Jim Durbin called me this evening. “Are you excited?” he asked.
Jim was in the crowd at the very first Tea Party in St. Louis, February 27, 2009. A cold Friday. He and more than a thousand other folks took off work and school to see what this protest was all about. Like so many others, Jim knew America needed a change. A big one. A change built on the hopes and dreams and fierce independence of ordinary people. We could no longer trust America’s future to academics and political professionals.
“Excited bout what?” I asked.
“The inauguration tomorrow,” he said.
I’d almost forgotten. Between my never-ending cold and work and family and the Blues’ lackluster home play, so many other things compete for my brain time. I felt bad that I didn’t feel better. Which reminded me of a story we read in 7th grade (was it 7th?) about Christmas spirit and a little kid who didn’t have any.
The kid in that Christmas story was struck by Christmas spirit on Christmas eve. My epiphany struck when I opened some old emails.
These emails were responses to a “thank you” email I sent to Tea Partiers in November. My email thanked them for being part of the movement that culminated in a 1,000 seat shift from Democrats to Republics since 2009 at all levels of state and federal government including, now, the seat in the Oval Office. That email was to thank the people like Jim who no longer trusted academics and professionals to chart a course for America’s future.
As Donald Trump prepares to take office as our 45th President and the first of a kind, I thought I’d share a few of your words with the world. You say it better than I ever could:
Don’t you see that the Tea Party was the precursor of Donald Trump’s election? We laid the groundwork with all those rallies and protests and afterparties. If Trump is faithful to his word and follows through with his promises to us, the ideals that we struggled for will come to fruition. Back in April of 2009 when I went to the Kiener Plaza rally, I KNEW that the Tea Party would be an historic movement, that we could make a difference. God bless you and, yes, Dana too, for helping us to take America back. God bless Donald Trump and God Bless America! — Donna R.
It finally feels good after all these past 8 years. God bless you Bill. — Edward H.
I heard someone recently say what happened to the Tea Party and I said we are the Tea Party. You were such a prominent part of the entire movement. Thank you for the reminders. I have a photo album with many of the events. I truly feel like there is a dark cloud removed from our future. However, we can never take this great country for granted. God has answered our prayers and now we need to be worthy. Thank you for all the passion there is no replacement and money cannot buy it. –Jane P.
Some of us have complained or protested when someone implied that the Tea Party is dead. I don’t think it was ever dead – it went underground and that’s where it continued its mission of upsetting the apple card and unconventional methods of doing things the unconventional way.
Thanks for recognizing that MAGA is and was the ultimate goal of the Tea Party. –Frieda K.
God Bless America and please make it great again! –Judy H.
I received dozens of other notes that mistakenly thanked me. I really didn’t do much, but I appreciate your kind support and kind words.
Shakespeare said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Fifteen hours from the moment I write these words, the Tea Party’s dream will rendezvous with its hard-earned destiny. That destiny, far too big for one man to contain, will nonetheless be personified by Donald J. Trump.
On this last night of America’s dark winter, I will tell you that Mr. Trump said it best when he told the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial tonight:
I had something to do with it but you had much more to do with it than I did. I’m the messenger. I’m just the messenger. And we were tired, and I love you. Believe me, I love you.
Thank you, friends. I look forward to laying down our tools of protest so we can pick up hammers and shovels and get to work Making America Great Again!
Also published on Medium.