If you thought the absence of a big taxpayer march on Washington this September 12th was evidence of the death of the Tea Party movement, you’re going to want to think again.
The Tea Party is not gathering on a national stage to commiserate like it used to. Instead, communities of like-minded individuals are gathering at the state and local levels, focusing their efforts toward a common vision that will survive far beyond the 2012 election cycle.
And our next stop is Cincinnati, Ohio.
On September 15th, more than 5,000 activists in the Ohio area will gather in the Duke Energy Center for FreePAC Ohio, where they will learn about the latest techniques in grassroots activism, followed by speeches from inspiring leaders of the fight for freedom, among them media entrepreneur Glenn Beck and Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.
The FreePAC national tour began in the sweltering July heat of Dallas, Texas, where 16,000 citizens gathered at the American Airlines Center for the largest gathering of fiscally conservative activists since the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington. The arena had the same invigorating sense of community felt three years ago on the National Mall at the first taxpayer march on Washington. Only this time around, people gathered for a strategically different purpose.
Why? Because the Tea Party is not just a protest movement anymore. Activists across the country have mobilized into sophisticated “Get out the Vote” machines. They’ve started to build a community of individuals based on a shared set of values, and a firm commitment to transforming the ideas of freedom and constitutionally limited government into permanent political change.
Citizens are putting policy first, not personality or political party. It’s not about finding the perfect candidate; it’s about growing a constituency of engaged citizens who will create the incentives for politicians to make the right votes. This means holding politicians accountable when they’re wrong, but also supporting them when they’re right.
FreePAC Ohio is not a political action conference; it’s a principled action community. It’s an opportunity for individuals in the greater Ohio area who believe in the values of freedom to get connected with each other, educate themselves, and most importantly, to share that gained knowledge with their neighbors to recruit and continue building the limited-government community.
The events throughout the day at FreePAC Ohio are informative and entertaining, but the most important work begins the second we step out of the Duke Energy Center. It’s time to stop preaching to the proverbial choir, and to get outside our comfort zone.
Woody Allen once said, “90% of life is just showing up.” I respectfully disagree. Just showing up for a protest isn’t going to cut it anymore. It’s time to show up, pick up some yard signs, and take action.
Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks, and author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America.