can all probably thank Glenn Beck for).
- It's shown that women can be powerful in politics. According to a Quinnipiac University poll, a majority of Tea Partiers are women. And to the extent that it has "leaders," the movement is dominated by women. Of the eight board members of the Tea Party Patriots, six are female. Tea Partiers and candidates like Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Jan Brewer are all household names. You may or may not be saying nice things about them, but the fact is, you're talking about them. Sure, many have taken issue with these "feminists," but seeing women in powerful positions is certainly something we want for our sons and daughters.
Do you see any good in the Tea Party?