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Guest post submitted by Bob Shannon:

  The 5th Anniversary of the King William TEA Party is perhaps a good time for reflection. What progress have we made, what have we done well, what not so well, where are we headed ?   Are we making a difference, do elected officials pay us any mind ?   Do we have leaders leading these groups, real leaders unencumbered by ties to local party establishments , ties that prohibit real change ?  Are we true to our principles is the question. As Jerry Lund use to say on his WRVA radio program, ” let’s use a little intellectual honesty”.

Since I had a hand in the writing of  some of our various ” hand out’s”,  I harken back to the appeal  at that time of declaring our ” non-partisan” standing as a political entity. Many of us recognized the failings of both of the 2 major political parties and as such made a conscious decision to search for remedies with a fresh perspective, thinking outside of the “proverbial box”.  Among the variety of pursuits we launched aggressive outreach efforts to recruit others who shared our concerns for our finding solutions to problems , problems long left festering by both of the 2 political parties. We looked for locations to hold our meetings, guest speakers on topics of interest—and  a concerted effort to construct a few signs to help us get our message out. For good or bad this “few signs” tuned into several hundred after the idea caught on.

Today however I am concerned that the “non-partisan” stand we claim and the use of one of our most effective tools have in fact been damaged to a point that they may have been now rendered useless.

The vicious response from some quarters when I invited Rob Sarvis to the MTP meeting to speak last year is just such an example of the challenge I lay out to the non-partisan position these groups proclaim in their literature.  I had Christopher Sullivan and Buddy Fowler speak, I invited Xavian Draper to come speak in King William. Their is no political candidate or elected official who has asked for time to speak at a meeting I presided over that I said no to, not 1.  Guiding these groups in a non-partisan manner requires more than just mouthing the words . Finding real workable solutions to our problems won’t be accomplished if we close our minds to the views of others.  Some folks have very selective adherence to Constitutional principles they claim to hold dear, quick to abandon those principles when an issue , viewed within a Constitutional context doesn’t suit them personally. Either the groups are non-partisan or carrying water for local republicans. You can’t have it both ways.

Ask the question “how many Independents have these TEA Party groups run off simply because a discerning intelligent independent has attended a few meetings and come away with the opinion that the group is just a mouth piece for local republicans ” ? More than a few who I have personally engaged have told me just that, in those words. Voting registration clearly shows a decline in the number of people registering in either of the two major parties names

The signs ? How are they being used ?  Effectively  ?  If not, then why not ? Was the countless hours spent toiling away , often in times of horrendous conditions a waste of our time ? If we have an ” outrage” at a vote Del. Chris Peace takes, or evidence of collusion and or corruption in an elected officials vote/support for a questionable issue then why do we continue to engage in the rather silly practice of circulating e-mails among the “members of the choir” ?  I laugh aloud at some of the e-mails I receive and the clearly visible futility in this practice, when a readily available much more effective tool is right at our fingertips, if only the will to use it.

  In the end all that matters is we are honest in these periodic assessments. Often we are blinded by our own prejudices and opinions without the need to recognize a change in course is in order.  Chose wisely, for much is at stake.
Bob Shannon Founder of the Mechanicsville & King William TEA Party .
We need both the Mechanicsville and KW Tea Party groups to be strong and to be “non-partisan”; they need to hear different viewpoints.  We also need outreach with African-Americans and young people.  Who’ll step up to the plate?

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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