The following is part 1 of a 3-part series. Check back tomorrow and the following day for parts 2 and 3.


My wife and I went away this past weekend, guests for a few days at the Jersey Shore (great place, by the way). Our hosts were her friend from school, her husband and teenage son.

The husband and I weren’t exactly political opposites, but close to it. A union guy, liberal voter, Bush-hater, he had a lot to say about things. Needless to say, our wives declared a truce the first night, and we all enjoyed the weekend tremendously.

A lot was said that first evening, and my host debated well. Of all he had to say, it was something he asked, a few times, that played like a last-heard song all weekend, and all the way home. Regarding the Tea Party, he seemed unaware of anything we stood for or against, as you’d expect. After all, I don’t have “Move On” bookmarked, either. But his question, “So, what do you guys want, anyway?”, illustrated the “information seeking” divide well.

And that’s our challenge, isn’t it? How do we shift from preaching to one another to being considered worthy of an independent look, without compromising our positions? Sure, if we’re willing to move toward our opponents’ positions, we may gain more support.

But, it’s not a win if you agree to lose a little more slowly, is it? I believe that’s how we got to where we now are. The typical Tea Party member truly does not stop looking once his or her bias is supported. I’m not saying that my weekend host stops short of discomforting knowledge, because his statements and views clearly indicated the opposite. I’m saying that he’d be more likely to find similar objective conversation at a Tea Party gathering than at one of our detractors’.

Again, that’s our challenge. Not only diligent oversight of our message, constantly shining light on the out-of-sync consequences of wholesale pandering and blatant deceit, but earnest outreach to those who trust the dishonorable. After all, we want…well, what DO we want?

(to be continued)