The past two weeks have kept me very busy on matters that I was reluctant to discuss in any detail for fear, quite frankly, of jinxing the whole enterprise. My last post – dated July 11 – hinted strongly at what might happen with regard to the Tea Party movement in New Jersey and I’m pleased to announce that, indeed, something truly wonderful has happened.
From an American Tea Party Congress press release issued late yesterday:
NJ TEA PARTY GROUPS ANNOUNCE UNIFICATION
Red Bank, NJ – A unified Tea Party movement went from dream to reality on Saturday, July 14 when leaders and designated representatives of sixteen New Jersey Tea Party groups and six conservative advocacy groups convened at the Red Bank, New Jersey headquarters of the Bayshore Tea Party. In the course of a day-long meeting, they unified under the umbrella of an agency organization empowered and governed exclusively by them to act on their behalf.
Although numerous attempts at unification have been made in the three years the Tea Party movement has existed, all have either failed or met with limited success. The present effort was inspired by NJ blogger Gene Hoyas, who proposed a system of unification on his website a little over a month ago.
By a unanimous vote, the delegates committed their organizations to unity and authorized the creation of the American Tea Party Congress, an agency organization governed by a Board comprised of representatives from each of the constituent member groups. This is a crucial and historically important action, as it demonstrates that the Tea Party movement is capable of joining forces in a single organization where all of the member groups retain their sovereignty.
Dwight Kehoe, founder of the Tea Party Advocacy Tracking Hub (TPATH), observed “No longer will the establishment swat away individual Tea Party groups: as of this date, for statewide and national issues, We The People will speak with one voice. There is no doubt this coalition will grow, not only here in the Garden State, but everywhere else. The format and procedures used in putting this together will be a model for every state in the union.”
The next session of the American Tea Party Congress is scheduled to meet on July 28, at which time the group will begin the process of ratifying a charter.
Here is a list of the Tea Party groups and kindred conservative groups that asked to be present at the summit. Note that four of the groups were absent while one arrived late and one departed early.
Pictured below are the delegates to the summit, with your humble scrivener seated in front:
Here are some other snapshots of the summit, courtesy of the lovely and ever-gracious Nicole. Think of it as Independence Hall, 1776 – only this time with laptops:
I cannot emphasize enough the extraordinary nature of this meeting and the effect it will have on the political landscape both here in New Jersey and throughout the nation. I have little doubt that, as news of the resounding success of the Tea Party Summit spreads far and wide, scores of Tea Party groups and conservative organizations will be lining up to join the American Tea Party Congress.
I also have little doubt that the Establishment in Trenton is well aware of what happened on Saturday and if Governor Zeppelin hasn’t already begun to binge on Doritos and ice cream cones, he’ll be starting soon enough. They all should be worried: before Saturday, the Tea Party movement was largely divided and any coalitions that did exist were very small and largely regional.
Not any more. The American Tea Party Congress is a statewide entity, with member organizations hailing from as far north as Sussex County and as far south as Atlantic County; as far east as Monmouth County and as far west as Salem County. As the Congress expands in size and scope, so will its power and influence: the Establishment will no longer be able to ignore or dismiss the Tea Party movement, because now it will speak with the voice of thousands of patriots statewide…a veritable political army that can make or break a candidate in a primary or general election.
Yes, the Establishment is well aware of all this and as surely as night follows day they will do everything they can to derail the unification process and divide the Congress. In a shameful episode that I will explore in detail soon, one of their henchmen successfully prevailed upon at least eight northern New Jersey Tea Party groups to avoid attending the Summit by deceiving them. Here’s the kicker: he is the leader of a Tea Party group!
But enough of treachery and deceit…for the time being, we ought to rejoice.
Permit me to paraphrase from a letter John Adams sent to Abigail shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed and the break with Great Britain was made official:
Now the real work begins and while you might think I am transported with enthusiasm, I can assure you I am not. It is the will of heaven that you have come together in America’s darkest hour and it may be the will of Heaven that America and the Tea Party movement itself will suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful. I am well aware of the toil, sweat and tears that it will cost you to maintain this unity and to support and defend our Constitution and the American way of life as our forebears intended it to be.
Yet through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that your efforts will bear a bountiful harvest of liberty and I am more certain than ever that American posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction.