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What are Tea Party Patriots?

By Jason C. Chavis
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Tea Party Patriots are members of a political party affiliated with the Tea Party movement in the United States, a political ideology generally aligned with conservatism. Beginning in early 2009, the Tea Party Patriots worked on a local and national level to create grassroots movements involving protests and political activism in an effort to bring attention to its core values. Many of the members of the organization are traditionally associated with right-wing politics, but certain parts of the group claim to be centrist in their standings.

According to the Tea Party Patriots, the mission of the group is to organize citizens in the US to become more politically active. The main policy focus is situated with the overall Tea Party movement's emphasis on fiscal responsibility, promoting free market capitalism and limiting the role of government in the lives of Americans. Much of the public statements made by individuals belonging to the Tea Party Patriots are focused on gun rights, claims of over-taxation, and overall anti-government rhetoric, particularly against the Democratic Party.

Protests and political gatherings are one of the primary focuses of the Tea Party Patriots. In addition to standard rallies undertaken like most political groups, there have been many high profile acts orchestrated by the organization. On 12 September 2009, the party was a co-sponsor of a protest on the Freedom Plaza in the US capitol known as the 9/12 March on Washington. It was also prevalent in mobilizing members to attend town hall meetings for Senators and Congresspersons in 2009 in protest of health care reform in the US.

According to the organization itself, there are over 1000 local chapters located around the country. While many of these are grassroots movements, critics point to funding and organizational elements created by national foundations. In particular, the Tea Party Patriots are associated to some level with the conservative nonprofit Freedomworks®, led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. In 2009, evidence gathered from Rolling Stone® magazine identified memos from the nonprofit given to those orchestrating anti-health care rallies, despite denials by the party.

The origin of the name for the Tea Party movement stems from the American Revolution. In 1773, colonists in Boston, Massachusetts, protested against British taxation on tea by boarding ships in the harbor and throwing the tea overboard. It was one of the iconic events that predated the start of full-scale conflict, prompting generations of protesters to allude to the concept of rebellion. Since the Tea Party Patriots are strongly against additional taxation in the US, the group chose to reference the act of resistance.

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Discussion Comments

By astor — On Jun 19, 2010

@lori43 – What you have just doesn’t make any sense. You’re right about what the Tea Party Movement is protesting, i.e. the bailouts and healthcare reform, but they blame the 2008 bailout on Obama and his administration. He didn’t take office until January 2009. Do you see why I think this movement comes off as comically ignorant? And you’re actually wrong about the Tea Party not being “as biased as left-wingers make it out to be”. In fact, the Tea Party is run by a conservative political action committee called Our Country Deserves Better. Not biased against the left? That’s just stupid. The whole movement exists to fight this perceived notion that the left is taking over the country with plans to sabotage it. Its sole purpose is to continue and maintain the conservative status quo of the 2000’s without taking other, newer ideas into account.

By lori43 — On Jun 19, 2010

I think the Tea Party Movement at its core is just about keeping politics from veering too far to one side. It’s not about blaming anyone. It’s about maintaining those aspects of American political policy that are effective at keeping us safe. I don’t think it’s quite as racist or biased as left-wingers tend to make it out to be. Mostly they are upset with the bailout packages from 2008 and 2009 as well as the healthcare reform of 2010, all of which they see as threats to the American economic system that has brought the country so far over the last 50 years especially.

By astor — On Jun 03, 2010

The credibility of the Tea Party Movement has been compromised lately due to numerous reports of racism, homophobia, and anti-semitism performed by protesters. During the healthcare reform vote, three black senators and congressman claimed to have heard a number of racist slurs shouted at them by Tea Party protesters. Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman, claims to have been called a "faggot" during a protest. Conservative voices suggest that the claims are lies meant to cast a bad light on the Tea Party Movement.

Whether or not the claims are false, the Tea Party's stance tends to blame a lot of things on the Obama administration that were actually the fault of earlier administrations. For instance, the 2008 bailout that passed under the Bush administration contributed tremendously to America's massive deficit. Tea Party members however, like to blame the Obama administration as though the deficits caused by two expensive foreign wars are his fault despite the fact that they were begun by the Bush administration.

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