One watches video of the horrible devastation in Japan after a tsunami raced ashore in Honshu. When I was a Midshipman a very long time ago, I was humbled, early on, by the forces of nature; especially so by the force of the sea. Inexorable. Unforgiving. Relentless. May God have mercy upon the souls who perished and mercy upon those whose lives are forevermore altered by a new reality.
So what does the tsunami have in common with the Tea Party movement, you may ask? Most of the country reaped great rewards in last November’s Congressional elections. We here in the Bay State were shielded, it would seem, by a seawall large enough and strong enough to deflect the tsunami of change that people of the Tea Party helped to bring about. There were plenty of Tea Partiers involved in the elections last year and plenty more still involved today.
Social activism is spreading to people of all political stripes in these recent months. Look to the Statehouse in Wisconsin to see who is swimming against the tide. Could it be that union activists are taking a lead from the Tea Party? Could it be that they are afraid that the seawall that protected seats last November may not hold up against that inexorable, unforgiving and relentless force of nature of the political kind?
But there is a huge difference between the two groups. Unions are, by their very nature, command-and-control oriented structures able to muster hundreds of protesters with the promise of a days’ pay from bottomless union coffers. “Go along to get along.”
On the other hand, the Tea Party relies upon the collective conscience of the individual to move in unison with others. There is no centralized authority and, in fact, much dissent upon whom, if anyone, speaks for the Tea Party. Is it Governor Sarah Palin; is it Representative Michele Bachmann; is it, well, you fill in the blank.
In point of fact, nobody speaks for the Tea Party; but everyone is trying to speak to the Tea Party.
As the next 605 days play out until Election Day 2012, I believe that we are going to discover just how many people, ordinary people, are going to find their voice and speak out loud and clear that the status quo in Washington is NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE.
People are tired of gridlock; tired of sensational headlines; tired of tax code protectionism; tired of preference; tired of being taken for granted.
As the old adage goes, “You can’t see the wind but you know it is there because you can feel it.” And so it is with the Tea Party and what it has inspired and what it will continue to inspire in people of all walks of life. Tsunamis come in waves. The seawall that proved so effective here in Massachusetts is not likely to withstand another onslaught. Incumbents beware.