Starting on March 27, the Tea Party Express III began a country-spanning 20-day Tea Party tour in Senate Majority Leader’s Harry Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nevada. After traveling the nation and visiting 47 cities, the tour will culminate in Washington, D.C., on tax day, April 15. The Tea Party Express III featured special guests like Governor Sarah Palin, “Joe the Plumber,” and Ann Coulter.
Fittingly, the Tea Party Express stopped today in the city where the revolutionary spirit was born: Boston, Massachusetts. Thousands of supporters gathered for today’s rally, led by Sarah Palin, who criticized the federal government on a variety of issues. She was greeted by loud applause when she asserted, “We’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion — you can keep the change.”
Despite the Tea Party Express tour’s massive effort, there is surprisingly no central Tea Party organization. Each group is independent, nonprofit, and funded solely by donations. Tax Day Tea Parties are scheduled to take place in a variety of cities, big and small, in nearly every state in the country. Accompanied by music, speakers, and local politicians, Tea Partiers expect the events to be quite successful.
Most impressive is that the Tea Parties are springing up in even the most liberal cities, such as Humboldt, California (59 percent Democrat). According to the Times Standard, a Humboldt publication, “The group asks like-minded individuals to join them in a protest of what they say is the government’s misuse of tax money, control of private property and over-reaching laws.”
Even conservatives and constitutionalists in New York have found a voice in local Tea Parties, like those in Long Island, White Plains, Syracuse (that’s with an “r,” Mr. President), and even New York City. One can imagine the flak these Tea Partiers must get from “peaceful” opponents.
Pleasanton, California has also scheduled a Tax Day Tea Party that, according to the L.A. Times, is expected to be “among the largest Tax Day events in the state.” Originally invited to speak at the event was Orly Taitz, leader of the “birther” movement (a movement that claims that Obama was not born in American and is ineligible to serve his elected office). Taitz has brought several lawsuits to court with the intent to disqualify Obama, only to be attacked by the judges and charged $20,000 in court fees. Unfortunately, Bridget Melson, president of the Pleasanton Tea Party, cowtowed to the demands from local political candidates, who claimed that Taitz is too controversial and rescinded Taitz’s invitation.
Seema Mehta of the L.A. Times notes, “Taitz’s invitation — and uninvitation — are examples of the complications facing Republicans this year as they try to capture the enthusiasm of the tea party movement without getting sucked into its conspiracy-tinged fringes.”
In Tampa, Florida, the Tea Party will feature special guests like Marco Rubio, aspiring Republican senatorial nominee. Event organizer Sharon Calvert explains, “We want to return to our founding principles. A sleeping giant has awakened. Many Americans have been asleep at the wheel; they are apathetic, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Huntsville, Alabama, Tea Party leader Chad Capps states that their rally will focus on “fiscal responsibility, limited government, individual liberties and the free market.” He adds, “Two doctors will speak, so I’m sure health care will be mentioned, too.” No candidates will be speaking at the Huntsville event, but they will be permitted to hand out literature.
Tax Day Tea Party participants are prepared for unwelcomed guests at the events, including members of a group called “Crash the Tea Party,” which intends to infiltrate and dismantle the Tea Party movement. Masked as Tea Partiers, members of this group will make violent, racist, homophobic, and bizarre comments to destroy the reputation of the Tea Parties. Eric Odom of the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party organization is less than concerned by this. “Don’t worry about this sort of thing.”
Local Tax Day Tea Parties are scheduled to take place all over the country, so if anyone is interested in participating in the event, they should visit taxdayteaparty.com.
Photo: AP Images