The Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots (SWMIPATS) was formed in Kalamazoo in April of 2009 after our first rally brought us together. At that time several of us met as committees and then as 'committee of the whole' to agree upon our principles, mission and organization. Almost no one had any experience in the political world. As I was to learn over the next few months, this same thing was happening all across our state and the nation.
We grew to chapters in Berrien, Cass and Allegan counties. As I was to discover over the next year, all politics is local and hence although almost every single Tea Party that sprung up had the exact same principles and mission (arrived at independently), the organizations were different. We decided to organize as a non-profit, tax exempt, educational organization; others chose for-profit or political action committees, etc. We were all neophytes, processed many conflicting opinions and made our choices.
The choice we made meant that we could not 'endorse' political candidates; we could recruit them, train people, educate people, but not endorse or campaign for candidates. We decided that we would work within this restriction and encourage our members to work for the candidates of their choice. Our voter guides would make it clear who the preferred candidates were. All legal.
When the vast majority of you joined the organization, we had presented ourselves to you as just that, whether you noticed, cared or paid attention. We want to make a change. We want your input. Here is why:
The Local Situation
It has become clear that the Tea Party is a powerful political brand and movement. It has made political history in many elections since last winter. Witness the results in New Jersey and Massachusetts among several. However the old line, "Rockefeller", progressive GOP has also taken notice and is aligned against the Tea Party movement and views us as a threat due to our stance on insistence of protection of and adherence to the Constitution.
We (the Michigan Tea Party Alliance) have found and fought instances in Michigan where the GOP has started up a "Tea Party" as a front for Republican campaigns. Also, they have a policy of always supporting the incumbent, whether their record shows that they honor and protect the constitution, or not.
In Southwest Michigan (the 6th congressional district) we have encouraged our members to run for office with the plan that Tea Party members would be encouraged and available to support them. We have many that have stepped up and are running for office in the Republican primary. However, even though they are running as Republicans, they not only do not get support from the GOP if they are challengers, but they get active resistance. Clearly, the GOP does not want voters to have choice. The Tea Party clearly does want the choice.
As people of integrity and strength, we Tea Party members cannot let this stand without challenge. We cannot bring our strength to bear if our hands are tied. We need to be able to support our members when they challenge the powers that have brought us to this sad state of affairs in our state and nation. We must overturn all corruption that resists us, whether in the GOP, which many of our members also are members of, or ACORN, or any other organization that opposes us. We will have the full strength of those in charge of the corrupt centers of power in the federal government against us. We must insure that we are not easy targets for them.
We need to be able to fight for our candidates, legally. We need to organize so as to provide us the best platform from which to do battle. I am recommending that we change our current corporate designation and immediately move to engage the battle to protect our constitutional republic. When we win our battles in August and November, we will look to the future again and my vision includes a watchdog Tea Party which would then move to a educational organization to watch and report on 'our' elected representatives. At that time, our needs will change, but not our mission of taking back our nation and putting it back on course. We will not let it drift again.
One last piece of information: it was our understanding our IRS application was in process, but upon further investigation it has come to our attention that it was not. The application has never been processed so we can re-register as a different type of non-profit or as a for profit organization.
Please take time and respond to me with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.