Sarah Palin - Why I'm Speaking at the Tea Party Convention
Why I'm speaking at Tea Party convention
By Sarah Palin
Later this week I'll head to Nashville, where I'll have the honor of speaking with members of the Tea Party movement. I look forward to meeting many Americans who share a commitment to limited government, common sense and personal responsibility. This movement is truly a grassroots, organic effort. It's not a top-down organization; it's a ground-up call to action that already has both political parties rethinking the way they do business.
From the town halls last summer to the protests and marches in the fall to the game-changing recent elections, it has been inspiring to see real people — not politicos or inside-the-Beltway professionals — speak out for common-sense conservative policies and values. As with all grassroots efforts, the nature of this movement means that sometimes the debates are loud and the organization is messier than that of a polished, controlled machine. Legitimate disagreements take place about tone and tactics. That's OK, because this movement is about bigger things than politics or organizers.
The soul of the Tea Party is the people who belong to it — everyday Americans who grow our food, run our small businesses, teach our children how to read, serve the less fortunate and fight our wars. They're folks in small towns and cities across this nation who saw what was happening to our country and decided to get involved. Thank God for them. Many of these good Americans had never been involved in their government before, but now they attend town hall meetings and participate in online forums. They write letters to the editor. They sign up to be precinct leaders and run for local office and support other independent patriots. They have the courage to stand up and speak out.
Their vision is what drew me to the Tea Party movement. They believe in the same principles that guided my work in public service — whether I was working on the PTA and city council or serving as a mayor, commissioner or governor. I look forward to meeting some of these great Americans this weekend.
Recently, some have tried to portray this movement as a commercial endeavor rather than the grassroots uprising that it is. Those who do so don't understand the frustration everyday Americans feel when they see their government mortgaging their children's future with reckless spending. The spark of patriotic indignation that inspired those who fought for our independence and those who marched peacefully for civil rights has ignited once again. You can't buy such a sentiment. You can't AstroTurf it. It springs from love of country and the knowledge that we can make a difference if we just stand up and stand together.
I thought long and hard about my participation in this weekend's event. At the end of the day, my decision came down to this: It's important to keep faith with people who put a little bit of their faith in you. Everyone attending this event is a soldier in the cause. Some of them will be driving hundreds of miles to Nashville. I made a commitment to them to be there, and I am going to honor it.
But participation won't be limited to those in Nashville who have a ticket. It's much bigger than that. Because the Tea Party movement is spread out across the country — with no central offices or annual events — this is an opportunity to connect with like-minded folks. Yes, there will be speeches given in a room in Nashville. But we'll also be speaking with thousands of Americans watching online at twitter.com/SarahPalinUSA, or through various news outlets. And the conversation will continue on my Facebook page.
I will not benefit financially from speaking at this event. My only goal is to support the grassroots activists who are fighting for responsible, limited government — and our Constitution. In that spirit, any compensation for my appearance will go right back to the cause.
The nature of the Tea Party movement means there may never be a "perfectly orchestrated" event: Democracy in action doesn't come with a manual. But we must not get caught up in the politics or the controversies that some hope will distract from the heart of the movement. The focus must remain on our ideas and beliefs, and on supporting those ideas and beliefs however we can.
This weekend, it's Nashville, but in March, I'll head to Searchlight, Nev., for the kickoff rally at the Tea Party Express III. In April, I'll be in Boston for a Tea Party gathering there. Across the country, tea-partiers will be sharing our vision for America's future, a vision that promotes common sense solutions to out-of-control spending and an out-of-touch political establishment.
The process may not always be pretty or perfect, but the message is loud and clear: We want a government worthy of the fine Americans that it serves. And we're going to keep spreading that message one convention, one town hall, one speech and one election at a time.
Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, was the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president.