On May 10, Keli Carender — more commonly known as “Liberty Belle” — visited the University of Washington. Regarded as one of the original founders of the modern-day Tea Party movement, she spoke to a group of grassroots activists and members of Young Americans for Liberty and the UW College Republicans about The Tea Party Patriots.
“I used to be normal,” Carender joked, “but after awhile you realize it’s not normal to be okay with your friends or your professors making you feel bad for your principles.”
Much of Carender’s talk focused on empowering the “minority.” Minority, that is, being conservatives/libertarians in Western Washington. Some points I took away from her visit:
- Conservatism is local, and you can wear yourself out by trying to focus on national, state and local politics. Try breaking it down and prioritize the area on which you focus. For example, city council meetings are often unattended–but your city officials are capable of waste and corruption too!
- The American notion of “You have a voice in the nation” is only true if you are willing to put in the hard work to be heard
- The Tea Party is normal. It is made up of average people who finally got fed up with government waste. There is no “Tea Party monolith.” When people go on the news and say “The Tea Party believes…” they forget the greatness of the Tea Party movement is that it is made up of many smaller groups
- Many of the smaller groups in the Tea Party have specifically chosen to not discuss foreign policy and social issues, choosing instead to focus on something more grassroots people can agree on: the economy.
It was a great opportunity to hear about the Tea Party from someone who has been involved since the beginning. For more on Liberty Belle and The Tea Party Patriots, check out their site here.