Feb 172010

We certainly don’t walk the beaten path when it comes to religion, yet many of us feel compelled to do so when it comes to politics. Republican or Democrat, that old duality, is the only choice we have. That’s what we tell ourselves.  Falling back into a mode of duality thinking, we extol the virtues of the one and demonize the other. It’s a very Abrahamic way of looking at things from a supposedly non-Abrahamic group of people. Early teachings and cultural immersion bites deep.

The main argument for not supporting Third Parties and their candidates is that a vote for them is a wasted vote. Supporting a Third Party is to marginalize yourself and the issues you hold dear. But here’s a question for you, are Pagans any less marginalized in the Democratic or Republican Parties? Both are old, established Parties that have shown little intention to hear anything we say. The power brokers are firmly in place and we have little chance of entering those elite ranks and affecting platforms or policies. In a choice between having more voice in a powerless group or having no voice in a powerful group, which vote is more of a waste?

There may be a window of opportunity in the USA to create a different power paradigm, one that could be especially appealing to Center and Right of Center Pagans. Due to voter dissatisfaction with both the Democrat and Republican Parties and the extremely low approval numbers for Congress (20% approval) the time is ripe for either a viable Third Party to emerge or for serious reform of our existing two main Parties.

Although I haven’t made up my mind, I have been giving serious consideration to getting involved with the Tea Party.  As of now, they are not a true political Party, more of an umbrella name for a political movement,  but they are gaining in power. According to one poll 41% of likely voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party, compared with 35% for Democrats and 28% for Republicans.  If the tea party really were a party, it’s candidates could expect to beat their Democratic and Republican opponents.

In time they may become a political party or they may be an agent for reform within the (mostly) Republican and (some) Democrat parties. This is some of what I have found out about the Tea Party over the past year:

  • Tea Party has no fixed platform, no established hierarchy, and is brand new so it could be possible for Pagans to become influential within it – more of a chance than within the existing established parties.
  • There seems to be three main things they agree on:  Both major parties are to blame for (insert issue here), neither were fully responsive to voters and it’s time to clean house. The desire for a smaller, less intrusive Federal government. The national budget must be balanced and excessive national debt is generational theft.
  • They do seem sincere that the group is to be non-partisan and Democrats are welcomed, but let’s face it, the main message outlined about is not going to appeal to many Liberals. That said, people I’ve talked to said they would love it if people like Hilary Clinton and Jon Stewart would speak at Tea Party rallies. That makes sense when you realize how many Independents there are in the Tea Party. A poll in Iowa found that Independents account for nearly half of Tea Party supporters, Republicans represent a third, and Democrats 17 percent.
  • They are trying to stay away from social issues, although some of the sub-groups are very focused on pushing a social based agenda. I think that sooner or later they will turn to social issues, which is another area that I think we could influence if we become involved.
  • Most of the Tea Party groups seem sane, but some are either flat out racists or are religiously exclusionary. The sane ones seem to be trying to push the racists out and not allow the fundamentalists to take over. But that wacky minority could give the Tea Party a bad name and could cause people to leave the Tea Party. The Tea Party needs to more forcefully eject these people from their ranks.   I’m sure the Heathens can empathize.
  • I love their tactics. Even if I don’t become involved with the Tea Party, I think Pagans would do well to learn from what the Tea Party is doing. They are encouraging candidates to challenge incumbents of both parties in primary contests to ensure that career politicians stay responsive to the voters. They are encouraging Tea Party members to file as candidates for the office of precinct executive within both Parties – this places Tea Party activists in GOP and DNC leadership positions and allows them to change the party from within. They actually have a PowerPoint presentation that shows interested persons how to run for precinct executives.

The disorganization and infighting really puts me off. That’s just a personal peeve and is one thing about the Pagan community that drives me nuts, too. I’m more of a ‘suck it up and do your job efficiently’ kind of person.  If the Tea Party starts to run on Tea Party Standard Time – I’m out of there.

I’m going to join a local Tea Party group and I’ll let you know my impressions, particularly from a Pagan perspective. Are they accepting of us? Is there an opportunity for Pagans to gain a more prominent voice in American politics through them? I also want to know what your personal experiences are with the Tea Party. Have any of you joined a Tea Party group? Have you been to any rallies?

I’ve been told I am naive to think that involvement with the Tea Party, or any Party outside of the DNC or GOP, can make a difference.   I may be naive, but I do fondly remember “throwing away my vote” for a Third Party candidate in 1998 in the Minnesota Gubernatorial race.

Update: I was sent this and had to agree to it before I could get into the Minnesota Tea Party group that I wished to take a look at:  I agree that MinnesotaTeaPartyPatriots.org is a nonviolent group of citizens. I agree not to invoke call for violence or violent activities. I am free to vent my frustrations and disapproval under the appropriate topics. I am free to disagree, debate and take issue with other members in a manner that is non threatening. I will not attempt to put myself ahead of the parade, but that I stand and march in the parade and lift this movements efforts up to the best of my abilites. I agree that this organization will not tolerate racism of any kind. I further agree acknowledgement that this site is named the “working group” and I am here to work.

I’m looking through the group’s information now and looking at their Twitter feed.  As of now, I see quite a bit of chatter about if the group should be a change agent within the two Parties or if it should become a Third Party and what the Pros and Cons are.  Discussion over if person X (X = multiple names, like Beck, Palin, et al) help or hurt the Tea Party and if they are a part of it.  That gets a bit heated.    Chatter about the National group and if they are the National group or just a group that wants to be “in charge.”  Lots of comments about how they don’t need anyone telling them what to do in Minnesota and others saying that there has to be some leadership.  Lists of events – mostly what politician is speaking where.  That’s all for now.  I’ll update more as I see it.

  125 Responses to “Tea for two – or even three – Parties”

  1. er, “The Tea Party needs to more forcefully eject these people from their ranks. I’m sure the Heathens can emphasize.”

    I’m sure we can.

    You mean ‘empathize’, right?

  2. I’m very interested to see if the current “Tea Party” does start to coalesce into something approaching a viable third party in the US. If so, it will be coming from the opposite direction than our last couple of tries which have been primarily focused on a single Presidential candidate (e.g., Ross Perot). Don’t know whether growing from the bottom up will be better or worse (or just different) than top down. Opinions, anyone?

    I know there’s research out there on why third parties have such a hard time in the US (see, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_%28United_States%29#Barriers_to_third_party_success), but political theory research is not my specialty. Anyone have some cites a little more in-depth than Wikipedia?

  3. Great post Cara! Beware though, from what I have witnessed those tea party people are studying evil documents such as the constitution and the federalist papers, and reading books about our countries history and founders….no good can possibly come of that.

  4. Ooooohhhh!!! A rabidly anti-Intellectual movement filled with racists and Christian Supremacists! Where do I sign up?


    • This is what’s causing me to shy away from the Tea Party, myself. As a fiscal conservative, I agree with most of the financial ideas, but as a social liberal and a Pagan, I don’t know that I want to be associated with the “Go back to Kenya, you dirty Muslim commie” types.

      If the majority can kick out the nutjobs, I’m all for it. But until then, I’m looking elsewhere.

      • The majority can only kick out the nut jobs if people like you and me, who are anti-nut job, join up and help the majority. If we do nothing, than the nut-jobs will take over the movement.

    • I’m pretty sure that is why Cara wrote:

      “They are trying to stay away from social issues, although some of the sub-groups are very focused on pushing a social based agenda. I think that sooner or later they will turn to social issues, which is another area that I think we could influence if we become involved.

      Most of the Tea Party groups seem sane, but some are either flat out racists or are religiously exclusionary. The sane ones seem to be trying to push the racists out and not allow the fundamentalists to take over. But that wacky minority could give the Tea Party a bad name and could cause people to leave the Tea Party. The Tea Party needs to more forcefully eject these people from their ranks. ”

      Me personally, I just want people to be engaged – I think that political parties and PACs should be outlawed, but I doubt that I’ll ever see that happen (excepting, of course, I had the idea once of running for office, working my way up through, and then inserting something like that as a last minute pork barrel amendment in a giant omnibus spending bill that no-one dares vote against, like the DoD budget, and see if it gets noticed).

      • I don’t think PACs are bad in general. I like them as a way for voters to put money and effort behind specific values and views.

      • It would be nice if there were no political parties but people don’t act like that. People will always cohere around common interests and then act to push those interests forward.

        “I mostly like people in groups up to five. More than that and they start to wear armbands and choose up sides.” — George Carlin (inexact quote)

    • Now there’s an understanding point of view, obviously from someone who is “in the know”. What happened to not lumping the whole together based on a few? Please, Bryon…The Huffington Post?

    • “Ooooohhhh!!! A rabidly anti-Intellectual movement filled with racists and Christian Supremacists! Where do I sign up?”

      Byron –

      And you’re making this assertion based on what? One citation (from a decidedly biased source) whose title leads with “10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs”? Not, perhaps, “What Signs were seen most often in all the US-wide Tea Party protests”, but “most offensive”? Do I get to go cherry pick the 10 most offensive signs from all the nation-wide Democratic and Republican events and then make claims of who drives those two parties based on those signs? What do you think the results would be?

      Are there extremists in the Tea Party movement? Of course. There are extremists in the Democratic and Republican parties as well as all the other parties.

      The actual questions which should be discussed are:
      - There are significantly higher percentages of extremists in the Tea Party than in the Democratic or Republican parties?
      - How does the Tea Party keep the extremists to a minimum, both in terms of negative PR and in terms of not significantly influencing a hypothetical national Tea Party platform?
      - Do these extremists control the Tea Party (which will be hard since, as Cara points out, it isn’t an organized entity yet – perhaps, at best, a (very) loose confederation of different groups, some grass roots, and some previously extant groups leaping on the ‘Tea Party’ slogan coat tails).

      Unless you can provide better information to back up your assertions, they sound more like sour grapes or red herrings than reasonable opinion.

      • You’ve got to be kidding…right? I just used that Huffington Post article to show some of the LULZ on those signs. All you have to do is search the web for Teabagger signs, and the LULZ will come.

        Yes, there ARE far more extremist wackos at Teabagger rallies. Any quick look at any coverage of those rallies, even on Fox, shows a large number of racist, poorly-spelled signs, and you can usually see a bunch of the Christian Supremacist and Anti-Semitic ones in there as well. Neo-Nazi and militia groups are using Teabagger rallies to recruit. (Here are posts about that by the two biggest anti-racist groups in the country, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Southern Poverty Law Center: http://www.adl.org/main_Extremism/White_Supremacists_July_4_Tea_Parties.htm , and http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2009/04/14/hate-groups-and-nativist-extremists-crashing-tea-parties/ )

        Go to a Left-Wing rally and count the racist, Christian Supremacist, and Anti-Semitic signs. Compare notes. If you find a single one at a Left-Wing rally, I’d be surprised. Sure, we have our extremists, but none of them wear Klan hoods on their days off. Our extremists ram Japanese whaling ships and throw rocks at skinheads. (And while you may disagree with those actions, you have to admit that the _intentions_ are far better than those of the racists and Nazis at the Teabagger rallies…)

        Because of the chaotic _nature_ of the Teabagger movement, it draws the crazies…and nobody is turning them away. They let the racists and the tinfoil-hat wearing morons speak for them, and now that’s basically the only people who would be caught dead at one of those rallies.

        You even have spokespeople for the Teabaggers…keynote speakers like Tom Tancredo…making racist remarks, to cheers from the crowd. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM-cEtUfJhI )

        And the idea that Teabagger rallies are not just for right-wingers is laughable. That’s like saying that Sarah Palin has Liberal supporters. It’s just not true.

        The Teabagger movement is nothing more than a revival of the Know Nothings Party of the 19th Century ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing ). The fact that there are Pagans uneducated enough to belong to such a movement…(and support Christian Supremacists in government)…is very disheartening.

        • “That’s like saying that Sarah Palin has Liberal supporters. It’s just not true.”

          It kinda is. We got women here (PHAs, even) who are adamantly for Palin, solely because she’s female. They don’t support any of her MO; they only want a female in office and the rest doesn’t matter. Try telling them her politics will matter if disaster strikes and she ever gets into a high office, their eyes glaze over and they start screaming that you’re anti-woman, and the PHA ones will actually (not making this up) throw out a “you’re acting like a Christiaaaaaannnn!” bogeyman to try to scare you into agreeing with them. (looks down, checks to see if tits are still present)

          • Doesn’t sound like they’re Liberals to me. I’ve met _Democrats_ who support Palin for the sole reason that she has 2 X chromosomes…but I wouldn’t describe those people as “Liberal.” And of course, every one of them was supporting Hillary until she was defeated. Utter stupidity.

            • ROTFLMFAO!!!

              Okay, this is the kind of gooberness I’m talking about – I just found out I made a death threat to a Palin supporter, and nobody told me!


              So, does anybody know who this fruitbat is?

              • Rob Taylor? Gods…he is probably the absolute most moronic of all buffoons promoting the Conservative agenda. He’s like a homosexual Jew advocating on behalf of the KKK. Sorry, but any Pagan defender of Palin and the other Dominionists is worse than a thousand fluffy-bunny Llewellyn witches…

                I’d say more, but then he’d probably be hiding under a rock, worried that us mean old Liberals are gonna hurt him! Jeez…scared of Liberals… He must cringe at the sight of every aging hippy that he sees. Oh! The horror!

                • Well, I kinda though anybody who had a rant about Wiccans filed under “Eat It, Hippy, Filthy Degenerates, Pagan and Proud, Unspeakable Cults” was a little loopy, but I’m told I’m too judgmental.

          • “Doesn’t sound like they’re Liberals to me. I’ve met _Democrats_ who support Palin for the sole reason that she has 2 X chromosomes…but I wouldn’t describe those people as “Liberal.””

            That’s exactly the, as you correctly say, utter stupidity of it. A few of them I know for a fact ID as pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-religious pluralism, okay with taxes if they see the overall public benefit, and pro-immigration and health care reform and more legislation for big business. But when it comes to Palin, they either shut down, blow up, or smile condescendingly when you bring up her positions and affiliations, and insist that none of that really matters. It’s brain hemorrhoids.

          • I think the key here is you have some people whose entire political structure revolves around one, and only one, issue. They will support their position on that one issue no matter what, even if it causes significant cognitive dissonance in other areas and/or results in absurd positions in reality (e.g., a ‘liberal’ supporting Palin because she’s female, and, to them, electing a female to office is the most important issue, regardless of what that candidates’ politics are).

            So instead of having to look at multiple issues and trying to come up with a best overall (or least-worst-overall) set of candidates, they have a much easier time. Must be nice to live in such a black-and-white world.

            P.S. Doesn’t seem to be a way to comment on your two comments – perhaps this software stops giving ‘reply’ buttons at four levels down?

          • Is this site going to need a glossary? I’ve no idea what some of these acronyms stand for. The last time I saw PHA in text is was short for “Public Health Adminiistration.”

            • Sorry, that’s my bad. I can’t keep track of where I use that. I use PHA as a shorty for “Pagan/Heathen/Alternative Spirituality” cuz I’m to lazy to type it out all the time, but don’t wanna leave people out. It seems to solve the problem of heathens who don’t want to be ID’d with pagans, and vice versa, and the A is for anybody else who is generally in the “Not a mainstream belief system” but doesn’t want to camp out under the other two umbrellas.

        • Byron –

          “Yes, there ARE far more extremist wackos at Teabagger rallies.” Wrong. Incorrect. And thank you for doing the research for me to disprove your point.

          Two quick excerpts from below as summaries (see below for cites):
          - “An extremist who attended a Houston, Texas Tea Party wrote that “there was absolutely NO place in that scene for someone with WN [white nationalist] ideals”
          - “However, such extremists were a tiny minority of Tea Party protesters.”

          I’ve asked you for demographic evidence, you responded back twice now with media coverage as your ‘evidence’. You are confusing media coverage with reality. HuffPost presents the “10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs” and you claim it’s indicative of the entire movement. And then you state “Any quick look at any coverage of those rallies, even on Fox…”. You’re making pronouncements of Tea Party demographics based on what is seen in media coverage? In case you’ve never noticed, media goes for ‘newsworthy news”, which is defined by the news director as to what will boast ratings. So if 1000 people show up, and 990 of them are normal, and 10 are extremists, guess which 10 (1%) get shown on the news? A quote from the ADL states: “However, such extremists were a tiny minority of Tea Party protesters.” (see http://www.adl.org/special_reports/rage-grows-in-America/tea-parties.asp, last line).

          And the two cites you did provide regarding the extremists showing up still reinforce my point. Did you even read your cites? The SPLC title was “Hate Groups and Nativist Extremists Crashing ‘Tea Parties’”.

          “Crashing” an event certainly does not imply that you belong or are a member, it actually means you are not a member – which reinforces my point.

          And the ADL title ” White Supremacists and Anti-Semites Plan to Recruit at July 4 Tea Parties”. If their people were members, they wouldn’t have to try and recruit them.

          Both these posts demonstrate that:
          - the Tea Party people, for the most part, don’t include significant numbers of either of these groups
          - the extermist groups believe they might be able to recruit there (and then follow-up reports show they were unsuccessful)

          Nor, apparently, did you continue to research your sources or else you would have found:
          - “White supremacists across the country attempted to mobilize in an effort to spread their hateful message at Tea Parties staged on July 4… Despite their efforts, however, it appears that they had little success in reaching a population they felt might be responsive to their racist, anti-Semitic message. Several expressed disappointment that attendees were not receptive to their anti-Semitic and racist messages. A number of white supremacists also expressed disappointment at the fact that the some of the Tea Parties included non-whites and Jews. Several white supremacists, however, reported that their efforts were fruitless when confronting Tea Party attendees who were resistant to their racist and anti-Semitic message and material. One racist who said that he “helped man a booth for a certain pro-White political party” reported that he’d “never seen a crowd less receptive to [their] message.” Of a Tea Party in Marietta, Georgia, a white supremacist wrote that “whites, even those at the tea parties, don’t want to acknowledge race…” An extremist who attended a Houston, Texas Tea Party wrote that “there was absolutely NO place in that scene for someone with WN [white nationalist] ideals.”
          - See ADL, http://www.adl.org/main_Extremism/White_Supremacists_Tea_Parties_Follow_Up.htm

          In short, thank you for reinforcing my points.

          Please feel free to try again.

          • The fact still remains that the Tea Party has the worst reputation of any third party I’ve ever heard of. They are a laughingstock because of that vocal minority, whereas the two major parties are seen as “respectable” and the other third parties are either ignored, or seen as “a bit odd, but harmless.”

            If a party is as commonly ridiculed by the general community as the Tea Party is, then the general desire to not look like a fool will drive people away gradually until the only ones left are the ones who don’t care about anyone whose opinions differ from their own. If I see a large leak in a boat and no one trying to stop it up or bail, I don’t sign up to join the crew.

            • You’re making absurdly sweeping generalizations with no factual basis to back them up.

              “The fact still remains that the Tea Party has the worst reputation of any third party I’ve ever heard of.”
              According to whom? Please provide citations that are not from the left wing media. The right wing media, overall, seems to like it, and as for the MSM?

              Check, for example, Time magazine – a bit leftish MSM, but who today published an article whose title and lead are:
              “The Making of the Tea Party Movement
              By David von Drehle Feb 18, 2010
              It’s not a political party; it’s a grass-roots movement that expresses a vast discontent unsettling Americans. What the Tea Partyers share — and why they’re a potent force.”
              From http://search.time.com/results.html?N=0&Nty=1&Ntt=tea+party&x=0&y=0&p=0&cmd=tags&srchCat=Full+Archive

              Newsweek castigates the left:
              “But if the tea-party protests produced their share of histrionics from the right, they also brought out the worst in progressive elites. As the grassroots movement was gaining traction across America, liberal columnists and commentators ridiculed the new political movement as a collection of racists, reactionaries, and uneducated buffoons. Instead of recognizing these nationwide protests for what they were—a potent sign of public discontent—too many liberals became more contemptuous as the tea-party movement grew. On ABC’s This Week, The Nation’s editor Katrina vanden Heuvel dismissed the movement’s members as clueless “teabaggers,” even as tea-party members were skillfully organizing a winning Senate campaign in Massachusetts.”
              (@ http://www.newsweek.com/id/232165)

              Neither of these makes it sound like the Tea Party has a bad reputation, nor does it sound like they are calling it a laughingstock.

              In fact, the latter quote provides better evidence that the left is making a laughingstock of itself over their histronics about the Tea Party instead of recognizing the discontent in Main Street that’s driving it – the same discontent that produced the MA Senate election.

              So perhaps you need to broaden what you read; it sounds like your “general community” may be limited to too much left wing rhetoric and too little broad-based opinion.

          • So your basic point is that…the news media is never to be trusted….EXCEPT a few quotes that I pick out of each article, here and there. Can’t have it both ways…

            And seriously, do white supremacists tend to recruit at left-wing rallies?

            And in your follow-up ADL report, you conveniently glossed over the SUCCESSES that the racists had at many other Teabagger rallies:

            “Tea Party attendees were reportedly “enthusiastic” and “interested” to receive the propaganda and engage in discussions with extremists.”

            I’d quote all the other positive receptions that the Nazis received at such rallies, but I don’t wanna make a ginormous post…

            • “So your basic point is that…the news media is never to be trusted….EXCEPT a few quotes that I pick out of each article, here and there. Can’t have it both ways…”

              Not what I said, nor what I did. You’re loosing the battle on facts, now you’re trying for mis-representation. Each time you’ve presented a weaker and weaker string of assertions that go further and further from your original assertion finely ending in loosing by Godwin’s Law.

              Your original assertion was: “A rabidly anti-Intellectual movement filled with racists and Christian Supremacists!”

              When called to produce evidence the Tea Party was ‘ filled with racists and Christian Supremacists!’, you first tried to use a HuffPost piece about the “10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs” Didn’t work.

              You then stated televised coverage is a demographically valid sampling; I showed how it wasn’t.

              You then quoted ADL that the groups were looking to recruit there. Not that ADL said that the Tea Party was made up of racists and Christian Supremacists (which would have showed evidence for your OP), but rather that they were merely looking to recruit there. Much weaker statement; backing off your original point.

              I pointed out that, according to your own source, they were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Not totally unsuccessful, but mostly – unlike your statements that the Tea Party was overrun with extremists as members. You’re loosing the argument and trying to shift it to something else.

              Do these groups try and recruit at left-wing protests? No, I agree with you. But other extremist organizations that I find just as reprehensible do. I don’t claim Democratic meetings are riddled with reprehensible left-wing extremists just because some extremist groups try and recruit there.

              Finally, you just lost the entire argument. “I’d quote all the other positive receptions that the Nazis received at such rallies”. I’m invoking Godwin’s Law – you loose. End of discussion.

              • You don’t even know how to spell the word “lose,” therefore you “lose.”

                End of discussion. LOL.

                And you don’t even know how Godwin’s Law works either. If you are talking about _actual_ neo-Nazis…as in the ones that were recruiting at those rallies…then using the term “Nazi” is certainly appropriate.

                Gods, what FAIL!

                • So now you’re reduced to sniping at typos instead of trying to defend any of your points? Well, when you can’t argue facts, argue typos. Always a good ploy.

                  Actually, having been on the ‘Net for a couple of decades (including when the original Godwin’s Law was used in newsgroups), Godwin’s Law involves anyone who invokes Nazis at all. Including neo-Nazis.

                  Have a nice day. Drive through, please.

                  • Woolysw stated, “Godwin’s Law involves anyone who invokes Nazis at all. Including neo-Nazis.”

                    With all due respect, that is one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard. By that “logic,” one cannot even discuss WW2 without falling afoul of that law.


                    Godwin’s Law is about COMPARING people/ideas/etc. to Nazis. When referring to neo-Nazis who are trying to recruit at a rally, particularly ones who actually…you know…call themselves Nazis…then calling them “Nazis” is perfectly appropriate.

                    No wonder you are so apt at avoiding the actual argument at hand. I’ve proven you wrong. Instead of proving your point, you picked a few comments from articles that proved MY POINT, and tried to use them to refute me…even though THE ENTIRE REST OF THE ARTICLES in question were contradictory to your assertions.

                    It’s like you can’t even read… And yes, pointing out your egregious spelling mistakes in that particular instance was COMPLETELY justified, given the context.

                    I have better things to do than debate with people who have no idea how to hold an intelligent conversation. You’re not worthy of my time. Good day.

                  • Eh, Godwin’s isn’t invoked if you’re discussing Neo-nazi activity, or for that matter WWII Nazi-related factoids that can’t be argued, unless the factoid qualifies as an official Outtanowhere Comparison.

        • Bryon, may I suggest an experiment? Next time you hear of a Tea Party event go, not to counterprotest but to look, listen and even to ask questions. Try to keep said questions polite unless they’re rude first. Then form conclusions. Right now you’re basing your opinions on what other people are telling you. That’s always a mistake if you have other options.

          • I live in a very remote, very pro-Democrat, area… I’d probably have to drive at least 4 hours to find a Teabagger rally. I used to protest against racists when they’d rally, and frankly, I see the exact same types of people there as at the anti-Immigration or pro-Confederate flag rallies:…angry white people, barely-concealed hatred…feeling their sense of entitlement slipping away…

    • In the fifth froup of photos, the 19th one in the set, the one that reads “Freeloading Illegals are Raping U.S. Citizens”…

      That looks photoshopped to me…what do you think

    • Why is the sign that has “Guns tomorrow” on it in the top 10 most offensive signs? It’s pretty common to see a sign that has “(insert X here) today, guns tomorrow” meaning that the government is moving to take away your right to (insert X here) first and then they move towards removing gun ownership rights next. Sometimes you’ll get a group of three people together and they will each have a sign that holds one part of this message: X yesterday, X today, Guns tomorrow. (guns tomorrow is almost always the kicker)

      Some of those signs – offensive and I wouldn’t be shy about telling someone where they can stick that sign. But…you can’t have a political gathering without some idiot bringing an offensive sign. The best (meaning the worst) signs are usually at abortion rallies – the Pro-Life and Pro-Choice crowd try to out do one another in offensiveness.

    • That is my problem as well, Byron…I shudder to think of this group and their sometimes storm-trooper-like tactics at rallies. No place for a Heathen like me unless I have a shield-wall at my back. Plus the Tea Party isn’t a true populist movement; it’s an astroturf movement, created and funded and while originally Libertarian has been taken over by God’s Own Party. Again, no place for a Heathen IMHO.

      • What are the sometimes “storm-trooper-like tactics at rallies?”

        • Remember last August when tons of these people showed up at town-halls (some of them from different districts) and shouted down our elected politicians, completely stifling any useful discourse between them and their constituents? Yeah, that was a brown shirt tactic.

          Aside from all of this, I personally refuse to associate with any group that has ONE Christian Supremacist, racist, or whatever. I don’t care if they are largely benign or not, the fact that ANY of those types show up and they’ve been tolerated is enough for me not to trust this supposedly “spontaneous uprising of the people.”

          • Our locals did that throwing stuff thing, in addition to the yelling.

          • OK. I still don’t understand how yelling or even throwing things would make it stormtrooper-like. It makes it rowdy, contentious, even rude – but I don’t think we can equate it to German assault troops trained to overtake bunkers in WWI.


            • I believe that Hrafnkell was referring to the Sturmabteilung ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturm_Abteilung ) which is usually translated in English as “Storm Troops.” They were the “brownshirts” that consisted of civilian members of the Nazi Party who used violence and intimidation against other political parties (especially Left-Wing ones…) by storming their rallies, shouting them down, and often getting into fights with them.

            • It was being done as a deliberate and organized tactic. They went to allof these meetings, even packing into such meetings in areas which they were not constituents of, for the sole purposse of shouting down anyone who was not speaking for what they wanted.

              • So if a group organizes people to attending a rally or a Town Hall where their elected official is speaking at and taking questions – that’s a bad thing and we should look at those groups with suspicion and scorn them?

                Politicians routinely email their voters within their party to show up at event like this and people who oppose the politician and/or the issue routinely show up to complain. Our elected officials are sometimes going to have a warm fuzzy when they take questions from the crowd, but sometimes they aren’t. Too bad for them. That’s their job, to listen to us even when we are angry. Yes, people should behave with more decorum. No, this wasn’t even close to Nazi’s.

                Or are you only remarking on the out of town folks that were bussed in?


                • “So if a group organizes people to attending a rally or a Town Hall where their elected official is speaking at and taking questions – that’s a bad thing and we should look at those groups with suspicion and scorn them?”

                  No. If you’re shouting so no one besides your fellow political ideologues are the only ones being heard, if you take up every available moment for the crowd to speak for your political ideals and cut off the entire assembled body from speaking, including the elected official present, you are an obstruction and offense to the public’s freedom of speech as much as you may be exercising your personal one.

                  Cara, you wrote “people who oppose the politician and/or the issue routinely show up to complain”.

                  Showing up to complain and voice your opinion is one thing. Making a cacophony of noise and shouts, jeers and screams is neither complaining, nor is it productive. But it is obstructive to the Republic, and to any kind of debate.

                  “Our elected officials are sometimes going to have a warm fuzzy when they take questions from the crowd, but sometimes they aren’t. Too bad for them.”

                  I think you meant that they’re not going to have that feeling. Fine, they shouldn’t always get that feeling. Shouting someone down when they should be addressing the crowd, later opening up the floor to debates, is a whole other story. Taking your political medicine/lumps is expected, but a political tongue-lashing and beating shouldn’t be made of an elected official or peoples’ meetings because of the out-of-control anger of a few. Even if the whole crowd is pissed, there is a standard of decency one SHOULD be able to expect, even from John/Gena Q. Public. Too bad for them? Too bad for us, who might have actually gotten something out of hearing our elected representative speak, or having them hear more than the collective noise of people who represent neither our collective feelings nor interests.

                  I don’t care if these people are bussed in, drove in themselves or had a spiritual pilgrimage to these sites; their protests are disruptive, uncouth, and contribute nothing but noise to what could be a fruitful debate.

      • Yeah, it’s pretty much controlled and directed by the Glenn Beck show…which should make any thinking person run away screaming…

    • Duuuuude, c’mon . . . typecasting . . . .

  5. I am all for more parties, or at the very least more powerful factions within the larger parties. Working within the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to be working out that well for liberals, progressives, social democrats…it’s not working that badly, either, but I’d like to be part of the answer to “Bernie Sanders and what army?”

  6. Just was thinking, a Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert ticket for 2012. Sure, no-one would take them seriously, but isn’t that the point?

    • Hey, they’ve both smarter than Palin!

      And there are those that would be dumb enough to believe Colbert was being serious and vote for the ticket as “bi-partisan.”

      • heh, did you see Colbert last week responding to Palin’s defense of Limbaugh using the term ‘retarded’, the same week that she was ‘very upset’ by the Family Guy episode referring to her? Wicked good stuff.

      • Heh – I’m serious, I’d vote for Stewart in a minute. He’s at the head of a large successful business organization that requires diplomacy, maneuvering and negotiating, a sense of nuance, being a team player, being willing to work all hours, keeping an eye on current events, and knowing how and when to delegate. He’s got staying power without being a rat bastard. That’s more than many regular politicians can claim. Put most of them amid the politics of a major network, and they’d wet themselves running for cover.

        And Gods know the state of the union addresses would improve.

  7. I thought I was the only Tea Party pagan out there! Haha. I’m quite happily surprised. For awhile I have supported a limited view of government. I’m not Republican, I rather consider myself a libertarian. However I do not always agree with the Libertarian Party. I generally want the government’s hand out of my personal business. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I think the government needs to be less concerned with our personal, private lives and primarily needs to focus on protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizens.
    I got my first view of the Tea Party in a bailout protest last year. I have joined the local chapter of the Ladies of Liberty Alliance and will attend the first meeting Sunday. I hope I will be satisfied. What I am hoping for is a group of true liberty advocates for smaller government, not just a right-wing get-together. I hope that as a member I can help sway the group from any types of conservative social agenda, because in my opinion, that is not what this is about. I view it as a chance to move the country away from the old, broken two-party system and help make this country into more of what it should be- representative of the wishes of its people, be they Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan, or anything else.
    I could go on forever, but it’s a bit of a pain typing on my iTouch! Keep up the good work, I enjoyed the article.

    • Could you please update us with your experiences with the Tea Party and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance as time goes on?

      Thank you!

    • HURAH for the Libertarians!

      I suspect that you came to the same comclusion that I did, BOTH parties see government as the solution to our problems.

      “Government isn’t the solution, Government IS the problem.”- Reagan

      • Cara: I would be happy to share my experiences with the local LOLA. I’ll keep you posted!

        And Paul: I agree. It seems everyone thinks the answer to our problems is to have the government step in and create a solution. I prefer to support the ‘personal responsibility’ argument. Too many politicians on both sides are out for their own gain, so it is impossible for those of us who may not have mainstream views to get any kind of representation. However, the Tea Party movement emphasizes less government involvement in our lives, which I tend to think may equal less government restriction and discrimination against our religious beliefs and practices.

        • “However, the Tea Party movement emphasizes less government involvement in our lives, which I tend to think may equal less government restriction and discrimination against our religious beliefs and practices.”

          Especally considering that the Tea Party is a VERY new movement.

          If the more small-government-minded Pagans join up wit hthe tea partiers, I think that that this movement can be an excelent place to get the pagan “voice” out there into the mainstream.

          All we have to do is make ourselves known and available.

  8. One thing that does worry me is the increasing tendency to meddle in social issues, especially abortion and to lean on the Christianity hrn. However I agree with Cara that the solution isn’t to run away but to try and influence it while it’s still in a malleable stage along with other non-Christians and reasonable Christians. Emphasize the libertarian aspect of this libertarian-conservative movement.

    • But the libertarians don’t control the Tea Party movement anymore. It’s quite difficult for me to consider them as a viable option. And even Libertarian candidates are seldom Libertarians – Ron Paul is a prime example. The man is a conservative Christian and has a very un-Pagan view of social issues.

      • And then there’s Bob Barr of course, the Libertarian Party’s 2008 Presidential candidate…probably one of the most viciously anti-”Pagans in the Military” guy around…

        • Yes, Bob Barr is why I stopped voting Libertarian. I’ll stop right here because talking about him makes me want to set something on fire.

  9. This is a perspective on the Tea Party that has escaped my attention. Most liberal sources [that I've seen] view it as a hilariously misguided aberration and most conservative sources [that I've seen] hold it up as proof that they (the conservatives) have the support of that illusive demographic “the People”. I had not thought to view it as distinct from either—and this perspective gives me hope for future third parties (which give me hope for the future of American politics) while at the same time gives me more respect for the Tea Party itself.

  10. I think that the US would benefit in some ways from a shattering of the two party system. Supporting new political movements and newly emerging parties is a necessary step. Votes for third parties, from this viewpoint, are not “wasted.” They contribute, however slightly, to the break up of the two party system.

    I find, oddly enough, that this doesn’t extend to my attitudes toward the diversity of religions and spiritualities in the US, even though I am, as a Pagan, an adherent of a small spirituality. I don’t practice Paganism to shatter any other spirituality at all. I could care less that somebody else is, say, a Christian. What vexes me is that they mess around with me being a Pagan,

    Go Third Parties!

    • The funny thing about all the concern for the two-party system and its sanctity is that originally, there were no parties. There is no reason to suppose that parties will not begin and then fade away. It’s happened before and it will likely happen again. I preferred our two-party system over the multiple parties in Italy and elsewhere because nothing gets done…now we have demonstrated that with two parties we can do the same thing! So I’m with you; I’d not mind seeing the two-party “system” shattered.

    • Ideally I would like to see four significant parties. Republican (conservative), Democrat(moderate liberal), Green(democratic socialist) and Libertarian (speaks for itself). I can see situations where any two or maybe even three could work together on various issues (except the Republicans and Greens) making a nice constantly shifting coalition state.

      And am totally with you on your second paragraph.

      • One one hand, I’d love to see US politics shaken up and have an alternative to the two parties we have now. On the other hand, I’ve seen the issues other countries (e.g., chunks of Europe) have with parliamentarian systems where even after an election it takes them forever to put together a working majority to govern. Think of the recent issues with gridlock in the the US Senate with only two parties, now imagine it with four as you suggest. What if no party has the 50 seats necessary to pass a normal bill (much less the 60 supermajority necessary for cloture). It will make the recently decried ObamaCare horsetrading and pork pass-outs pale by comparison.

        Of course, there are those who would contend that the more gridlock and the less that the Legislative branch gets done, the better overall for the US as a whole.

        • Perhaps, but it seems to me that this kind of multiple-small-parties form-a-coalition strife is more over who gets to rule than over doing their job for their constituents and the nation.

          There are days when I’d like to seem more of the verminous politicians who practice this gridlock as their major party philosophy tied and hanged as traitors to the country.

          • Nah, that’s wasteful. We bop them on the head and sell them to a slave brothel in Hong Kong with “I like it rough” tattooed on their foreheads. Then we use the proceeds to fund more parties!

        • “Of course, there are those who would contend that the more gridlock and the less that the Legislative branch gets done, the better overall for the US as a whole.”

          I’m one of those. Congress can take any bad situation and make it worse.

  11. From my view, the TPN (Tea Party Nation) seems at odds if your not Christian. Looking throw their web site and forums, I sure wouldn’t feel comfortable coming out as a pagan. No tea for me, I’ll take the Greens, instead.

  12. Great post Cara. Definitely a perspective I had not considered. Challenging incumbents aside, I don’t think much of the Tea Party movement myself; I’d not be comfortable with many of the attitudes expressed there nor with some of the tactics I’ve seen exercised, which I’ve compared (with video footage to support my claim) that some of these gatherings look like a recreation of a 1930s storm-trooper outing.

    I don’t doubt that things probably differ from place to place and group to group but in general, the expression of conservative Christianity by the group, the invitation of extremist Christians like Sarah Palin to speak…really tends to repel me. I also don’t see it as a genuine populist movement being that it is an astroturf movement. I am not opposed to the idea of a third party that genuinely represents the will of the American people but I find that claim when made by the Tea Party to be tenuous at best.

    And I won’t even get into all the “real” American talk…it’s enough to say that Pagans aren’t “real” Americans according to usage. If the Tea Party could remake itself into something more moderate I would likely find it less unattractive an option.

    And by no means am I making any attempt here to defend the Democratic Party! I’m a progressive liberal but I am not represented by Senator Bayh (and good riddance on his retirement IMHO) and I’ve written the Democratic Party leadership and told them that they are not getting a penny of support from me because they’re as much a part of the problem as the Republicans. I’m very disappointed in what we as people are offered in terms of choices and I can understand the phenomenon of the Tea Party; I just can’t support it as it stands.

  13. “Most of the Tea Party groups seem sane, but some are either flat out racists or are religiously exclusionary. The sane ones seem to be trying to push the racists out and not allow the fundamentalists to take over. But that wacky minority could give the Tea Party a bad name and could cause people to leave the Tea Party. The Tea Party needs to more forcefully eject these people from their ranks.”

    We have sane people here in NC (Peidmont area) who would like to go Tea Party for the economic issues, but are scared off by the abundance of fruitcake screamers. Dunno how much of that is the fact that we’re in WASPy Bible Belt NASCAR-or-Die country, but I figure it’s probably pretty likely (ya think?!). We still have staunch Birthers and some of the “Peace Is Treason” protesters running around, fer frack’s sake, and they all have bullhorns.

    • I would suggest what I did to Bryon. Go to one. See what you see. Even if you don’t like what you see, see if there’s enough there to be worth working with and/or salvaging.

  14. So I signed up on TPN (Tea Party Nation) and couple weeks ago. Last night, this is what I got in my email. Copy and pasted below…

    “God I pray for You to unify Your people that are members of many different groups that believe in You, and want to stand for freedoms that You’ve blessed our nation with, when Your Spirit gave us guidance that led our founding fathers to write our constitution, declaration of independence, bill of rights, allowing this nation’s people to seek You and not a kingship for the answers to our nation’s problems. We give You all the glory, the God of power, not a government that has power over us…You’re in control. Under Your mandates we have free speech to speak the Word of God and free will to choose what we believe, the right to bear arms to protect ourselves, our undying support of our military, our right to secure our borders to protect us from enemies and from those who seek to take our lives or our God given freedoms away. We believe in one nation under God and have hope that you would restore our nation to what it was when You’ve blessed it before. We come against what the enemy plans for our country…to divide and destroy it, to control it and dictate it… We pray for strength and endurance, that we will endeaver to persevere believing it is Your victory we’ll see. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.”

    This was from one person on that site, sent out to almost 200 hundred other members. And from the tone of the whole site and other members, this is probably the norm, rather than the exception. I reiterate, no tea for me. Also lets not forget the roots of the TP, Fox News and several other big-moneyed conservative groups. Will of the people? More likely, will of the right-wing shill.

    • Yeah, that would be enough to turn me off.

    • Ahhhh…Tea Party Nation. That’s the group that really IS the GOP and is trying to take over the movement by proclaiming “Here’s the top and I’m HERE.” They recently proclaimed that there will be no Third Party status…and then local groups in several states promptly went out and registered the Tea Party as an official Party in their state. I think if the GOP thinks that they can control this…they may have a tiger by its tail. Unless, of course, all the Independents and Democrats leave the Tea Party. That could happen.

      In the vBB group that I looked in, there were prayers for the group posted – mostly Christian, a few not, and one beautiful not-prayer posted by an atheist with a wicked sense of humor. The prayers were received politely, the not-prayer was either chuckled over or grumbled about. Not enough to scare me away, but I can see if a person is uncomfortable with Christians “publicly” praying they may want to steer clear. If not…add your prayer in! See what the reaction is and let people know.

      Here’s some info about the astroturfing allegations – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_movement#Astroturfing_allegations

    • Your comment has me thinking – and I’m going a bit off topic here, so please understand that I’m not directly addressing you or your point, but thinking about this in a more general way.

      75% of the USA self-identifies as some type of Christian. Most everywhere you go, you will be surrounded by Christians unless you decide to isolate yourself. And since Christians are used to being the majority, they bring up thier faith (many of them) very casually and naturally. Yes, there are some who are obnoxious about it, but most are just bringing it up because it is an important part of who they are.

      If we hide, if we turn away in distase, if we stay silent – or worse react with defensiveness and hostility – when people around us bring up thier faith, what will we accomplish? Will Pagan Rights be advanced? Will people begin to see us as people just like them? No.

      If we take our place in society and behave as if we belong there and speak of our faith natually and casually, then I believe we can make strides forward. I’m not saying you need to be in your face about it and not everyone feels they can do this. But if you can, do so. Do so firmly, calmly, and respectfully.

      I’m part of a football vBB. People do prayers and bring up religion on there from time to time. When I first decided to enter the religious conversations I was harassed a bit by a few people. And teased by some. But after a short time, when they realized I was sincere and was respectful of other faiths and no faith, most of them changed their minds. I don’t have to defend my faith on there when someone gives me a bit of crap, there’s a whole line of people on there willing to do it for me including one extremely wonderful youth Minister.

      So I guess, when entering a new group that seems very “Christian” – we should confidently ask the question, “Although I respect everyone’s right to religious freedom, I’m not a Christian like most of you appear to be. I’m a (insert religion here). Will this be a problem?” Chances are, unless you are really in a snake pit, that people won’t have a problem, may have some questions, and will be a bit more sensitive to not making you feel unwelcome. But we have to join in and speak up – or we will always be second class citizens.

      • Honestly, unless they are pushy about it, I could care less what religion someone is – I have issues with certain religions, hence why I am not a member of them, but as long as they keep it in their pants, I don’t feel like it is any of my business. However, it is when people feel the need to bring their religion, part and parcel, into their politics and begin legislating things that the government has no business being involved in (marriage, or sex, for example) that I get defensive and/or dismissive. In the above example, the author should’ve stuck to the talking points, i.e economic and fiscal responsibility, and left the preaching to the pulpit.

        I’ve never been shy about my religion (Hel, got kicked out of Sunday School at the tender age of six for declaring myself ‘pagan’), but I also don’t see the need to shout it from the rooftops either – my religion is between me and my gods, and who They happen to be is no one else’s business.

      • Agreed Cara. Stand up and be proud of being a pagan. Be calm and friendly when asked pointed questions about whatever faith(s) you follow. And don’t proselytize. Those are my rules when dealing with non-pagans. With the TP and TPN (if there’s any real difference between the two) seems very much populated with hardcore evangelicals, who have already decided that I’m going to hell and or in need of conversion. Bringing up being a pagan would serve no purpose at this point in trying to understand what make the TP’ers tick, so to speak. Should I decide that the TP is something I would like to pursue, then I’d have no problems telling interested folks my faith.

      • In this particular case, I’m afraid I agree with Dan. Prayer I have no problem with. Pseudo-religious posturing is another animal altogether. To paraphrase a certain Christian book, people shouldn’t go out into the marketplace blaring a trumpet and making a huge deal of the fact that they pray. It reeks of false piety and is one of many factors that turned me off Christianity to begin with–you can make religion the center of your life without dropping your god/goddess’s name every two seconds.

        • “Pseudo-religious posturing is another animal altogether. To paraphrase a certain Christian book, people shouldn’t go out into the marketplace blaring a trumpet and making a huge deal of the fact that they pray.”

          I’ve seen a number of folk on various Pagan forums refer to such people as “Christian Pharisees.”

  15. Interesting thoughts, you might be right that the tea party movement can be reclaimed but the fact they brought Sara Palin to speak leads me to believe otherwise. Her stance seems very anti pagan, demonstrated by her church protecting her from witches.

    Now my suggestion to people who think voting third party is a wasted vote. The two main parties really don’t offer a duality of choice but rather are very closely the same. Our current president is actively doing the same things the previous president did, no change demonstrated. Voting mainstream is a wasted vote.

    For now I’m going to stick with Libertarian Party, but I’ve been supporting third parties for a long time as a registered democrat. In the LP we need to remove Bob Barr for his recent attack on Pagans in the military.

  16. I actually attended an early Tea Party gathering. I find 2 problems with them at this point that they MUST address before I would affiliate with them. First, they are drawing in anti-government conspiracy theorists. Second, they are drawing Christian Constitutional Constructionists (aka Constitution was a Christian document). Both of these groups are upset that Republicans are not far enough to the right.

    I agree, Republicans and Democrats are not far enough apart. But I don’t want to join a group further right than them.

    I love their base arguements. Shrink government, cut taxes, Constitutionalists (stop wildly trying to redefine what it says).

    I like decentralized power, which means I support more states rights. Sure, many want to see gay marriage legalized. But there is a danger of weakening states rights by making a “federal case” out of it.

    The biggest danger is that small groups that can influence state policy, like Pagans, get drown out at the federal congressional level. State rights are in our best interests.

    The federal government is like using grenades to dig a ditch.

    I personally see extremists taking over the Tea Party movement, because it is so ideological, that they refuse to have any type of leadership. While that seems noble, it is naïve. Just like the Internet, where there is no control, the loudest voice (usually extremist) wins.

    If they can put together leadership, show real bipartisan membership (as in active centrist Democrat politicians), then they have a real shot at avoiding being the GOP’s attack dog.

    Right now, though I’ve supported them, I’ve taken a stand back and see approach. The militant and evangelical elements are too strong to appeal to me, even though they are only a small portion. Having Sarah Palin speak there was a big mistake, IMHO. She’s about as far from center as Nancy Pelosi. Now, they get Bayh or Lieberman, I’d be drawn closer.

    • Good post DeWayne.

    • Agree, that was a good post, DeWayne. One thing I’ll point out, regarding the convention and Sarah Palin speaking. Take a look at a lot of the news reports. There was a very large part of the populist TP movement which openly rejected and boycotted the convention, because it was run as a for-profit event, because of who was speaking, etc. Lots of the grassroots TP’ers aren’t at all shy about letting it be known when they disagree with something – even their own “convention” when its not really representing what they represent.

      I’m one of those “football vBBS” guys that Cara mentioned earlier. I came here after she supplied the link and have enjoyed reading her thoughts AND much of the discussion which has ensued. Trust me, she’s right about one thing. I’m a Christian – but hopefully an intelligent, accepting Christian. Cara has made me not only more respectful, but much more aware of Paganism than I ever was before. I admit that the very word would have sparked a negative connotation from me before “meeting” her online. She’s a wonderful ambassador for Paganism, and has changed my thoughts on it quite substantially, as she’s helped me to understand what it is and what it isn’t.

      • Gary, that was really, really nice of you. I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me.

        And just to let everyone know…Gary is a fine example of why Nebraska Cornhusker fans are known as the most knowledgable, classy fans in all of college football.

        GO BIG RED!!!!!

      • “There was a very large part of the populist TP movement which openly rejected and boycotted the convention, because it was run as a for-profit event, because of who was speaking, etc.”

        Good point to bring up; here’s hoping the people who feel that way become more prevalent than what I’m seeing here in NC.

        • Don’t want to derail anything, but I’m in NC too, what area are you from?

          • Concord, about 20 minutes up I-85 N from Charlotte. At times, you’d never know it’s the 18th largest city in the country.

            We’re fairly easy to find – Miles is the local coord for PPD, I’m the media liaison/charity wrangler/She Who Brings The Donuts. Carolina Grove does public sabbats and a Blessing Of The Animals in Freedom Park, and we have meetups at Caribou Coffee on East Blvd. There are links to all the schedule sites on my blog.

    • Thank you very much for relating your experiences.

  17. Splitting the vote between Republicans and third-party or independent Tea Party candidates plays into the hands of the Democrats. The best course is to see that fiscally conservative, pro-defense candidates win Republican primaries, and then support that candidate against the Democrat in the general election.