Sanford’s Down, Sarah’s Out, Franken’s In; Is the Tea Party Over?

It’s been a strange and troubling few weeks for advocates of lower taxes and limited government. Nancy Pelosi successfully rammed what may be the largest tax hike in American history through the House of Representatives. Two rapidly rising stars in the GOP have unexpectedly tumbled back to Earth. And a federally-funded special interest power grab looms over the health care system.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s agenda has gained a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Do these admittedly dark days herald some new dawn, or is this the hush before a gathering storm?

The answer will depend on the reported 500,000+ Americans, and others like them, who congregated at sites all over the country, first on April 15th and then again on July 4th, to protest the unchecked growth of government and its ongoing destruction of individual liberty. But they are doing more than just protesting. Less than three months after the first events triggered a national firestorm, Tea Partiers have already begun to self-organize and plot ways to regain their voice in a system that wants desperately to tune them out.

Last weekend, in Washington, D.C.’s Upper Senate Park, the holiday gathering drew about 2,000 protestors and had the feel at times of a rowdy job fair. Folks with clipboards and fliers circulated in the crowd, recruiting for their various coalitions and causes. FreedomWorks was there. CNN was there. So were reps from the National Taxpayers Union and the Campaign for Liberty, among others.

Not bad for a leaderless movement.

What we are learning is that this groundswell for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom doesn’t need a leader. It needs a million of them. After all, personal responsibility and eternal vigilance are too important to be left in the hands of politicians.

Educated, active citizens influencing public debate and recruiting their neighbors in every city and state will be more valuable in the long run than a hundred Sarah Palins or Mark Sanfords could ever be. We the People started this American Experiment and all around the country on April 15th, July 4th, and next on September 12th, We the People have returned to the fore.

So, while Nancy Pelosi and her sycophants pat themselves on the back with clever phrases like “Astroturf” and “Teabaggers,” just smile quietly and continue learning, organizing, and growing. Through perseverance there is no doubt freedom will prevail, even if many in Washington are too consumed by the arrogance of power to realize that the ground has shifted beneath their feet.