The Tea Party Youth, sponsored by Tea Party Patriots held its 3rd annual conference over the weekend in Marietta, GA. The schedule included many distinguished speakers including Jenny Beth Martin, Paul Broun, Hayden Collins, Bob Barr, Jennifer Burke, Debbie Dooley, Derrick Grayson among many others.
Having had an opportunity to think about the conference, I walked away from the event with a couple of key takeaways: The Tea Party is filled with Diversity. WOW, I wish I were as involved in the political processes as the speakers and attendees of this conference are
The line up of speakers included young and old, men and women, black and white, republicans, tea partiers and libertarians. The conference had an air of openness, for new ideas, new points of view, and differing perspectives.
Debbie Dooley, Co-founder, Green Tea Coalition spoke of building coalitions with groups whom you may disagree with on every position except the one you are able to find common ground on, forming a coalition and preventing bad legislation from passing.
Todd Hollenbeck, College Programs Coordinator, Foundation for Economic Education spoke about his group’s work to expand economic knowledge of the next generation of thought leaders. By teaching economic concepts not taught in most schools and universities, they illustrate how economics weaves through every industry including the sports, the movie and science fields
One of the most dynamic speakers of the day was Daniel Macris, Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Kennesaw State University. After Mr. Macris finished speaking about the positives of legalizing marijuana, a position I do not support, I found myself opening my mind to, at least, hear from the other side. The young men and women who spoke were inspiring. They grew up differently than my generation. They are more open to the differences of others but have a passion for liberty, freedom and the Constitution of the United States. One of the speakers later in the day summed it up quite well, discussing the differences of opinions and policy held by all in the room, we are tethered by the fact that we ‘fricking love America.’
Outsiders consistently attack the Tea Party. I believe they do so because they fear the Tea Party and the power it holds. They may call the Tea Party racists, but inherently they know this is not true. For they know members of the Tea Party love our country and value our freedom, and as Jennifer Burke, of TheTeaParty.net & Tea Party News Network reminded us, ‘there is nothing racist about freedom’.