Our Tea Party is made of people from every walk of life. Young and old, white collar and blue, all united in a specific cause; to bring fiscal responsibility back to our nation. We have Christians and Atheists. We have Republicans and Libertarians. I could go on and on, until I arrive at my liberal friend who likes to attend our meetings. My point is this; If we ever stop concentrating on what unites us, our differences have the potential to bring us down.
My mom posed a question on Facebook Wednesday morning: "Have campaigns gotten so dirty and desperate, that the only way to win is to lie"?. The answer may very well be....Yes, This is one of the reasons we organized in 2009. We probably all hoped, however, that these sort of low tactics wouldn't be employed in our own movement. It has become apparent though, especially in recent weeks, that these tactics are being used. There are some in the conservative movement who will accuse the left of lies and character assassination, then use the very same tricks to accomplish their own goals. This is the ugly truth about politics, did you really think that we were immune? Why the lies, and the personal attacks?....Because they are effective. Mark Twain put it like this;
"A lie travels half way around the world before the truth can pull its boots on in the morning."
Many folks have come to my mom's defense, pointing out the lies and attacks being launched by a few. Often though, by the time the truth has been presented, the lies have done their intended damage. The most recent attacks, via an emailing sent to delegates from a group calling themselves the "Wayne County Truth Squad," attempt to not only discredit my mom, but also question the integrity of our organization. This is something that every member of Rattle With Us should be concerned with. This situation shines a light on our policy regarding the official endorsement of candidates, a policy that remains mostly undefined.
Politics is a dirty business, that goes without saying. How do we, as a Tea Party, keep ourselves above the infighting and mudslinging that inevitably comes with the campaign and electioneering process? This is the question that concerned me during the primary season of 2012, when RWU was considering official endorsements in the primary contests between Durant/Hoekstra, and Bentivolio/Cassis. I couldn't remember a single time when all of our members had unanimously supported one candidate, so no official endorsement would have reflected the opinion of all of our members. In this I saw the potential for trouble. Officially supporting one candidate over another serves to break our group into factions. The factions lead to infighting, and infighting leads to mudslinging and name calling. I shared my concerns at our monthly meeting, and again to the RWU leadership. Now, this issue has caused our organization more trouble, and is the basis for some very serious attacks on my mother's character.
I trust the members of our organization to make individual decisions about who they support, and I have confidence in their ability to choose the candidates that best reflect their values. As an organization, we need only to provide a platform for candidates to present their positions. Our members can then individually endorse whichever candidates they choose. In my opinion, RWU should not be officially endorsing anyone. Official endorsements open the door for the ugliest aspects of electioneering to creep into our TEA Party. Nastiness seems to be an inherent part of the campaign process; perhaps it would be wise, as an organization, to keep our hands clean of it. My mom knows she doesn't owe anyone an apology, but we could avoid this situation altogether.
This isn't really about Ledford or Mitchell, it's not about Shostak or Courser. This is part of a larger struggle for control of the Republic Party, and the conservative movement. This is that soul searching thing we talked so abstractly about, after we got whipped in the last election. Now we're doing the left a favor by fighting amongst ourselves, when we should be saving the republic. If conservatives are going to sling lies and insults at each other, we as an organization can stay above the fray. We need to be a unified front against the left. We do this by concentrating on what unites us, and not what divides.