The Tea Party is familiar with the often-cited four-step pattern of political change: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” With some of the most powerful people in the world calling us hobbits, barbarians, terrorists, SOBs, and wanting to send us straight to Hell, I think it’s safe to say we’re firmly in stage three of that process. We are but a single step from victory in our principled cause.
One thing I’ve noticed, though, as the Tea Party progresses toward that victory is that the Big-Government champions we oppose regress along that same pattern. This struck me in observing the response to the recent Attack Watch website President Obama launched in a lame attempt to help his reelection cause. Many conservatives chose to mock the website and the President (see a hilarious parody here). In fact, parodying the absurdities of the Left is becoming quite an art form now among conservatives.
This is a stunning reversal in light of the change pattern. A mere two and a half years ago when the Tea Party was just getting started, I feared the Big-Government champions had already reached stage four and nothing could be done to stop them from ultimately transferring all the power from We the People to We the Government. The Tea Party organized its protests across America, but we were largely ignored. Stage one.
As our movement exploded, though, the media and politicians could no longer pretend we didn’t exist and we were promptly upgraded to being laughed at and then attacked. Stages two and three.
Conversely, it’s now clear to me that the Big-Government champions actually had never reached stage four; and as we advanced, we relentlessly attacked their ideology and policies, pushing them back to stage three. Their subsequent counterattacks have mostly been weak and even downright absurd.
Now we’re officially laughing at them, downgrading them further to stage two.
That’s not to trivialize the collective danger they still represent and national destruction they are capable of inflicting, especially as the bill for their reckless fiscal policies comes due; but I thought it important to note that in less than three years, a new and spontaneous grassroots movement of liberty has taken three of four steps toward victory while knocking a century-old movement of government control back two steps.
None of us should rest, though, until the Tea Party finally achieves the total reversal, entering the fourth stage of victory ourselves and rendering the Big-Government champions so powerless that we can ignore them.
Jon Wakefield is a leader of the Richmond, Virginia Tea Party