Tell Two People in West County About The After Party This Thursday at Sky Music Lounge

A friend from Dallas just called me.  He said he met two conservatives from Ballwin who’d  love to be involved in movement conservatism . . . but don’t know how. I was shocked. And a little embarrassed. How can someone in West County not know about St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and The After Party?  '

AfterPartyLogo_LG

Clearly, I’ve done something wrong.  I’m sorry.  But I can’t just throw my hands up and walk away.

We’re STILL fighing against Obamacare.  We’re STILL fighting against government growth.  We’re still fighting for a Constitutional Republic. We’re still fight FOR the American Ideal.  And we’re still the Tea Party, dammit!

So here’s the help I need from you. Bail me out.  Please. 

Don’t assume anyone knows anything.  Tell them to come to Sky Music Lounge on Kehrs Mill at Clayton Road in Ballwin, MO, this Thursday.  Arrive before 7:00 to get a great seat.

Bring strangers.  They don’t have to be Tea Partiers.  They don’t have to be registered voters.  They don’t have to be Republicans.  They just have to be open to the ideas of liberty, freedom, fiscal responsibility, and national defense.

We have a special badge for the first 100 people—commemorating 12 months of After Parties.

With Paul Ryan on the ticket, with the election 90 days away, with the conventions about take over TV and the news, with the USA dominating the medal count at the Olympics™, I’d be shocked if Sky Music Lounge wasn’t overflowing on Thursday.  Shocked and disappointed.  And embarrassed.

The next Tea Party After Party is this Thursday, August 16, at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin.  Here’s the map.

Are You Ready to Caucus?

What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?

Who’s allowed to attend a caucus?

How do I find out my caucus location?

When it the caucus?

How long does it take?

How to do I get ready?

This Is Important Stuff

These are just some of the questions I have about the Missouri Republican Presidential Caucus scheduled for March 17. And I’m not the only with questions. 

That’s why St. Louis Tea Party Coalition has asked caucus expert Ruth Carlson to begin preparing us for this journey.

On Thursday, January 19, Ruth will give us the fundamental, most important, basic information about the caucus process. 

Don’t Skip the Primary

Plan to vote The Missouri Presidential Primary on February 7, 2012. Plan to vote. Know why? 

Because Ruth told me it’s important.  Apparently, party insiders sometimes try to challenge caucus-goers they don’t know. Voting in the Republican primary will insulate you from these charges. Even though the law only requires that you be a registered voter in the district, the insiders sometimes try to put up barriers.

And that’s just one of the important lessons Ruth will teach.

So, mark your calendar right now.  Plan to be at The After Party on Thursday, January 19 at 7:00 pm. Location is:

Fallon’s Irish Bar and Grill
9200 Olive Blvd.,
Olivette, MO 63132

You can set a reminder here.

Here’s a 16th Century Lesson on Focus

Sundays are useful touchstones for our goals.

Last week, I told you about my maniacal focus for 2012. At the beginning of the week, I stuck carefully to my plan.  But after two consecutive 15-hour days at work, I let my mind wander a little. I’m sure you know how that goes.

Well, Sunday is a great touchstone.  And who provided my guidance and support?  A 16th century saint and Doctor of the Church.  Moreover, he’s the patron saint of bloggers.  (They called bloggers “writers” in his day, though.)  And my favorite church is named after him.

Stand up and give yourself a round of applause you said, “Saint Francis de Sales.” 

StFrancisDeSales

A truly wonderful friend and noble warrior for liberty gave me a book by St. Francis for Christmas. I treasure it. 

And I’m thrilled to see that this great saint and Doctor of the Church agrees about focus.

I get a fair amount of requests (sometimes demands) to do more stuff. “Bill, why don’t we have a weekly protest here?”  “Why don’t you post more events on the calendar?”  “When is the Tea Party going to hold another big rally so Dick Morris can sneak Roy Blunt up on stage so people will hate you for years to come.”

The big answer is simple: if we try to chase after every opportunity, we will accomplish nothing.

Here’s what St. Francis had to say:

The enemy often tries to make us attempts and start many projects so that we will be overwhelmed with too many tasks, and therefore achieve nothing and leave everything unfinished.  Sometimes he even suggests the wish to undertake some excellent work that we would have easily completed. He does not care how many plans and beginnings we make, provided nothing is finished. No more than Pharaoh does he wish to prevent the “mystical women of Israel” – that is, Christian souls – from bringing forth male children, provided they are slain before they grow up.

That pattern sounds familiar to me. I am so easily distracted by new things.  I worry that my focus on the sails of the boat I’m on will cause me to miss some other, better ship that I’d rather sail. 

But the more shiny objects we chase, the more fools’ gold we mine. 

In 2012, let’s focus on building a network of friends. Activists friends who share a love of country, liberty, and decency.  We will work together, learn together, recruit together, campaign together, laugh together, and celebrate victory together.

In this mission of The After Party, I believe the enemy is fragmentation.  Fragmented teams, fragmented minds, fragmented projects.  So, with many other intentions, I pray now for unity of purpose, integrated effort, and singularity of purpose. 

And if you don’t believe me, just ask St. Francis de Sales.

How Government Growth Creates Scrooges

Scrooge’s nephew left the office and let in two men in the process. They came to ask for a donation for London’s poor.

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."

"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"

"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.

--Dickens, Charles (2004-08-11). A Christmas Carol (pp. 5-6). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

Liberals, of course, consider Scrooge the quintessential Republican. Scrooge cared only for himself. He was a miser. His miserliness made him miserable, bent, and twisted. 

humbug-scrooge

Of course, this liberal view of Scrooge lacks consideration. It misses the fundamental flaw in 19th century English government meddling. 

Is Scrooge’s attitude so different from most American’s? Do we really take it upon ourselves to help those in need?  Are we, as individuals or groups, trying to build a better society?

Or do we say, “let the government take care of it?”

Government largesse only encourages misers like Scrooge to remain miserly. The debtors’ prisons and Union workhouses lent Scrooge an easy out.  “That’s what government’s for.”

The traditional American view of the good society differs wildly from Scrooges; the welfare state’s view does not.

When it comes to certain topics—sex, drugs, profanity, modest dress—we often hear, “you can’t legislate morality.”  Why do we never hear that about charity?  Isn’t welfare simply government’s attempt to force a moral viewpoint on society?

And doesn’t it fail as surely as attempts to dictate skirt-lengths or song lyrics?

Good societies result from good people. All legislation is moral, but legislation can’t change men’s hearts.

The After Party is St. Louis Tea Party’s attempt to repair the fabric of society—a fabric left to rot as we turned to government for solutions to problems that can and should be handled by local communities, charitable organizations, and states.

That’s not to say that government, at every level, must withdraw from charitable programs. Rather, the Constitution provides no authority to Washington. And local programs tend to trump distant ones precisely because the benefactor and beneficiary live, work, and worship together.

While the Tea Party is not a charity, it does have the tools to make stronger, healthier human bonds.  These bonds give us all resources for handling tough times. 

More importantly, these bonds encourage us to look at each other as human beings. And we’re more likely to help fellow human beings than we are to give up another tax dollar to a bureaucracy that loses and wastes more money than returns to the needy.

By the way, the two gentlemen soliciting donations said something you’ll never hear from a Washington bureaucrat.  Did you catch it?

The Two Key Roles in Social Media Activism *Update*

Have you ever studied human networks? I’m not talking about online social networks alone, but any kind of human network.

They’re amazing.

inmap

Networks tend to determine who we date, who we marry, and where we work. Our lives are more influenced by networks than we can imagine.

A network community can be defined as a group of people who are much more connected to one another than they are to other groups of connected people found in other parts of the network. The communities are defined by structural connections, not necessarily by any particular shared traits.

Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009-09-09). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (p. 12). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Most importantly, though, networks determine who wins elections.

A large body of evidence suggests that a single decision to vote in fact increases the likelihood that others will vote. It is well known that when you decide to vote it also increases the chance that your friends, family, and coworkers will vote.10 This happens in part because they imitate you (as discussed in previous chapters) and in part because you might make direct appeals to them. And we know that direct appeals work. If I knock on your door and ask you to head to the polls, there is an increased chance that you will. This simple, old-fashioned, person-to-person technique is still the primary tool used by the sprawling political machines in modern-day elections. Thus, we already have a lot of evidence to indicate that social connections may be the key to solving the voting puzzle.

Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009-09-09). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (p. 181). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Old fashioned, retail politics—knocking on doors, canvassing—creates human social networks.  By looking someone in the eye, you connect with them.

As Nicholas Christakis pointed out, Obama didn’t win because he connected with voters; he won because he connected voters to each other.

The After Party is how we’re beginning to build that network. One person acting alone is necessary but limited. One person acting in concert with one hundred others is powerful. Two or three 100-node networks quickly become invincible.

Above is my LinkedIn network. On the right is work. The orange is Tea Party. (Yes, I’m pulled in many directions.)

Seeing one’s network graphically helps you understand just large and important your networks are to getting anything done.  To give you some perspective, my Facebook network is at least 3 times the size and complexity of this one.

A recent study on social media confirmed and elaborated Christakis’s work. It found that two key social media roles can launch revolutions:  recruiters and spreaders.

Recruiters are highly influential starters, originators, movers.  They are not necessarily tightly connected to many people.  They are, however, connected and influential among very important types of people: spreaders.

Spreaders are connected to people with lots of connections.  They know lots of people. They have lots of Twitter followers or facebook friends. More importantly, their followers listen to them and respond. These are the people Malcolm Gladwell called “Connectors” in his fabulous book The Tipping Point.

From the research:

Researchers followed the posting behaviour of 87,569 users and tracked a total of 581,750 protest messages over a 30-day period. They found that the growth of the movement was driven by two parallel processes: the recruitment of users, started by early participants who provided what the study calls 'random seeding'; and the diffusion of information, which made the movement grow from those roots by means of the 'spreaders'. The latter were more central in the network not necessarily because they had a higher number of connections but because they were connected to others with equally good connections

Revolutions and movements start when a recruiter calls for a new action. Then the spreaders spread the call. People (nodes) in the network repeat the call. People start showing up—on the Arch steps on a cold February Friday.

Then the signal jumps to other networks. Recruiters in these other networks relay the signal to their own spreaders who pass along the call to action.

The Tea Party failed in 2010.  No doubt about it.

The reason The After Party is so crucial right now, is that networks, not heroic individuals, will win the 2012 primaries, caucuses, and election.  If you’re not in a network, your influence is diminished. If you’re part of a network, your power is magnified.

Sign up here for the exclusive After Party mailing list.  You’ll connect to all the right people.

UPDATE  I forgot to make a key point.  Each of us must be either a recruiter or a spreader. Lurkers—those who simply observe—make up the vast majority of people on the internet.  So, if you see something important on Twitter, retweet it.  If you see an important blog post, tweet it or like it on Facebook.  Post comments on blogs and Facebook posts.  Get involved.

Who will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, visit the imprisoned . . . ?

The candidates blew the emotional turning point in Monday’s CNN/Tea Party debate. Blew it. Big. Before we go into that, hear me out on the pressure on those candidates.

Lights, Camera, Panic

Imagine being on a stage. Searing white brightness reduces your range of vision to a few degrees of arc. You hear hundreds of people making the sounds that audiences make, but you can’t really see them.

Before you are journalists bent on catching in a gaffe, or unprepared, or vulnerable. On either side of you stand your ideological soul mates. They, too, stand ready to skewer you with your own words.

I only marvel that people can even speak in that circumstance.  So what you’re about read does mean I could do better.  I couldn’t.

Still, when you take the stage, you better be ready.  And Dr. Paul and his colleagues were not.

Let Him Die?

The turning point in that debate involved Dr. Paul. He had the opportunity to champion his greatest cause—liberty.  He missed it.  The rest of the Republicans missed it, too.

Clarence Page recounts the moment in today’s Chicago Tribune:

Moderator Wolf Blitzerasked Paul, a medical doctor and fierce libertarian, if a seriously ill young man who had decided on his own to forgo health insurance suddenly needs expensive hospital care, should the state pay for it?

Paul, shaking his head, lectured, "That's what freedom is all about. Taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody. ... "

At that point Paul was interrupted by a burst of applause from the tea party-filled audience.

"But congressman," Blitzer persisted, "are you saying society should just let him die?"

"Yeah," shouted at least two voices in the crowd. But Paul, to his credit, said, "No."

So who pays? Paul asserted that in his experience, friends, neighbors, churches and charities step forward to help.

Society vs. Government

Here’s how the scenario might have played out.

In answer to Blitzer’s second challenge, “are you saying society should just let him die?” Paul might have made a crucial distinction.

“Society, Mr. Blitzer, is not government; government is not society. Throughout the vast majority of human history, in fact, society was the unwilling slave to its unwanted government.  The history of man is a history of cruel domination.

“Two hundred thirty years ago, something changed.  On this continent, away from their masters, society woke up and said, ‘my only master is God.'  That society broke the chains that bound it to its European masters and formed its own government—a government subservient to the people.

Who Pays?

“Now you ask, ‘who pays for the sick who cannot pay for themselves.’ Well, we do. But not through some massive bureaucracy as far from Santa Monica as Philadelphia is from London. Instead, we, the people who surround our sick brothers, take care of him. This isn’t a Pollyanna dream; it’s the only way a free people can exist.

“Can we just abolish all of the systems and services that Washington has forced upon us over the decades?  No.  The good society that once occupied this land is a shell of its former self.  Most of us have lost the capacity to completely care for ourselves, much less caring for others.

“Corporate officers who believe their only job is to amass and hold ridiculous wealth, corrupt union bosses who exploit the hall to build their mansions, and ordinary citizens who turn a blind eye to the decay and want all around them—these are all the products of a government that over-reached its purpose.  Excessive government pacified us into the callous, hollow people many have become.

No Off Switch

“No, Wolf, we can’t just flip the switch on the federal programs that sweet-talked Americans out of their humanity. We need to wind them down as we, the people, restore the dignity, honor, and nobility we once carried.

“No, we’ll never reach every person—there will always be pathological money whores who exploit society. Like everyone else—everyone except the exploiters—I want government there to stop them.

“But I don’t want government to be the charity ward.  If you proxy out your decency, your proxy, not you, enters the Pearly Gates.

“Finally, no, our society should not stand around and watch a man die. But now it does. We expect somebody to do something about this. We wash our hands and say, ‘it’s government’s job.’   We seem to to have forgotten that, on this continent, the government is me.”

The After Party

The purpose of The After Party is to live that answer.  We must mend the tattered fabric of American society. We must learn how to offer our services and accept others’ hand.  Relying on government aid dispensed by a paid bureaucrat is demeaning.  Accepting the loving help of a stranger is the essence of humanity.

Twelve months from now, for thousands of participants in The After Party, government programs will become a superfluous waste of time, money, and energy.  We will be a force for good that no government can challenge.

Join Us 

If you want to mend the torn fabric of society as we ease out from under a bloated bureacracy, then fill out this simple form.  You will not receive our other, regular Tea Party news.  You will be in a special list of those who want to be prepared for that day when Washington can no longer pretend to be our consciences.

It’s All Your Fault

Straight up:  We can’t tell you now where future After Parties will be.  We can’t name the venue.  And it’s all your fault! Well, not all.  some if it’s my fault, but in a very innocent way.

Planning The After Party

Eisenhower said that planning is essential, but plans are useless.  He was right.

When we were planning The After Party, we figured about 50, maybe 75,  people would attend at each one.  We based this on a few factors, including some surveying of interest and attendance as last year’s Thursday Night Throwdowns.

We were wrong, if by “We” you mean “Bill.”

Yes, I was wrong.  Others warned, but I didn’t listen.

I’m happy to say I screwed up, though.

What Happened?

Well, over 100 people showed up.  And more will show up on October 20.  And more after that.

So our plan of rotating through great St. Louis restaurants is all shot to hell. Most restaurants can’t accommodate groups our size.

Plus, we can’t afford to rent a hall big enough for all of us, unless some angel comes through with an After Party grant to help us continue our mission (hint).

So Michelle Moore and others are busily at work trying to find a solution.  We’ll need space for more than 100 in October and November, and more than that in future months.

If you can help with a donation, please click below.  If you can help with venues, please send an email to admin@stlouisteaparty.com using the subject line: After Party Venues. (You must use After Party Venues in the subject line, or it won’t get to the people who need it.)

Bottom Line

You overwhelmed the system, you Cloward-Piven wannabes,  with your desire to fix America.  You are champions.  You are heroes.  Society owes you a big thank you.  On behalf of that grateful nation, let me be the first to say Thank You for accepting the challenge of a generation.  Again.

 

DONATE

 

 

Better Yet

Become a Sustaining Member.

Membership Levels

My Remarks to First After Party

Note:  Thanks to the flu, I missed the first After Party.  Thanks to Ben Evans for reading this for me.  You probably realize that I have to be really sick to miss a party. Actually, I don’t feel so bad right now, but I don’t want to spread this to the most important people in America. And for the next 12 months, at least,  that’s you: the most important people in America.

Here’s why.

First, you’re here. You answered the call to carry the Tea Party movement beyond just rallies and angry letters.  You’re ready to take our bedrock beliefs and spread them. That’s why you get a button.  (And I don’t.)

Second, you’re pioneers.  Those buttons show the world you were here, at the first After Party.  You didn’t wait until the 3rd one, after all the great press.  You didn’t put your toe in the water or wait to see if the “cool people” would jump in first.  No. Like the people who showed up at the Arch on February 27, 2009, you recognized the challenge history’s presented, and you came out to attack it.

Third, you’re visionary.  You recognize that we must extend our reach--beyond the hard core Tea Party crowd. We need to awaken the Unknowing Believers. And awakening the unknowing believers is the Second most important thing in the world right now.

The unknowning believers are the people who believe what we believe--that governments are created by, and derive their just powers from, the consent of the governed.  They believe that when a government grows beyond its mandate, it’s our job to rein it in. And they believe that fourteen trillion dollars of debt is enough for the Millennials to handle.

For a variety of reasons, though, they don’t recognize that we believe what they believe. In some cases, that’s because they don’t realize that government has crossed the line and outgrown its mandate. Or, they do recognize that government’s out of control, but they’re afraid of what would happen to them personally if we were to shrink it back to its proper borders. The government has taught people to be dependent.  Weening people off that dependency won’t be easy.  Yelling at the people who are afraid of smaller government won’t help.  And we’ll never get the votes to rein in government if we don’t first win over most of the Unknowing Believers.

Finally, you’re leaders.  You have stepped up to take on the most daunting challenge this Tea Party has faced: the challenge of turning a media phenomenon into a human phenomenon. And this is most important thing: rebuilding the social fabric of the United States.

Why has Facebook attracted 700 million people? Because we need human connections. Human beings have four biological drives that motivate everything we do.  According to Drs. Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School, who’ve applied to the latest findings of neuroscience and behavioral economics to organizational acheivement,  those drives are: * The drive to Acquire and Achieve * The drive to Defend and Protect * The drive to Bond * The drive to Comprehend and Create

Now think about those drives. They’re wired into our brains.  They’re also built into our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

To acquire, achieve, comprehend, and create are all the ways we pursue happiness.

To defend and protect our lives and property--well, there’s the right to life and the Second Amendment.

To bond is embodied in our right to peaceably assemble, freedom of association. All of these drives require liberty.

There’s a whole book to be written about the moral implications of denying us our basic biological drives, but that’s not what this is about.

This is about awakening the Unknowing Believers by expanding our social networks and arming those social networks with the tools needed to live without the government’s extra-Constitutional powers.

Maybe that’s not as sexy as storming the Bastille with torches and pitchforks. But it might be even more effective.

Who remembers the Whole Foods BUYcott we held on September 1, 2009?

More than one thousand people shopped at Whole Foods in Town and Country that evening, most for the first time.  Some came from as far away as the suburbs of Chicago. They spent over $50,000, and set a new one-day sales record for that particular Whole Foods store.

And many of those people had never been to Tea Party before and never came to one after.

I was collecting receipts that night, and I had the chance to talk to a lot of them.  Some knew they agreed with us from the beginning, but rallies are not their thing.

Others thought we were “a bunch of kooks” until they heard about the BUYcott.  The creativity and the willingess to support with a company that seemed so contrary to the Tea Party opened their eyes. They realized that we are really about liberty and good government.

This second group of BUYCotters--they are the Unknowing Believers.  They are the secret to our landslide in 2012.  They hold the key to preventing Obama from appointing one more Supreme Court justice.  They are the difference between victory and defeat.

And they are begging someone to ask them out on a date.

Tonight, we begin that courtship.

Each month, we’’ll take on a new mission to be completed by the next month’s meeting.  Each mission builds upon the last.   The missions are not explicitly political, though some are what I would call “civic” in nature.

The first mission seems as simple as falling off a log. But appearances can be deceiving.  And because each mission builds on the last, getting this first one right is critical to the success of the program.

Step One:  Name five people you want to form your network.

That’s it.

But be warned.  If these people are already hardcore tea partiers, you’re not really expanding the base.  If they’re hardcore anit-tea party progressives, you’re probably not going to win them over.

Also, to be effective, your network needs to do things--some just for fun, others for a very important purpose.  Either way, you’ll want a network of people you enjoy doing things with, talking, etc.

When we meet in October, you mission is simply to show a card with five first names or initials.  You don’t have to tell anyone who they are.  We’re not going to ask you to drag them to one of these meetings, but we think three of them will want to come before the 12 months are up.

If you can’t get to five?  Okay.  Go with four or three.  Just make sure they’re people who will grow with you.  People who will benefit from being part of your network and who will possibly benefit the movement and the nation down the road.

Oh, there’s one more thing:  stay after the formal meetings for the social meeting. I’ve said many times that there’s no point in liberty if we don’t enjoy it.  That’s why we designed this After Party to be at least 1 part fun for 1 part work.  (Although I like the 6 parts gin to 1 part Vermouth mixture even better.)

When the formal meeting ends, please hang around and talk.  This group--the folks sporting The After Party 1 badges--should be the model network. This is your team--the people you rely on in a pinch.

This is also your chance to thank the people of the Crowne Plaza Hotel who’ve graciously invited us here tonight.  We believe in spreading the wealth around--but only when it’s OUR wealth to spread around as we see fit.

Also, please thank Boaz Steiner for his help in securing this location for tonight’s event.  And thank Michelle Moore for leading the charge on this new phase of the Tea Party in St. Louis.

When I posted a blog about standing on the steps of the Arch with a sign, I had no idea if anyone would join me. Quickly, several great folks offered to help, to co-host, to speak.

Then, over a thousand showed to up on a cold Friday in February.

The lesson I learned that day is one I hope you’ll carry with you:  If you stick your neck out for the right reasons, others will carry you forward.

Yes, it’s scary to realize that you might look like a fool in public.  Yes, it’s scary to ask someone out on a date.  Yes, it’s intimidating to put yourself out there.

But everyone in this room has already taken the first step.  We might as well go all the way and win this thing.

Finally, we are about to begin awakening the Unknowing Believers by inviting them into our networks.  Until now, so much of our language has been fairly aggressive.  While I don’t intend to relent on any front, I do think there’ more appropriate language for The After Party.  And it’s love.  This passage--overused at weddings and underused everywhere else--seems the perfect message as we begin building our networks:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

Oh, one more thing.  I’ve recieved inquiries from tea party goups in Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and New York about implementing the After Party concept there.  This is going national. And it will be big, if you make it big.

Once again, the eyes of the Tea Party movement are on St. Louis.  You’ve never failed to shine. So, congratulations, in advance, for changing the world.

Why Is 9-15 the Perfect Day to Start The After Party?

Have you been watching the 9-11 anniversary programs? IMG_0783I have. They remind me of several things. My Uncle Patrick Mahon, for one. Uncle Pat and I watched MAS*H reruns every day at 4:00 when I was a kid.  We met at my Aunt Mame’s house (unwed sister to Pat and my mom).  Uncle Pat drank coffee—usually black with sugar—and smoked unfiltered cigarettes.

Uncle Pat retired from the St. Louis Fire Department in about 1976 (rough guess).  He’d risen to Battalion Chief. Like most retired firemen, Pat remained active in the union and guided many, many younger fire fighters. The fire department—its history, its nobility, and its future—were true loves.

So was the military.  Pat was a WWII veteran.  He served the entire length of that great war, and on both coasts. He was Chief Petty Officer not long into the war, having enlisted before Pearl Harbor.  He honored those who served and cherish the flag and the nation we protected.

In WWII, Pat was an Aviation Radioman.  Flight fascinated him. He flew Catalinas and other Navy planes all around the Pacific. Whenever there was an air show, Pat was there.  When Scott Air Force Base opened up to the public, Pat took us.  He marveled at the power and elegance of human flight, especially military air power.

Uncle Pat passed away almost exactly one year prior to 9/11/2001.  Had he been around a year later, he’d have been glued to the television as his three great passions in life—aviation, fire fighting, and national defense—converged in the American psyche like never before.

With the memory of 9-11 fresh in our minds, now is the perfect time to begin the next phase of the Tea Party movement.

On Thursday, September 15, at 7 pm, St. Louis Tea Party Coalition embarks in the next phase of the war for American greatness.  We will begin a 12-month program to repair the fabric of American society.

Those who attend our first meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clayton will receive a commemorative button. You will be the pioneers of this next wave.

You will also be the leaders of a new units of community.  These units will not be overtly political. They will be social. And civic.  They will make all of us a better team.

Over the next 12 months, we get closer to each other. We will prepare ourselves for the next crisis and the next opportunity.  We will reduce our reliance on the federal government and increase our faith in ourselves and each other.

Were Uncle Pat here today, he’d be so proud of this St. Louis Tea Party Coalition.  And he’d deliver a warning, subtly, kindly: “You can never let this country be unprepared again.”

We won’t, Uncle Pat.  Following your example, we shall prepare, and we will prevail.

(Photo: My mom, Gini, with her brother, then CPO Patrick J. Mahon Sr., taken sometime between Pearl Harbor and VJ Day.)

Don't Commit the 7 Deadly Sins of Movements

Maybe you scoffed at the headline.  Maybe you didn't see it.  Maybe you're in denial.  Or maybe you just don't care what other people think.

If you want to stop the slide  into irrelevancy (and the Tea Party movement is far down that path), then pay attention.

If, however, you like the screaming in wilderness, stop reading now.  This post is for those who want to continue the mission set forth in February 2009.

The Headline

The headline I referred to in the opening paragraph?  It was this one from Rasmussen on August 30, 2011:

43% Now View 'Tea Party' Label As A Negative

It gets worse.  In a head-to-head match-up against the "progressive" label, Tea Party loses 31% to 29%.

The poll is packed with bad news.  Let's look at the causes and the fixes.  What are the Seven Deadly Sins of Movements that we've committed since last election?

7 Deadly Sins of Movements

Personality Cult:  A sustained movement demands constant refreshing. That means new blood, new ideas, and, most importantly, new energy.  Building a cult around charismatic individuals is tempting, but it's deadly. Cult figures can inspire.  They also disappoint and demoralize.  They demand control. They loathe delegation. *

Anarchy:  Still, movements require some sort of figure head. Sorry, they do.  Someone must take the lead. Someone must rent the park and send the press releases.  Someone must be willing to take the first step, just as the signers of the Declaration did. The idea of a "leaderless organization" is wonderful, but the human brain won't organize around a clot of individuals.  Leaders who arise naturally because of their drive to push the movement forward are indispensable.  Leaders can be distinguished from cult figures over time: leaders focus on the prize while cult figures focus on who's following them.

Zealotry:   Also known as "fanaticism." The press promotes Tea Party fanatics as the core of the movement, confusing the Unknowing Believers.  Don't know who the fanatics are? They don't care about winning minds and hearts; they seem to want immediate economic collapse. Zealots believe that people will rally to their side once the calamity has struck. They predict a meltdown and hope to say "I told you so" among the smoldering remnants of society.

Despair: Some in the movement believe that the United States--and, more consequentially, the rights of man--are doomed. They expected the 2010 elections to reverse 70 years of government growth. When it did not, they gave up.  The Wall Street Journal made a Houston man the poster child for Tea Party despair.  If you find yourself saying "it's hopeless," do something.  Take some action. Action is the best antidote to depression and despair.

Vainglory:  This is despair's opposite. Vainglory in a movement is the belief that, if one's motives are noble, then one's ideas will prevail. It's an idiotic, lazy belief.  The good people in Germany believed that their own goodness would spare them the horrors of Nazism. They were wrong.  If you think that being right is enough, think again.

Acedia:  Those guilty of acedia show up at big rallies.  And that's it.  They see the Tea Party as an entertainment troupe.  Sometimes they vote. They seem oblivious to the fact that the progressives work hard every day to take away liberty and property.  They let others take care of things for them. We all need to take a break now an then. But if the breaks exceed the work, the balance is wrong.

Wrath: This is the one that really kills center-right movements. Rage and anger  get old really fast.  People want to be happy, and rage and anger don't seem like the path to joy. Yes, we get angry when government tramples our rights. But we can't live our lives in anger and rage.  If we do, we'll die young and lonely. If you find yourself feeling wrathful, smile.  Smile and hold that smile for 30 seconds.

Make The Next Poll Better

The After Party is one way to reverse the trend in polling.

I believe that the Tea Party movement--even if under a different name--is the last, best hope for human rights.  As such, we who believe in liberty have a moral obligation to advance this cause.

I feel the tug of these sins every day, and I give in occasionally.  When I do, it helps no one.

As we prepare for the After Party beginning Thursday, September 15 at 7:00 pm, please remember that we need more than 29 percent on our side to win.  And we can't afford to have a majority working against us.

With a smile and dedicated service to our ideals, we will win this thing--eventually.

Did You See the Crisis Coming?

Can you guess the year?

  • Scottish scientists cloned a sheep named Dolly
  • President Clinton signed a bill barring federal funds for human cloning
  • Bank robbers in Kevlar suits staged an epic gun battle with Los Angeles police
  • The English Patient wins Best Picture Oscar
  • Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of England
  • Timothy McVeigh convicted of pure evil
  • Titanic bounced off the iceberg and hit the box office

The year was 1997. Monica Lewinsky still enjoyed relative obscurity. Dot coms had not yet bubbled.

How old were you? How old were your kids?  What was your favorite song? How much money did you make that year, and what was your retirement account worth?

In 1997, did you think America would be teetering on the edge of another Great Depression in 2011?

The word “crisis” is overused.  Everything isn’t a crisis.  But there are crises. We’re in one right now.

You knew that. But you probably didn’t know how long it will last. Or that it’s happened before and will happen again, if we survive this one.

Read this brief passage from a very important book:

Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire.

Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2009-01-16). The Fourth Turning (Kindle Locations 147-149). Three Rivers Press. Kindle Edition.

Howe and Strauss wrote those words in 1997—fourteen years ago.  They aren’t soothsayers or tea-leaf readers; they’re historians. Their prediction from 1997 came not from looking at the conditions of day, but at the pattern of history since the Etruscans.

Even more sobering:

Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.

That means we have about 15 years of turmoil before we overcome the great, final obstacle to a “new normal.”

It’s easy, of course, to dismiss predictions as speculation. It’s comforting to believe that Howe and Strauss sensationalized history to scare people into buying their books.

But something about The Fourth Turning simply feels true today.  Or, maybe, something about today makes  the book feel true.

If these historians were right, then we have a long, hard row to hoe.  We will need with us people we can trust.

We’ll also need a roadmap toward the better world, not a treasure map to a misremembered past.

St. Louis Tea Party Coalition is launching The After Party program to create this network of trust and to paint that roadmap toward the next iteration of our republic.

We’re inviting you to join us.  Each month will involve a short meeting that will introduce an action to be completed before the next month’s meeting.  Then we’ll have a long social hour.   We hope that everyone will stay, have a dinner or appetizers, and talk about the future.

The action plans will be very simple. They will leave time for other civic or political actions.  Those actions will be more effective as your network of trust grows larger and stronger.

We need to get to know each other better. We need to develop stronger bonds of trust than we’ve known in generations—since the 1930s and 1940s to be exact.

If you want to be fully prepared for the next 12 months and the next 15 years, read The Fourth Turning by Howe and Strauss.

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny

Are You Ready For The Next Wave?

Do you ever feel like Dan Blackford? Dan is an original Tea Party organizer. He’s been at it since 2009. And he’s just about worn out. According to the Wall Street Journal, Blackford’s given up his position in the  Houston Tea Party.

All the protests, the organization, the fundraising, the block-walking, has it done anything? Are we better off than we were two years ago? I say 'No.’

How many other people feel the way Dan feels?  Do you think the past two-and-a-half years were a waste?

You Are Not Alone

Sometimes I do.  Since the end of 2009, I have been ready to throw in the towel many times.  Each time, my friends bolstered me.  They reminded me how far we’d come since February ‘09.  The reminded me that nothing has stopped our movement, locally or nationally.

So now it’s my turn to bolster the spirits of those like Dan Blackford.

Rome Didn’t Fall in a Day

First, let’s get something straight: your expectations must match reality.  The United States has been on the path to bigger government, more debt, and less liberty since the Constitutional Convention.  Larry Elder points out:

Congress began ignoring its lack of authority for charity before the ink dried on the Constitution. When Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist French refugees in 1792, James Madison – a Founding Father and principal author of the Constitution – wrote, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution, which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Read more: Charity: Not in the Constitution

The tendency of government to grow is not new.  Nor will it go away. Let’s accept what we cannot change and move on.  Please don’t make the mistake of assuming we could roll back sixty years of rapid government growth with a single election. 

Everybody’s Talkin’

Next, let’s look at what we have accomplished.  Let’s begin with the fact that Dan Blackford gets quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal more than two years into the Tea Party era. 

Do you know how many nascent movements and organizations are born and die in any two year period?  Do you know how rare it is for a movement to survive 30 months?  Do you realize much rarer it is for a movement that’s only two years old to drive 100 percent of the conversation about government?

Sure, it’s easy to say, “conversation” is all the Tea Party’s gotten for its work.  That’s what Ellen Gilmore of LaGrange Tea Party told WSJ.  I would tell Ellen that driving the conversation is a very big deal in a republic.

Tomorrow’s decisions—in primaries, in general elections, in school board meetings, and in Congress and the Supreme Court—evolve from to today’s conversations.  In 2008, no one cared what Ellen Gilmore  or Dan Blackford thought about anything. Today their thoughts are on the front page of one of the most read papers in the world.

If we give up now, Dan and Ellen will be correct: it will have been a waste of precious time, money, and energy.

But we’re not giving up.  We’re not standing still.  We are still advancing.

The After Party

Over next several weeks, we will roll out a plan. The plan builds upon our accomplishments and strengths.  It looks reality squarely in the eye.  And it begins to fill the void we feel in our movement and in ourselves.

Once we fill that void, we’ll begin moving the debate a little faster.  We’re going to launch an upward spiral of effective action.

Beginning  Sunday, August 7, read every episode of The After Party series on www.stlouisteaparty.com.  And put a placeholder on your calendar for the 3rd Thursday of every month. 

It’s time to launch the next wave. And you won’t be alone.

 

IF YOU WOULD St. Louis Tea Party Coalition is taking on an ambitious project. Your prayers and any financial help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  Please use the Donate button on the sidebar at stlouisteaparty.com.  Thank you.