Sometimes things just happen.
As Jim Durbin points out, last night’s St. Louis Tea Party Night at the Ball Game was a total fluke. A mix-up left us with 46 tickets to last night’s Cardinal’s game against Arizona. (Long story.) But this tea party thing that started over a year ago seems to generate its own publicity.
But the real story, to me, is what happened last night. Three incidents vindicated the shift toward more community building work, even if that work comes at the expense of big, boisterous rallies.
While we were assembling at the Stan Musial statue, a young man in a security guard or usher uniform approached me. He said, “I just recently figured out what the whole Tea Party movement is about, and I wanted you to know that I support you guys. Thank you for doing this.”
I told him “thanks,” and introduced myself and handed him a pocket Constitution and Declaration of Independence. He seemed to be in a hurry. But he’ll be back.
During the top of the ninth, I went over to section 331 to say goodbye to the large crowd there. (The Tea Partyers put me in the overflow seats two sections away from the main group. They know how I get.) On my way over, another young man stopped and told me he’d been supporting the tea party movement from a distance for a while. He, too , said “thanks” for what we do. I handed him a Constitution and told him to contact us through www.stlouisteaparty.com.
Today, news of our accidental BUYcott of the game went viral. This certainly wasn’t planned. We didn’t issue a press release about the event. We just wanted to watch baseball with some of the friends we’ve made manning the barricades of freedom since 2009.
I realized a year ago that, without a network of people stronger, smarter, braver, and more energetic than me, I wouldn’t have organized that second tea party. (The first one was testimony to my own ignorance and tendency toward compulsion, and it was successful only because of Dana’s work.)
Well, if I need a strong fabric of people and groups to sustain me, then lots of other people do, too.
“How many people,” I wondered, “would join us in small groups, at house parties or block parties, even if they’re not comfortable coming out to a protest or rally?”
Through the retail work of meeting one person at a time, we unfurl the blanket of community that Jim Durbin talks about when he writes:
We like hanging out together. And while there will always be a little political theater when this group gets together, last night was really about getting out to the ballpark with friends, family, and the kids.
We do like hanging out together. We know we’re safe and covered by our friends. We know our friends will keep us in line and steady us when we stumble. Even if they do make us sit two sections away.
So if you haven’t joined our ranks, please do. We hold a little party every Thursday evening at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin. We’re working on adding additional locations for weekly get-togethers in South St. Louis City or County, North County, and Mid-County. We look for new Block Captains who will invest a few dollars and a couple hours in training and Constitutions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to become part of the solution to the problem government has left us.
Finally, about our little movement, let me say this. We never intended to create a new party or some massive blob of angry snarkiness. We just wanted our kids to find an America that’s a little freer, a little stronger, and little more fun than the one we inherited. That may sound like a grandiose plan, but it’s really the dream of every American man and woman since the Pilgrims formed their little colony in Massachusetts. If we accomplish that, we’ll have achieved no more than our parents and grandparents did.
Come to think of it, that’s one hell of an ambitious plan.