The 9-12 Project of Central PA

"You Are NOT Alone!"

Taking my own advice, I ask, “What could be the profit in having elected officials speak at out tea party?”

Some possible benefits of having elected officials speak might include:

• Their presence might lend some sense of credibility to our efforts
• They may be experienced speakers and thus bring an air if professionalism
• We may open doors with these elected officials who support our positions
• We may garner more news media coverage
• We may reach some individuals who recognize and accept a particular official
• They might provide us with valuable “insider” knowledge

Profit, however, must take into account not only the benefits that may be enjoyed, but also the costs -- the possible disadvantages. These might include:

• Our audience may, and, in my opinion probably will, perceive elected officials addressing our tea party as an endorsement of the officials and of their party
• The media might misrepresent statements by such officials as our policy
• Elected officials could later claim some implied endorsement or support by us
• Our enemies could later claim some implied endorsement or support by us of these officials
• Our opposition will be able to use such an association to undermine or attack us as partisan or as an extension or functionary of the right or the Republican Party
• Perhaps most important, it undermines the grassroots nature of our effort, that attribute which is essential if we are to grow and have real influence

Keeping in mind that this tea party is our group’s unveiling, our coming out party, our first impression on our friends and neighbors, it is essential that we communicate our message clearly. Repeating our 9 principals and 12 values is essential, because what we say counts. What we do counts, too. Saying we are nonpartisan and including elected officials, who by definition are partisan, sends a clearly different message.

I believe the dishonesty inherent in saying one thing and doing another will send a message that our neighbors will not fail to see: More of the same. Is this what we represent? Can we afford this? Can we afford to do this to ourselves?

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I agree with Greg. I want to have good speakers. If individuals who are involved in the a party want to speak . . . fine. If individual who are elected politicians with a title show up and want to endorse our efforts . . .fine. For us as a group to seek out politicians to speak . . .not so fine. We want to be heard as We The People . . . to invite speakers who have a label attached is just inviting more of the same. I think someone said at our last meeting perception is reality. The news media will focus in on the recognized name and not what We The People are all about. If that recognized name is an elected party official we will be associated with that party . . . perception is reality.

I loved the guy in the back of the room at our last meeting. He's involved in one of the parties, but that was ok because he was not an elected official. He gave a passionate speech that was inspiring, off the top of his head. I was so moved I wanted to stand up and cheer. He stated with conviction what I think we are all thinking and wanting our country to be. Our speakers need to be passionate and they need to inspire. We want those who are just passing by to stop to hear what is being said. We want to portray a vision of what is good about America . . . a vision of our Founding Fathers and why it is important to get back to the basics of our Constitution.

We all believe in the core values and principals of our group . . . I think most people off the street would say they do as well. To read and give speeches stating our values and principles to me is going to be very boring. If it is connected to an inspiring vision of the world laid out by our Founding Fathers . . . fabulous!

There are so many people in our community who are capable of giving inspiring speeches. Why are we looking to those in politics . . . speaking for my self . . . I am sick of politics as usually . . . I do not want, once again, to turn to politicians to solve our problems! Have someone like the guy in the back of the room (sorry I do not know your name) talk once an hour on the hour if we can not find anyone else.

Not seeking our politician to give a speech is not preventing free speech . . . it is merely not encouraging more of the same. Just my two cents :-)
P.S. to my last post . . . Greg did a wonderful job at our first meeting standing up in front of the group. I think he would be a good speaker.
I'm torn on the issue of having speakers who are elected officials. I agree with the pros and the cons. That being said, this article from FoxNews talks about some of the bigger Tea Parties and indicates that Newt Gingrich is speaking at one.
Newt is no longer a politician currently in office so he is in a different category. That being said, he is the one Fox news is talking about . . . not the average We The People . . . though possibly some of the people attending may be there specifically to hear Newt. I am a little torn to, I guess if we have a recognized nation figure not currently in office who would drawl a bigger crowd I would be OK. Having a Specter or Casey would make me sick! While I like Glenn Thompson and think his heart may be in the right place, I already don't like some of his votes that expand the role of government and increase our tax burden. The goal is for us to send a message to those in Washington , it is not to rally round the wagon of the status quo.

Bottom line . . . I just want to see a large peaceful turn out that inspires more to join our group.
I have this feeling we are going to be portrayed by the media as right-wing extremists even if we don't have a public figure or a professional speaker. They will do anything to discredit us no matter what we do (or don't do) unfortunately. At least we will be getting the message out to others that THEY ARE NOT ALONE and I think that's the primary message here. "If you are fed up with the government spending, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!" "There are others out there who think like you do." Inspiring others to get their head out of the sand and take a stand, is what it is all about.
I am absolutely against the notion of elected officials co-opting this group...and they will co-opt it. That's what politicians do--you can count on it.

Think about it. First, they already have a platform to advance their ideas, so why work through us? They can call press conferences, talk on TV and radio and buy ads if they need exposure. If they want to work on behalf of the group because they feel a strong need to help, fine, they can do that from their office without being on the inside. Second, if they really wanted change, then where the hell have they been? When all this was going down, where were they? The answer is simple: they were trying to keep their jobs. Politicians are the problem, not the solution.

The last thing I want to see is a bunch of party hacks infiltrating the group and turning into just another part of the system. I've seen this so many times before that it makes me sick.

Many of you have only recently become part of this kind of "activism", but I've been doing this for almost twenty years. Please take the benefit of my experience on this one. You simply can't trust a politician--even with good intentions, they will poison the group, fracture it and bring it down. They'll come to you with all kinds of seductive and passionate ideas, and when you need them the most, they will always look out for themselves.

An argument has been suggested that politicians are eloquent, and can benefit the group through their public speaking abilities. Well, I can speak just as well as any politician, and I can find fifteen better speakers if we're that desperate. There is no benefit to having an elected official at any of our functions, but I can rattle off a whole list of reasons not to. If nothing else, it will turn off would-be joiners, who see this as just an extension of one of the parties.

There would be no easier way to marginalize the group in the minds of the people than to have an elected official speak for us or with us.

Unless they have become a candidate through our own initiative, I implore you to say NO to elected officials as speakers.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Karen, but I must disagree. I'm afraid my emotions are far to strong for me to speak well for our group.

Karen Clark said:
P.S. to my last post . . . Greg did a wonderful job at our first meeting standing up in front of the group. I think he would be a good speaker.
Wayne, I don't propose stripping anyone of their rights. What I do suggest is that our tea party is a staged event, one in which we are in control We need to exercise that control to present our image in the best possible light, for the purpose of achieving our goals. Anything we do that can be used against us by the media and others, anything we do that confuses our audience or sends the wrong message would be a mistake.

I cannot see that any elected official can bring something of sufficient value to the table to justify the potential cost.

As we grow, we will need to undertake political activism. Personally, I believe this might best be done through a separate entity in order to insulate this group and to make available a full range of avenues of action. This might be the forum that could include elected party officials. What do you think?

Wayne Stottlar said:
Officials are still private individuals. Who are we to say ANY citizen that accepts a public position thereby forfeits their right to their private 1st and 2nd amendment rights? I do not feel it is within anyone's power to strip a private citizen of their personal rights guaranteed to everyone else under our Constitution.
Michelle Malkin wrote today: Blog pioneer Glenn Reynolds, author of “An Army of Davids,” has a nice overview of the Tea Party movement in the Wall Street Journal today. (...)

Reynolds writes: When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: “With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.”
I failed to point out the obvious here, who's got the power now?
We had unexpected house guest last night. Discussion turned to politics because I mentioned we had planned on hear a conservative lecture on campus. I know their politics were opposite mine. They said at least we were not part of that "Tea Party" movement. Smiling I said . . . "oh yes we are." They preceeded to tell me it was organized and funded by the Republican Party. Song story short . . . I cleared up their miss conception . . . we found some common ground AND . . . I think they may come to our Tea Party. SO . . . I do hope this is a We The People event and that there are no elected officials speaking to prove their point!
Greg . . .it is that emotion and passion that makes what you have to say worth listening to! You are not a polish politician . . . you are one of use . . . WE The People, but with a lot more knowledge about our system (at least more then mine)! I can also understand not wanting to talk before a crowd . . . definitly not in my comfort zone . . . not now . . .not ever :-)


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