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  • "Tea Party" Film Tells the Story of a Truly American Movement

    From the opening scenes of “Tea Party: The Documentary Film,” one thing is perfectly clear: the “Tea Party” movement is not about Republicans or Democrats; it’s about ordinary Americans shocked into action by their government’s intervention in the market, Wall Street bailouts, and a path toward national health care.


    That action took the form of a grassroots movement of men and women across the country, motivated to take back their government and make their voices heard to their representatives in Washington. In “Tea Party: The Documentary Film,” that story is passionately told through the eyes of six ordinary Americans who found a common cause in making a pilgrimage to their nation’s capitol on September 12, 2009.

    Those individuals were on hand at the movie’s premier last night in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington DC, along with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Senator Jim DeMint, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Joe Wilson. They were greeted by a crowd of 200 men and women, young and old, who celebrated the triumphant spirit of the movie and the Tea Party movement that inspired it.

    In the film, each of the Tea Partiers shares a strong sense of duty to country – an obligation to reclaim their government. But the movie is more than a series of caricatures or skin-deep profiles of a few people who came to the “party.” There is more to the story.

    There’s Nate, a young black man from Detroit, who voted for Barack Obama but was moved to protest when the new president’s liberal agenda became clear. He feels alone in his cause, but is committed nonetheless.

    Dr. Fred, a urologist, led an army of physicians to Congress in order to deliver a message that though health care reform is needed, it shouldn’t come at their patients’ expense. William, a Vietnam veteran, Revolutionary War performer, artist, and self-described “white pastor in a black church,” led the 9/12 march down Pennsylvania Avenue, dressed in full costume.

    Jack is a young father and little league coach who recruited others in his community to the Tea Party protest, including Dave, a young professional who never protested anything before. Jack laments his failure to be politically active for much of his life but zealously embraces his new cause, in large part to ensure that his young children enjoy the freedoms he holds dear. While in Washington, he pauses to pay tribute to a fallen friend at the Vietnam War Memorial, captures a rubbing of his name with charcoal and paper, and breaks down in tears. Veterans, he says, hold a special place in his heart.

    Most remarkable is Jenny Beth, a national leader of the grassroots Tea Party movement. She and her husband lost their multi-million dollar business and their home, turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and were stunned to see taxpayer bailouts for companies who couldn’t keep their own houses in order. Her political beliefs led to action, her action became a cause, and in nine months she would stand on Capitol Hill, delivering her message to countless like-minded Americans.

    Theirs are stories not unlike millions of others across the country. “Tea Party” is a documentary about those stories and a movement, and it captures the spirit well. For those who attended the 9/12 rally, they will likely see themselves in the film. And for those who could not make it, they will understand what drove so many to Washington.

    As Rep. Armey noted last night, Ben Franklin famously was asked at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 whether he and his compatriots created a Republic or a Monarchy.

    “A Republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin replied.

    Those in the Tea Party movement are striving to keep it. This is their story.

    For more information on the film, visit: http://www.teapartymovie.com/

    We at The Heritage Foundation would like to hear your Tea Party story. Please post them in our comments section below.

    Posted in First Principles, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to "Tea Party" Film Tells the Story of a Truly American Movement

    1. Evan, Washington says:

      I think that the Tea Party movement had an excellent premise in the run up to the election in 2008. At that time it was a voice for moderation, and for elegance and simplicity in tax-codes – essentially, I believe, it was a grassroots response to the eloquent propositions of Ron Paul.

      Today, however, media moguls like Glen Beck and "non-partisan, non-profits" like FreedomWorks have totally co-opted what was a defensible, fiscally conservative, and genuinely grassroots movement. It has become a kind of bizarre knee-jerk puppet circus at this point.

      Of what I've read thus far about the film, my impression is that it's trying too hard. The unusual decision to focus on the undeniably few black participants begs for comparison to a Spike Lee movie.

      When will we conservatives be treated as adults by the party and political organizations which supposedly represent us? Just like ACORN was for the Democrats. The truth is that at this point, to the GOP/Palin/Beck establishment, Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives are just voters.

    2. Dan, Floris says:

      After never having attended a political rally my entire 33 years, I have attended 3 this year. The first in front of Senator Claire McCaskill's office, the last the day after thanksgiving at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis. I want to talk about the 2nd one, which took place on the riverfront at a park in St. Charles, MO. This was special, not only because of the occassion and the location, but because I brought my 3 year old son with me for the first time. He got to meet alot of interesting people of different age groups, different races, and different political backgrounds, including Kevin Jackson, author of The Big Black Lie. Althought Mr. Jackson was doing some interviews and also spoke at the event, he took the time to shake my hand, introduce himself, and took a picture holding my son. My son liked the signs, loved giving people high 5's, got to pet a couple dogs, and even got to look in a police car, as I like to introduce my son to police officers and firemen when I see them so he knows who "the good guys" are. Yes I enjoyed that we were taking part in a political rally, and that we were letting our collective voices be heard, but what I liked best was sharing the experience, and some quality time with my son. Thank you to anyone who has organized an event, or even attended an event. For those of you who have never attended an event, come on out. Everyone is welcome. I promise no one asks for a political affiliation, for a secret password, or for a secret handshake.

    3. Mickey White, Rossvi says:

      Why was any politician allowed to speak at a tea party? Especially Marsha Blackburn, she is a RINO Neo-Con !!!

      Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:

      Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening.

      Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:

      Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations.

      Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.

      See her unconstitutional votes at :

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    5. Linda Leach Barnesv says:

      i like countless others, in the past have done nothing to do with politics. But I purchased my own laptop so I could have computer time and get involved and research what has happened, what is happening, and what is to come. At first, I became depressed as the truth is so horrible; but I learned to look at my circumstances through God. No matter what happens Jesus will be with me to lead and guide and help me. He's totally trustworthy and faithful! what we need is a return to Godly principles and put God back in the schools and government. We were founded on JudeoChristian values and laws. In my recent past I've learned to paint landscapes and protraits which I am totally fulfilled doing, but I gave it up for a time to be heavily involved with taking our Country back. I've lost hope in the republican party making a real difference so I plan to become involved with the libertarian AFTER I do some research on them. I know once republicans get into Washington they push through Progressive or Liberal policies just as the democrats do. It looks like they oppose each other but the end result is the same. I know from research that the Bilderberg group decides whose going to win elections and they run the government, our elected officers are their puppets. The offshore banks own our country and until we take it back they will remain unknown of and continue to reign supreme in the US. They're in the process, and very far along in the process of turning our government into a Marxist communistic society. The next step is a crisis for the president to announce Martial Law. Then it's the step of normalization. the progressives won't see this till there is a gun in their faces. We've turned our backs on God and we are now suffering chastisement from the Lord. The obama regime does what the Lord allows to chastise christians to wake up and seek his face once again. If millions of us do that then the Lord will help us to take our government away from the banks. These are the conclusions i've come to after months of rigorous research and help from the Holy Spirit to find the truth and the answers to the tea party movement. i suggest everyone to seek the Lords face, have a pure heart and clean hands-read your Bibles and get to know your neighbors, have barbeques or Bible study -but get connected to your neighbors and begin to educate them. We have so much entertainment we've lost our culture of connecting to others and causing a change. Anyway, this is what I am doing and pray millions of others will do the same.

    6. Louis L Cesar F LEVY says:

      Tea party is genuinly American. They deserve our gratitude. The film's witness is an homage, let them grow with us and be thanked and welcomed to persevere in determination. The time is coming when they will fit harmoniously into the puzzle of this Second Coming American Revolution.

    7. Betty Hanicke, Kansa says:

      I'm delighted with the tea party movement. I've been involved in conservative Republican politics for 60 years and I really feel that they might be able to save America. Otherwise, I feel that our young people will not enjoy the freedoms that we enjoyed in growing up. If we can control the congress in 2010, they should only veto the hurtful laws that have been passed the last number of years!

    8. Jeff Pyper, Spokane says:

      Some photos from the Spokane, WA "Tea Party". We estimated about 2,000 people attended.

    9. John Shockley, Gaine says:

      I am a 58 year old retired firefighter and I still work as a paramedic at the local hospital. While I have always paid attention to politics and exercised my right and (I feel, my duty) to vote, I have never been actively involved in any kind of political movement. But I would never have believed that I would be so afraid of losing my country.

      I cannot understand how anyone who is paying any attention can keep themselves from standing up and screaming "Enough". It seems that everything this administration does is hell bent on bringing this country to it's knees economically and endangering our national security in ways I would never have thought possible. One either has to believe that they are purposly trying to destroy America or they are complete idiots. Or both.

      So when my wife and I heard about the tea party movement we felt compelled to get involved.

      We first attended the tax day tea party in Atlanta then a couple more small ones locally. But we couldn't wait to go to Washington. We were there the night before the march when the Tea Party Patriot's bus arrived. A huge crowd was there that night and it was obvious that the next day was going to be a day to remember. And that it was.

      We were so proud to be a part of this well behaved "angry mob". We were there from beginning to end. It was truly an inspiring day. There was not a single arrest and when it was over we left the city as clean as we found it. We were somewhat upset at the extremely low crowd estimates given by the lame stream media but I guess that was to be expected. Anyone who was there knows it was probably the biggest crowd Washington D. C. has ever seen.

      I hope the movement continues to grow. We continue to be involved and we try to get others as fired up as we are. We only wish that we had more time and money to contribute. And we are so grateful to Jenny Beth and all of the other leaders for their hard work and the sacrifice of their time. Thank God for them. Keep it up and let's get our country back.

    10. Mickey White, Rossvi says:

      Thank you Trish, and the tea party committee for inviting me to speak today.

      I am glad to see so many people here today. I am especially impressed to see all the young people that are here. I have spoken to many of them and I am amazed at the depth of their knowledge and I am encouraged by their passion for sound government.

      The first tea party was to show the tyrannical king of England that we did not like being taxed so heavily and being represented so lightly. We all remember from school, ‘No taxation without representation.’ Please, we advocate only peaceful and lawful protest.

      Today’s tea party is not that much different from the first one. Washington is not listening us. Washington ignores us. Washington does not fear us. Today, we want to send Washington a message: We are Fed Up and we are not going to take it anymore.

      Our forefathers gave us a Republic form of government. That means Rule by Law. Not rule by tyrants in Washington! Our forefathers gave us the Constitution as our law. We are a Constitutional Republic.

      The Constitution does not give Washington the power to do what ever they please. The Constitution limits the Federal government. The Constitution protects our God given Rights from an abusive government. The Constitution holds the government in check and prevents the majority (acting through their government) from violating the Rights of the individual.

      The Constitution states exactly what the government is allowed to do, and friends, it is not that many things. The legislative branch, congress, has 20 things listed that they are allowed to do. That’s right, 20. The executive branch, the president, has 6 things listed that he is allowed to do. And there are 14 things listed for the Courts to do. All of these are listed explicitly. Why is our federal government so large? Also listed are things the Federal Government is not allowed to do. There are the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, which most of them start with “the congress SHALL NOT”, “the congress SHALL NOT’, all the way to the that wonderful 10th amendment, which says “if we forgot anything, then you can’t do that either”.

      Our leaders in Washington swore an oath to follow the Constitution. Does anyone here believe they are keeping that oath? Our country is 11 TRILLION dollars in debt. Yet our Congressmen are giving Billions away in foreign aid. Is taxing you, the public, in order to send your tax money to other countries in the Constitution? We are 11 Trillion dollars in debt. Yet our Congressmen are giving Billions away to private banks and private industry. Is that in the Constitution?

      We have a department of Education. Is the education system today working well? Is government, excuse me, public education listed in the constitution? We have a department of Energy, is energy listed in the constitution? Is transportation, health, housing, or labor listed in the constitution? People, if Washington would follow the constitution, our government would be 20 percent the current size and only 20 percent the current cost. Send a message to Washington. No More unconstitutional spending. No more unconstitutional micro managing of our very lives. No more deprivation of our Liberties.

      Washington thinks that if they are not prohibited, then they can do anything. We have been asleep and elected a bunch of self serving politicians. Thomas Jefferson said, "bind men down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

      We, here today, are here, to remind Washington that They have it Backwards.

      They work For Us, not Us for them. They are to Protect, not provide.

      This tea party today is to let Washington know that we are Not asleep. Law Breakers, I mean Law Makers, You are here by put on Notice. We are Watching you. We may have been asleep when we elected you, but your self-serving inability to follow your oath to these United States of America, and to the Constitution, has awakened the sleeping giant. And we are mad.

      But, in fairness, should we place all the blame on Washington? We elected them? Let me ask you, Just what is the problem in our great nation? What is wrong in America today?

      Our national problem is ignorance.

      Ignorance is desired, created, and sustained by those we have trusted.

      Friends, freedom cannot survive in a Nation of Ignorance. But we here know that a majority of our citizens, us, will act responsibly and vote intelligently when we are correctly informed.

      We must build understanding and increase awareness among the American people.

      Informed and alerted citizens must be organized and activated as

      quickly as they can be found and taught.

      An active and informed electorate would first bear down on the U.S. House of Representatives, where many of these unconstitutional programs can be stopped, mainly by cutting off the funding for them. By the same means, other unconstitutional and harmful legislation can be blocked, and the disastrous course of our nation can be reversed.

      The next objective of an informed electorate would be the U.S. Senate, to restore its role as legislative check on the House.

      A constitutionally correct House and Senate would then strip the Court and the executive branch of the unauthorized powers they have assumed.

      My fellow Americans, we are at war. The battle is between individualism and collectivism.

      The individualist believes that the rights of the individual must not be destroyed by the desires of the collective or the group.

      Collectivists believe that the group is more important than the individuals that belong to it, and the individual must be sacrificed, if necessary, for the greater good of the greater number.

      The individualist believes that with Rights, come responsibility and since we insist on individual rights, therefore we except the principle of individual responsibility, rather than group responsibility. We believe that every person has a responsibility to provided first for themselves, next for their family, and then for those outside their family who may be in need.

      The collectivist on the other hand says that the individual is Not personally responsible for charity or raising their own children or providing for their aging parents or even providing for themselves for that matter. This is a group function of the state or of government itself.

      The Individualist wants to be free to do it himself; the collectivist wants the government to do it for him. He believes government can solve all problems. Because government is the One group that can Force everyone to participate. It has the power of taxation backed by jail or the force of arms. Friends, collectivism is Legal Plunder.

      Individualist believe in Freedom, collectivist believe in compulsion.

      Ladies and Gentlemen, we are at war. The battle is between morality and amorality.

      We want integrity in government. We want honesty in the market place. We want social harmony. These things must be based on morality, they can not be legislated into existence.

      True morality is not possible without a firm religious base. True morality is doing what is right just because it is right, and for no other reason.

      Religion is indispensable for a nation’s morality and for liberty.

      Thomas Jefferson also said, "Resistance To Tyranny Is Obedience To God.”

      Let this tea party today, here in Somerville, Fayette county Tennessee, mark the beginning, the beginning of Less Government, More Responsibility, and with God’s Help, a better World.

      Thank you

    11. Drew Page, IL says:

      I attended the 9/12 rally in D.C. I feel strongly about what the current administration and the majority in congress is doing to me, my family and my country. I have complained loud and long, but 9/12 was time to walk the walk.

      I am not so concerned that some politicians have gotten onto the populist bandwagon of attending Tea Parties or taxpayer revolts. I am more concerned that those who feel as we do join us in opposition.

      The single most important thing that those who are in agreement with us can do is to show up at the polls during the 2010 Congressional elections. We can't keep saying "give us our country back" and "I want my country back", we aren't going to get anywhere asking nicely. WE HAVE TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK. AND WE CAN DO IT.

    12. Michael Johns, Deptf says:

      I'm very pleased to see Heritage's supportive coverage of the Tea Party movement. That combines the nation's most exceptional conservative think tank with the nation's most dynamic grassroots conservative movement. And, together, that's a powerful combination.

    13. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      The Congress and Senate probaby don't have the time or the need to even read the Consitiution. Just like the many bills they sign and impose on us. I for one think that anyone elected to serve be required to read and take a test to see if they understand the Constitution. Apparently the people we have elected have done neither. They certainly don't have the time to respond to us when writing to them we get form letters back (if we get a responsee at all) saying they know what is best for us. We no longer have a say in what is happening.

      2010 can't get here soon enough for me and I certainly hope that others feel the same way. These people all need to go out and look for jobs like we have had to do.

      I am looking at who is voting for these massive tax increases and will vote accordingly. I just hope that some of these programs and spending can be destroyed in 2010, or we are going to be a socialist country in no time. The states that take back their people from this government are places that are going to be more populated. I for one will move to a state that opposes this.

      Texas comes to mind.

    14. Jerry from Chicago says:

      My fellow conservatives, we have a chance in the upcoming year to reclaim our country. The most important thing any of can do in 2010 is get to get out the vote. We need to spread the message to all like minded individuals to get to the polls for the Congressional elections.

      We absolutely must do everything in our power to vote out the people who would spend our country into poverty; who would destroy our health care system; who would destroy our business community and the jobs they provide; and who would increase our taxes to pay for all of this vast overspending.

      We have a one-party monoply in government. There are no longer checks and balances. The ruling party is consumed by arrogance and have decided they know best. They are determined to create a socialist state where government controls all. These people are determined to reward failure and punish success. Left in power, they will 'protect' us out of all we own, and will claim to do it "for our own good".

      Yes, this country does need to be protected from the excesses of capitalism and free enterprise. But we also need to be protected from the excesses of government.

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