My American Thinker article Tea Party Battle Plan has made its way to several conservative and Tea Party websites and generated a number of comments. A prevalent theme among these comments concerns how energized individuals can get more involved to make a difference.
Naturally, the first step is to contact your local Tea Party, attend Tea Party meetings, and learn about the issues that are important to your local group. Don’t have a local Tea Party? Then, start one. You can find a trove of useful information about founding a Tea Party from existing Tea Party websites such as the Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, or Tea Party Nation. Their websites contain links to other Tea Party websites, recommended reading lists, and other useful information helpful in understanding the movement.
While this may sound counterintuitive, I also suggest you contact your local Republican or Democrat party, attend their meetings, and make your voice heard. The Tea Parties have resisted the call to form a third political party in order to work within the existing two-party system to effect change. Most of this work has centered on the Republican Party since it is philosophically closer to the Tea Party movement, but remember that the Democrat Party is the most out of step with American values and most in need of reining back towards the political center.
With the national elections behind us, the focus naturally turns to local issues. Compile contact information on your local city council, county commission, and school board, attend their meetings, and get a feel for the local issues that directly affect you. Learn who your local elected representatives are and don’t be afraid to speak with them concerning issues that are important to you. Remind them that you are a Tea Party member so they will understand that you are involved.
Be warned that these meetings will likely be boring at first as you learn the issues and due to the fact that fireworks are rarely involved. Occasionally, you’ll get to see something like the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s vote to accept the highest bidder for trash hauling at an additional cost of over $200 K to Parish taxpayers, but these incidents are few and far between. When they do happen, you’ll be armed with information and ready to intelligently fight back. You’ll also be prepared to remind voters of these actions at election time.
After attending several meetings to get a grasp of how they work, you might want to employ a group strategy where you divide up meeting attendance and compare notes afterwards to spread out the task. This is also a good way to stay involved with a like-minded group who can focus your attention on the issues.
As a side benefit, you’ll get to know your local representatives and be in a much better position to evaluate them if they decide to seek higher office. I highly recommend that you keep all of your dealings with officials civil and polite, as these people are your neighbors and just as deserving of civility as anyone else. Remember that you are in this for the long haul and will be dealing with these folks on many issues. Don’t poison the well with hostile outbursts, and be aware that they probably deal with insults by ignoring them, and thus, you. You may not win this round, but they will appreciate your civility down the road and be more likely to work with you.
Finally, learn your state representatives and key in on the issues facing your state. A number of states are facing budget deficits due to lower tax receipts stemming from the poor economy. These states are looking to cut spending and raise taxes to close these budget gaps. Knowing the issues can help you convey your concerns intelligently to your representatives.
Raising taxes in a recession lowers tax receipts because struggling businesses are saddled with another obstacle to success. You can make a determination on which state services can be cut without dramatically affecting the quality of life.
Bear in mind that you shouldn’t expect to accomplish all of this at once. Set small goals for yourself and gradually build up your ability to get involved so you don’t overwhelm yourself and get burned out on the process. Buying a garbage truck is pretty boring stuff, which is why we’ve left it for too long to people who’ve taken advantage of our disinterest to gradually run America over the cliff. It’s easy to ignore national issues when you’re already ignoring local issues.
Wake up America! It’s time to get involved.