The Albuquerque Tea Party was quite small in 2009. The organization felt it needed a venue to voice its displeasure with the direction our government was heading. About 30 Tea Party members decided to promote a Tax Day Rally on Montgomery at the Independence Grill near Louisiana and Montgomery. With a little advertising, some 7,000 citizens of Albuquerque on foot, along with several thousand curious drivers, rallied along a one mile stretch of Montgomery Blvd.
By the Tax Day Rally in 2011, a lot more people were upset with the direction their federal government was going. Some 50 Tea Partiers put on the 2011 event. That year, over 10,000 people lined Menaul for over a mile. Some of our local media questioned that 10,000 participation figure, but Tea Party volunteers placed self-adhesive dots on the lapels of over 10,000 participants that afternoon.
There can be no disputing that many who attended the 2010 and 2011 events attended simply because they were unusual: novelties in Albuquerque. On the other hand, hundreds of protest signs were also clearly visible and disappointment in the direction our government was taking was loudly proclaimed.
The 2012 Tax Day Rally only had 300-400 participants; about 60 of whom were the organizers with the Tea Party. I suspect this was because the novelty had worn off. Does this mean the Tea Party is dead in New Mexico? Not hardly. The number of local citizens who participated in the 2012 rally dropped off, but the members of the Albuquerque Tea Party has grown tremendously. The point: the core participants in these three events were but a handful of Tea Partiers. The rest were the independent citizens of our city.
Today, the Albuquerque Tea Party has several hundred core members and thousands who receive our electronic newletters and other messages. The organization has approximately 12 standing committees and their members are very active. For instance, many of our supporters made repeated trips to the Round House this winter to talk with legislators about our concerns and we are already gearing up for the 2014 election cycle.
The Tax Day Rallies have served their purpose. They woke up New Mexico about the Progressive Movement. But that approach is now behind us. We will not be holding an official Tax Day Rally this year. The Conservative Cause in New Mexico is taking other approaches as we evolve. There are now over twenty independent Tea Party groups in New Mexico. They maintain constant communications with each other and with the national Tea Party movements
such as the Tea Party Patriots and the Tea Party Express. There are now over 5000 independent Tea Parties nationwide. So who is right: our anonymous driver with the bumper sticker or Representative Grisham? Or are they both wrong? Conservative of the Democrat and Republican parties worked together to defeat many Progressive bills at the Roundhouse this year. The Progressive movement needs to fear conservatives of both parties AND the Tea Party as we approach 2014. All these conservatives have witnessed the destructive nature of the Progressive Movement in New Mexico and on the national scene. Perhaps Grisham should be looking inward at her own party AND at the Tea Party.
By the way, some of our Tea Partiers will be out on Menaul at Louisiana on April 15 at 4:00 p.m. to hold high a few placards and wave at the cars. This will not be a sanctioned Tea Party event this year, but there are those who just have rallying in their blood. More power to them. If you would care to join them, you are heartily invited to participate.
The Albuquerque Tea Party can always use new members. Like to get involved? A good place to start is at the monthly General Meeting. The next meeting will be at the Eastgate Church at 12120 Copper Avenue NE, about two blocks east of Juan Tabo on April 16 at 6:45 pm. The mayor will be our guest speaker; talking about our fine city. Hope to see you there.
President, Albuquerque Tea Party