'Tea Party': Group Starts to Gain Momentum
Moore County's TEA Party movement continues to gain momentum.
What started as a colorful Tax Day demonstration in front of the Southern Pines post office has now transformed into a full-time organization that aims to make residents aware of what's going on in Washington and to give them the opportunity to speak out against what the movement's leaders see as an "out-of-control" federal government.
Moore TEA Citizens has picked up more than 300 members since its inaugural Tax Day "Tea Party" attracted 1,000 local residents, and it grows every day, organizers say. TEA stands for "Taxed Enough Already," and is a nod to the colonial Boston Tea Party, one of the nation's first organized political protests.
As an organization, Moore TEA Citizens says it advocates an adherence to the Constitution, which it believes will result in limited federal government, better fiscal responsibility and a free market.
"We want to appeal to people across the spectrum of citizens," coordinator Adelle "Dee" Park says, "recognizing that Americans are not divided according to party lines on issues that are facing us. We have a wide combination of people, and I think, to a person, we all resist being described by one word or by four words. It takes a lot of words to describe what a Moore TEA Citizen is."
Norma Cappelletti, the organization's planner, adds: "And we're concerned about the direction our country has been headed."
Park says the group has grown organically from a core of 15 to 20 members who started talking and realized they had a lot of the same concerns about government. As the group has picked up momentum, it has taken part in a "Take Back Our State" rally at the Raleigh offices of four members of the state's congressional delegation this July and was part of Carthage's Fourth of July parade.
Last week, about 400 residents, including members of Moore TEA Citizens, gathered in the old Kmart parking lot to discuss the details of the proposed health-care reform bill.
The group also hopes to send members to a national taxpayer "March on Washington" on Sept. 12. Another trip sponsored by Americans For Prosperity is planned for an intensive one-day discussion about policy.
On Oct. 17, Moore TEA Citizens will gather at the county fairgrounds in Carthage with other organizations from across the state.
Members also spend a considerable amount of time researching policy, as well as familiarizing themselves with the different sides of the issues.
"We wish the people in Washington would do the same," Park says. "We wish they would read the documents, read the legislation that is being proposed."
The goals of the organization change "almost daily," depending on what the hot-button issues are in Washington, Park says. But Moore TEA Citizens wants to make sure its members and the general public are vigilant.
"Our main goal is to try to inform and educate the people exactly of what's going on and the direction the country seems to be taking," Cappelletti says.
The current hot-button issue is health-care reform. Grassroots movements like Moore TEA Citizens have been popping up all over the country, and members are speaking out in response to President Obama's proposed health-care overhaul at town hall meetings with legislators.
Park says she and her fellow TEA Citizens are concerned about how "evasive" many elected officials have been over this issue. Cappelletti says that there have been several versions of the bill, making it difficult for the average person to comprehend what's actually in it. Another fear is that the bill will be passed without appropriate transparency.
"There are enough provisions floating around out there to raise people's anxiousness," Cappe-lletti says. "They're afraid, and they should be."
Moore TEA Citizens favor reform that makes health insurance more portable and allows residents to buy insurance across state lines. They also favor tax credits and health savings accounts for residents.
"We've been given a Queen Mary health insurance proposal," Park says. "The Queen Mary was a huge ship with all the bells and whistles that anyone could possibly throw into it. What we really needed was to have something in the area of at least a rowboat where everyone can get into the boat and be given basic care.
"Those people who really need it, we would never, never say they should not get it. But the basic number of those people is nowhere near the numbers that have been proposed from Washington. We cannot afford Queen Mary. Maybe it's the Titanic."
Group leaders encourage those interested in learning more about Moore TEA Citizens to visit their blog at mooretea.wordpress.com.
"It's not a partisan group," Cappelletti says. "It's open to everybody. We welcome people of all political persuasions."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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