Hoping for the best!

Last week I finally got my manuscript to where I think it’s ready – pretty much. The only thing I’m not sure about is how to go about working in the endnotes. (There are something like 792 of them, so that’s an important thing!) And my cover concept isn’t all that complicated, but do you think I have time for the frustration?

It didn’t help that I was wiped out sick over last weekend, although I made some of that back when I was excused from work Monday.

I’m still shooting for getting this out April 15. Prayers are welcome, of course! But I don’t recall it being so hard the last time…

So, about those Jeremiah conservatives…

I made an executive decision as I wrote: this is an edited version from a post that is on my main website.

I’ve been meaning to get to this all week and the opportunity has finally arrived. Last week Erick Erickson at The Resurgent did a piece on what he called “Jeremiah 29 conservatives.” In the post, he cites Jeremiah 29:5-7, which is a portion of a letter from Jeremiah to those who were captured and forced to relocate to exile in Babylon. Erickson uses it to springboard to his main point.

I’ve probably researched the TEA Party more than 99% of the people out there and I found that it was a very unusual phenomenon in that the TEA Party began as a nationwide effort but then decentralized itself to the local level for a time. Think of the TEA Party as three early stages, which I’ll distinguish by their dates: February 27, April 15, and September 12. (All these occurred in 2009.)

The February 27 wave occurred in fewer than 50 cities and was really put together for one purpose: to make a statement about the unwillingness of government to consider solutions other than top-down financial stimulus and increased government control in addressing the Great Recession. Some may have organized this believing it would be a one-time deal, but there was such a success created that thousands of others, helped along by mass media, decided to get in on the action at the local level.

So rather than 40-odd mainly large cities, the April 15 (and later July 4) wave of TEA Parties took place in a thousand cities around the nation, big and small. Each local event had its own flavor, with some rallying around strictly financial and national issues and others departing from that script to address local items or topics dear to social conservatives, particularly those in the pro-life movement. There was no “right” way to do a TEA Party, and part of its appeal was the grassroots organization that didn’t get marching orders from a party or inside-the-Beltway group.

But by the September 12 Taxpayer March on Washington – an event I simply call 9/12 – local groups were being encouraged to join up in a national organization, supposedly to increase the clout of the movement. While some TEA Party groups remained fiercely independent, most others gravitated toward an alliance with organizations such as the Campaign for Liberty or Americans for Prosperity. (The latter is basically what happened to our local TEA Party.) This also coincided with the rise of Tea Party Patriots as an umbrella group, although they weren’t the only one as many states had similar entities.

Once the rallies became less frequent, though, hundreds of TEA Party groups withered on the vine. And many of those individual participants who stuck it out for the first couple years were perhaps made complacent by how easily the political tables were turned in 2010 and figured the movement didn’t need them anymore – they let the most passionate ones soldier on. So by the time 2012 and 2014 rolled around, many of those who believed in the TEA Party early on saw that the movement was no longer locally grassroots but corporate-style Astroturf, and no longer fiercely independent but now the red-headed stepchild of the national Republican Party.

As Erickson might tell it, that’s what happens when outsiders try to get involved in national politics, which is way out of the league of the average person. Most people are more interested in local activism, and (to be honest) if government were as it should be that’s all they would need to deal with.

So today I decided to look again at the Tea Party Patriots’ website as they celebrate their tenth anniversary. In a celebratory op-ed by Jenny Beth Martin – the only one of the three original co-founders of Tea Party Patriots to still be with the group – she cited a number of Washington initiatives as accomplishments of the TEA Party and noted they would continue to fight in the halls of Congress – just like any other lobbying group. They pay lip service to the local groups, but their focus is on stopping socialism on a national level. There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s stop pretending they’re a grassroots group, okay?

It’s very sad to think that the TEA Party may have missed its golden opportunity because they lost focus on the local groups. If local needs are addressed, it’s more likely that states will follow and eventually the nation.

I have a suggestion for all this, but I can’t reveal it here – it’s waiting until my book is ready. (That’s called a tease.) Good Lord willing and if the creek don’t rise, look for it April 15.

Remembering the rant

For the first time, I’m cross-posting from my “home” website, monoblogue.

On a humdrum Thursday morning, there were probably a few dozen thousand who were watching the CNBC show “Squawk Box” and a lot of them probably weren’t paying full attention when one man’s statements were the spark that lit the fuse of pent-up political frustration. It was a fire that raged out of control for several years before being contained by a political party more interested in power and winning elections than in its stated principles.

I half-jokingly wrote that night that I thought Rick Santelli would be the next guy on the unemployment line, but instead he’s become something of a cult hero for those things he said a decade ago. Yet in looking up his whereabouts it appears he’s doing pretty much the same thing as he did a decade ago. In that respect, he’s a lot like most participants in the TEA Party who did what they did out of love for the country, not fame, fortune, or political power. I’m sure his name has come up a lot today, though.

But in just eight days after Santelli made his remarks, tens of thousands of people got together in over thirty cities around the nation and began a phenomenon that people still talk about today. And because there are a number of useful lessons that came from the TEA Party, I wrote a book detailing its history: Good Lord willing, I’ll have it ready in time to commemorate the tenth anniversary of one of the most massive and widespread grassroots uprisings in recent American history, the Tax Day TEA Party of 2009 on April 15. I was at the one here in Salisbury, and five months later I was at the unforgettable 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington. (I posted on that event in two parts the next two days, and the posts reminded me I had even more photos on my then-relatively nascent Facebook page. Revisiting this with the new WordPress block setup allowed me to add the captions I wrote originally, too.) As they say, the rest was history.

And to think: how many people just thought February 19, 2009 was just going to be another humdrum winter’s day?

A couple minor additions

One thing I noticed about my website that I missed in version 2.0 was the credit for the cover photo. So I did a quick little page and added that to the main menu so you can get a little bit of backstory on it.

There are one or two other pages I need to do for the site but those are going to wait for a bit. One of them will be a thanklist of people who have helped along the way and the other will be any reaction I receive to the book from those I have entrusted with looking it over. (So far so good, but I need to follow up.)

I’m also looking into the options on formatting the book, since having an editor or proofreader appears to be prohibitively expensive. (I guess I will have to trust the original Word docs and the automatic spellcheck.) I really want a Lexus book but alas, it’s going to have to be on a Yugo budget.

In just four weeks we will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the first TEA Party protests. Getting done by then may not be doable, but that would be a great day to put it out, would it not?

For starters…

It took me a little while, but finally I have settled on a theme that’s halfway decent to me and that I can deal with in terms of look and functionality. (It’s actually a cousin to the one I use for my primary website but one with a better front for a full-size image.) So now the Rise and Fall website is ready for the world.

Before The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party becomes a reality, though, I need a few more things:

  • First and foremost, I need a proofreader/editor to check it over for misspellings and poor grammar. It’s not that I haven’t gone through this thing with a fine-toothed comb, but a set of unbiased eyes would not hurt.
  • I also need someone who can design a cover. Part of me wants to use an upside-down Gadsden Flag as the main focus of the cover, which would be some variation of the yellow-and-black colors the flag is best known for. But there’s also a part of me that would rather use a backdrop from the 9/12 rally. (Actually, I’d love to use the image of the guy on my book’s social media page – the circled one on the upper left – but I have no idea who it is and presume I need his permission.) Again, a second pair of expert eyes would be helpful.
  • Finally, I need a person who can format the manuscript to book form and add page numbers, an index, and such. That was one thing my first book lacked and I thought the book wasn’t what it could be without those elements.

The great thing about self-publishing, though, is that I can have things together relatively quickly. To me it would be awesome to put this book out February 27 – the tenth anniversary of the first “Nationwide Chicago Tea Parties” – but that could be a little ambitious. April 15 would be great as well, as that’s the day the TEA Party really hit the national scene. But seeing that this is the ten-year anniversary of its founding, 2019 is the year for this book. Help me make this happen and be a success!