Who is the TEA party

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) --For the second year in a row millions of Americans rallied against the current administration. Many groups under the TEA party umbrella.

The TEA party movement began in 2009 over taxes. Actually the name TEA is an acronym for "taxed enough already".

But who really makes up the TEA party?

In Jonesboro, TEA party members rallied at the front of the Craighead County Courthouse. The crowd of about 300 included Jerry and Carol Stout. Jerry said this movement was having an impact on the current administration.

"They've got the country up in arms now. They're not sitting on their behinds not doing anything."

The Tea Party has grown to be a large voice for America. But who makes up the party? Super Patriots, Conservatives, Liberals, Democrats, Republicans? I asked supporter Harold McMickle to dissect his non-party.

"We're just a broad cross section of America. Not exclusively Republican, Not exclusively Democrat."

McMickle says he encounters lots of independents like Earl Noah.

Noah, "Independent, would vote for the best person. What I think is the best person."

And though it may seem, if you receive the e-mails and see them on television and the websites, that the TEA party is highly organized but Mr. McMickle says, not really.

"Our philosophy is we really don't have any national leaders. We're people at the local level who want to change the direction our country is headed right now."

In fact McMickle says that is one of the appeals of the organization. No one really tells them what they have to do, they just do what seems best for their parts of the country. There are about 30 TEA party organizations in Arkansas with about 800 events held on Tax day.

Sarah Palin often appears as the face of the Tea Party. Some members see her as a voice for America, others as a motivator. Mickles says he sees her as a political candidate but he doesn't feel that she speaks for all the members. And since the TEA party is not really an official political party it may be difficult to see Palin as a candidate for TEA.

Some may look at the TEA party as a negative, or a fringe group. But McMickle says their group will be heard.

"We're Americans, we're proud of our country and our intention is to speak up despite what the naysayers have to say."

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