I’ve been involved with the Tea Party Movement since the earliest days. I’ve done everything from directing traffic, writing articles, maintaining the website, and participating in the leadership committee at the local level here in Huntsville.
From the earliest days we focused completely on fiscal issues politically and constitutional government in our education efforts. I remember a debate in the early days on whether we should have an opinion on immigration policy. Some thought it was not a fiscal issue and others thought that it was. This focus on fiscal issues is one of the things that I liked about the Tea Party Movement and I’ve heard many other people say the same thing.
But in recent months I’ve noticed that Tea Party groups across Alabama have taken up the banner against Common Core State Standards. This was only a little surprising at first because back then I didn’t know much about CCSS. Now that I have done some research and know that most of what is said against CCSS is false, it pains me to see Tea Party groups involved in opposing it.
CCSS is not, in my opinion, a Tea Party issue. Involvement in this issue strengthens the impression that the Tea Party is a fringe group of wingnuts. Don’t think so? View this video taken at a meeting of the Wetumpka Tea Party and tell me you think this is good for the cause.
Common Core opposition is an issue taken up by a few strident activists in Alabama. The average voter will take a look at who are supporting the standards and who are against them and will quickly decide that the standards are a good thing. A few will decide to look deeper into the issue and like me will discover that the claims made against them are mostly rubbish. In so many words, this is a loser issue for the anti-CCSS groups. I already see some movement away from it in some places. For example, Common Core issues are no longer front and center for the Wetumpka Tea Party. They have removed the video linked to above from their website and from their Youtube account. Why? Maybe because Becky Gerritson, their president, was considering running for office.
The point? It is an embarrassing issue for anyone who opposes it when the people they are trying to influence are informed and not members of fringe social conservative groups. Tea Party groups across the country are best advised to begin distancing themselves from an issue that strengthens the impression that the Tea Party is a fringe group itself.