For decades, two parties dominated the American political scene. Democrats and Republicans threw slings and arrows at each other as they vied for votes and power. Occasional third parties popped up and still smaller parties jumped through enough hoops to get on ballots in various states, but I don't believe we've ever seen anything quite like the tea party.
The name sounds so innocuous and lacking in backbone. After all, little girls play tea party, decked out in their mother's dresses and high heels, surrounded by their favorite stuffed animals and dolls at a little table. That does not apply here.
Rather, remember the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and others that took place throughout the colonies before the American Revolution. After presenting various protests to King George III, who by the way didn't listen to them, the people took matters into their own hands. I think we can all remember, "Taxation without representation is tyrany."
That is a more accurate description of today's Tea Party, with We the People getting far more involved in politics than I can ever remember. No one ever registered an entity called the Tea Party and no one wrote a formal platform for it. The Tea Party came into existence because We the People took our cue from our past and went to the streets with our signs protesting our lack of representation in Washington. The Tea Party is a philosophy that exists among a significant portion of our population that wishes to uphold the Constitution and the ideals of federalism.
The Tea Party has no time for activist judges who view the Constitution as a "living, breathing, document" that should change with the times and the whims of those in power. The Tea Party exists in protest of legislation that Washington has shoved down our throats because they think they know better than us what we need and want. The Tea Party was born out of the frustration that those in power have forgotten who they represent.
The Tea Party exists within the greater umbrella of the Republican Party and makes those at the top very uncomfortable because they see within it the possible makings of their own demise. The recent defeat of Eric Cantor presents us with a huge demonstration. Cantor, in Congress since 2001, lost to Dave Brat, a Tea Party candidate.
Eric Cantor had risen to House Majority Leader in the space of a few years. He was well-established in his seat, but when he co-wrote the latest House version of immigration reform, largely against the wishes of his constituents, they had had enough and pulled the lever for the other guy.
Eric Cantor is just one such case. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas is another example of an unknown Tea Party candidate who rode victoriously into the hallowed halls of the Senate. I suspect that if other GOP incumbents don't get back in touch with their constituents and remember who they represent, they too may find themselves looking for new employment.
They may call themselves the Tea Party, but these are no little girls practicing the height of politeness with their little dolls. They are politically savvy candidates and representatives who stand for something other than their own enrichment and aggrandizement, and if the Republicans want to hand defeat to their opponents, they will take a lesson from their more conservative brothers and sisters.