his op-ed was published in The State earlier today and was also submitted to the Blogland. Guest op-eds and cartoons are considered for publication via email to email@example.com.
The strength of the TEA Party is also it's weakness. The beauty of the TEA Party movement is that it is decentralized, made up of many local organizations with a loose affiliation to one another and have no one person who speaks for all of us. The reason that is a strength is that any one organization can be co-opted or corrupted, yet the movement will still be carried on by others. Since the start we have accomplished much, and as long as we stay focused on the overall goal, I believe we will accomplish much more.
The weakness of a decentralized movement is that you have many in local leadership roles who will try and steer the direction of the TEA Party movement as a whole, to their own personal agenda. That includes tearing down fellow TEA Party members to accomplish their goal.
I have read in the press "it is ludicrous to think that Newt Gingrich will get the TEA Party support". I agree with this statement wholeheartedly, however I don't agree in which it was intended. It was intended to demonize Newt in the hopes that TEA Party support as a whole will be shifted from one candidate to another. That is impossible! All candidates will get some TEA Party support and no candidate will get all.
I also contend that is the way it should be. Members of the TEA Party are intelligent thinkers with the ability to vet candidates for themselves. I have no problem with putting every candidate under intense scrutiny (that is the way it should be), I do have a problem with tearing down fellow TEA Party member simply because they're opinion differs from yours.
I resigned my position as Chairman of Columbia TEA Party on September 13th so I could endorse Newt Gingrich. At first I received little scrutiny or pushback from anyone in the movement. However since Newt has started to rise in the polls it is disappointing to see who I thought were friends, have gone after me personally and others who support Newt. I have been called, RINO, establishment, clueless, idiot, the list goes on. These statements have come directly from members I have worked with from the beginning, and not one has contacted me to ask WHY I support Newt.
I urge everyone in the movement, to vet the candidates on your own, scrutinize the record of each candidate, read the negatives of all, then look at the other side of the attacks, more often than not, you will find plausible explanations of each and every issue that is used to demonize that candidate. I chose to support Newt simply because I believe the solutions he is bringing to the table is what this country needs. If you don't agree that is fine, vote for your candidate, I respect your decision, all I am asking is that you respect mine. We are all in this together, if we are going to continue to work together we can not tear each other down.
The TEA Party is a movement, not a voting bloc. In order for it to survive we must stop eating our own.