Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Brooklyn Tea Party

I have great hopes for the Brooklyn Tea Party. On April 15th, New York City had a very large Tea Party protest in Manhattan. I got there early to participate as a Marshall. The police had provided us two large block-long rectangular cages in which we were allowed to protest. And, the front cage was only about 1/3rd full when the Staten Island Tea Party showed up.

Before teaching at Staten Island University I never realized how difficult transportation to Staten Island is. And so the Staten Island group had rented their own buses. And, they came, and they came, and they came in droves. Overcoming the great distance from Staten Island to Manhattan, they filled the rest of the cage I was stationed in and a third of the other. For the longest time my organizing plea fell short, “Are you from Brooklyn? Take a flier, help form the Brooklyn Tea Party.” “No.” they’d say proudly, ‘Staten Island!”

My reaction to my rejection was elation. Staten Island had organized legions. In trying to organize the Brooklyn Tea Party, I had spoken to their President. Frank Stantarpia, on the phone. He told me that organizing the party was not so hard. A website that could capture email addresses did most of the work. They have 1200 members, they send out email announcements, and many subsequently come to meetings. Give people a place, time and date, Frank Told me, and they will come.

Furthermore, Frank confirmed that he had had success doing what I was hoping the Brooklyn Tea Party would do. They had held politicians accountable. In local New York politics machines take voters for granted. And, perhaps as a result, not that many people vote. Being able to mobilize forty patriots on the weekend during the election cycle gets you a lot of play. Politicians came to his group for endorsements and help and did not get either without good records and promises of better ones. They had made great strides in taking the party back from the machine.

And, by sheer numbers, pounding keys, pounding pavement, and attending meetings, the Brooklyn Tea Party can and will influence politicians in Brooklyn. We can give the Democratic majority a run for their money. We can make them compromise with us for a change. We can hold Republican’s feet to the fire. And we, the people, can steal seats. Frank told me his group had greatly changed the voting records and tone in Staten Island and that this had reverberated in State politics and above. As I saw the relentless flow of Staten Island Tea Party members roll off the bus it confirmed that we can get our borough and nation back on track. And so, dear reader, can you.

Dr. John Kenneth Press is the President of the Brooklyn Tea Party and the author of Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future. www.culturism.us has more information about culturism. Search for the Brooklyn Tea Party on facebook. Join today!

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