One of the most unfortunate things coming out of the problems with the Tea Party movement is some of the choices made by some of the organizers of April 15 events.
Perhaps the most egregious and glaring example of bad decision-making is the invitation of Congressman Gresham Barrett (R) of South Carolina, to speak at the Greenville Tea Party.
Why was it such a blunder?
Gresham voted for the TARP aka Bailout bill.
The cry beginning to resound around the country and particularly in the South?
Remember the Bailout!
I wish I could talk to the Greenville Tea Party organizers to ask them: WHY would you do that? It is difficult to imagine that someone, somewhere along the line didn’t say something to one of these folks. Obviously, the message didn’t get through.
The organizers couldn’t have missed the message: Tea Party attendees let them know of their mistake indirectly through their reaction to Rep. Barrett. Attendees made it clear very directly, in their reaction to Barrett, how bone-headed he was for showing up, and of course, what a fatal blunder it was to vote for the Bailout:
It would seem, as my friend Sandra Crosnoe points out in her post on this matter on R3publican, “Put a fork in him…Barrett’s done.”
While this one should have seemed obvious, there were other choices regarding these events that, if taking the big picture into account, seem at least, questionable. I can understand, in the abstract, at least, inviting consistently fiscally conservative elected officials to speak.
Really though, I ultimately don’t agree with inviting politicians at all. I think the best thing they could do, and it would actually be incredibly powerful, if they would just grab a sign and stand in the crowd, making no big deal of themselves. What a signal that would send to the people they represent.
I wish some Tea Party organizers would stop worrying so much about enhancing the “credibility” of their event and worry about how they may be perpetuating a culture of celebrity, elitism, and cult of personality. Tea Party organizers should be leaders, are leaders, at least for a time. Every leader, by being out front, is in some ways a teacher.
What are we teaching people, if we ourselves do not stop and think about what we are doing?
This particular instance of Rep. Barrett just reveals some of the many symptoms of the cancers that are eating away at this country. Neither the organizers, nor for sure, could the “Honorable” Barrett possibly “get it”.
Let’s leave the Tea Party organizers out of it, though.
Just how completely out of touch with reality must a U.S. Congressman be to show up to speak at an event, the very purpose of which is to protest, among other things, the thing he himself had done?
He deserved every bit of scorn he received that day. The only thing that requires more utter ignorance than showing up to speak at a Tea Party is that he stayed on the stage so long.