Unfortunately, this year, the Tea Party Express rally was not very representative of the traditional tea party rallies of the past. From being exclusive rather than inclusive to not covering anything of tea party value, this rally was more about shoulder rubbing with politicians and entertainment than anything of tea party substance.
There was singing and dancing, but no talk of tea party action steps to take now. There was a comedy show, but no education of liberty ideas or announcements of future local meetings people could attend to become more involved. There were introductions of politicians, but no hard questions asked to make sure the politicians are keeping their promises to the people. In fact there was a lot of entertainment and political recognition, but no representation or speakers from any of the local liberty organizations. In fact, the local groups were required to seek permission to be present and were not slated to speak as was previously promised.
Although advertised as a public event at Leach Park in Bettendorf, members of Iowans For Accountability (IFA) were confronted and told that they could not participate or setup tables at the event without prior approval of Mike Martin. "I was in shock since in all the years I have been involved in the liberty movement, I have never been told that I needed to beg permission to participate in a public tea party event," said Michael Elliott, the chairman of Iowans for Accountability (IFA) who decided to not set up at all and left before the event got started.
Cindy Deirks, a local tea party organizer, recently returning back after an illness and death in the family, was told today that she is no longer needed because there are new owners of the Tea Party of the QC. "I don't understand why someone would try to claim they own the local tea party movement. Everyone who is fighting against out-of-control government is an owner, not just one or two people." Cindy explained.
If this is what is to be expected under the "New Owners" of the tea party movement in the Quad Cities, then there may be more events that are as John Riley, an attendee, put it, "All party and no tea."