Tea Party rallies with mixed messages


While the Senate and the House grumbled to life with the stodgy pomp of a high-school graduation ceremony, the mood outside the Capitol was anything but stagnant.

At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, more than 200 Tea Partiers and Conservative Texans from all parts of this great state gathered on the south steps to wave signs and flags, hoot and holler, and make enough noise for the Legislature inside the Capitol building to hear their cries of “We are here, and we are here to stay!”

But beyond their existence, the assembled group’s message was anything but clear. There was a diversity of costumes—with characters ranging from George Washington to Uncle Sam—and eight different Texas flags waving about.

The speakers were just as far-flung. Social conservatives had former state Rep. Rick Green to cheer. And cheer they did as he called upon House Speaker Joe Straus: “Use your power to ensure the passage of Dan Patrick’s bill that would require sonograms before abortion.”

Fiscal conservatives had Michael Quinn Sullivan, who stated, “Taxes are emblematic of another problem, spending.”

Then there was Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani of the conservative racial diversity organization Raging Elephants, who seemed to be mainly concerned with hating on liberals. At one point Claver drew upon Biblical language to describe progressivism, liberalism and socialism as “unclean things” that must we must “purify” ourselves of. If that didn’t get everyone riled up, Claver’s closing statements at least got some laughs: “We have three sports in Texas. Football, Spring Football, and chasing liberals.”

Paul Braswell, organizer for the Texas Conservative Action, called the rally “A celebration of a heck of a conservative victory in November, and a heck of a victory for conservative values.” However, who was celebrating what is still unclear. If there is any message to be taken away from this rally, it is that the Tea Party—or wait, was it the Texas Conservatives?—need to get their act together.