Army of Davids Having Tea

05/17/09 00:00:00    

By Michael Mealling

Glenn Reynods linked to How David Beats Goliath and had this to say about it: bq. Is getting active in every Congressional district kind of like a full-court press? But don’t wait for elections: “Insurgents operate in real time.” Give ‘em something new to react to all the time. But it’s not easy: “Effort can trump ability—legs, in Saxe’s formulation, can overpower arms—because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than the ability to engage in some finely tuned act of motor coördination.” And remember this, too: “When the world has to play on Goliath’s terms, Goliath wins.” This is part of what has bugged me about the Tea Parties I've been helping organize here in Atlanta and around the country. As we finished the first and started talking about the second one on April 15th, myself and others began asking what the protests were attempting to accomplish. The answer was exposure and getting fiscally conservative politicians elected. But both of those goals amounted to playing the game by Goliath's rules. Modern protesting for media impact was invented by the left. And electing fiscally conservative representation assumes that the Tea Party movement reflects a majority of the electorate. Recent polls suggest it isn't. Both amount to asking the other side's permission to be relevant.

But whether or not you are a minority doesn't matter. In today's world its actually an advantage if played well. Taking Malcom Gladwell's admonishment to play to your own strengths, lets do some analysis. What differentiates the people in the Tea Party movement from those in Goliath's army?

  1. *We work. Hard. *
  2. One of the major complaints about the first tea party event was that it was on a week day which meant few people could come because of work. Most of the participants are between 30 and 60 and are in their prime working life. One of the reason’s Goliath’s Army can protest so well is that most have are young enough that taking time off from the Gap is relatively easy.
  3. *We pay taxes.*
  4. Because we work most of us earn enough to be above the “pay no income taxes due to deductions” line. That means the bulk of the income tax receipts to the IRS come from us. We may be the ones who are saddled with the burden but it also means we have a good bit of power if we decide to wield it.
  5. *We are geographically diverse.*
  6. We live in and have ties to “fly over country” that Goliath’s Army simply cannot relate to or easily access. Properly organized we can “flash mob” every middle of nowhere Congressman where ever he/she may be.
  7. *A good percentage of us are traditional single earner families. *
  8. That can mean that kids and mothers (or fathers) may have the time to do distributed activism kind of work. “Play dates” can be created where kids create the collateral that a subversive campaign needs. Think about all of those can drives during World War II.
  9. *We are more patriotic.*
  10. While patriotism (“love of country”) does exist on the left, the majority of those waving flags, supporting troops, and going to July 4th celebrations are largely on the right.
  11. *We are more religious.*
  12. Self-identification as Christian and church attendance is higher among those on the right. Churches make a great community nucleus to build around.
  13. *We are more respectful of and comfortable with the military (and vice versa). *
  14. Former military people understand organization, motivation, duty and honor. By using their skills and motivating them to become involved we can create a very strong and reliable organizational background.
  15. **
  16. What do you, as a Tea Party participant, think should be added?

In all of the cases Malcom Gladwell discussed, the guy at a disadvantage was also in the minority. The left has captured public education and turned it into an indoctrination system. Because of that we may not be in the majority. Even if we are, that doesn't mean we can't get what we want. If anything the past century has been about minority groups demanding and getting what they want. Its time for us to demand that and do what it takes to get it.

comments powered by Disqus