Putting the Tea in teachable

In the past year or so, the Tea Party movement has made its voice known with cries of "take America back"(from what? I’m not completely sure). With the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck leading the charge, the movement has been a regular feature on the 24-hour news stations. With protests across the country, there is no question that the Tea Party has been expanding their influence in the Republican Party.

Last week, the movement showed their ever-growing prominence in politics as Tea Party-supported candidates won significant primaries in Delaware, Massachusetts and New York. Some of these results were surprises, as newcomers, like Christine O’Donnell, defeated established politicians, such as soon-to-be-former Senator Mike Castle in Delaware. But there seems to be an underlying concern with the news of numerous Tea Party candidates winning their respective primaries.

Even though I disagree with many of their positions (the Tea Party supports a strict interpretation of the Constitution, smaller government and has an extremely conservative view on the economy and social issues, more so than the Republican party in general), there is nothing wrong with the Tea Party expressing their ideas and concerns about the direction of the country. Freedom of speech is one of the many rights that America prides itself on and contributes to making this country great. Another standard of America is that people have differing views points, which has led the United States to maintain a two-party system.

Furthermore, if America didn’t have people who wanted to challenge the standard (many in the Tea Party movement see themselves as outsiders wanting to break the long-standing, Washington-elite establishment), we, as a country, would fail to grow and to continue to better ourselves for future generations. In essence, we cannot dwell too long in annoyance or anger over these points, since those in the Tea Party are only expressing their right as citizens.

However, my main concern with the Tea Party is the ignorance that many members of the movement consistently express. Obama is not an immigrant or a racist that is going to convert everyone to Islam while molding the country to become the African-socialist nation that his father dreamed of back in the 1950s. That’s what a few members of the party have actually said. Personally, this seems a little far-fetched. Yet, these are only a few of the many points that certain members of the Tea Party claim every day (though, in all fairness to them, they don’t say all of these at once—usually).

This ignorance of certain Tea Party members applies to more than just what matters to politics. Take O’Donnell for instance. In 2007 she said on Fox’s "O’Reilly Factor" that, "American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully-functioning human brains." To be fair to O’Donnell, it would be hard for me to take anyone seriously who would say that, not just a candidate running to become a United States senator who will be making important decisions that could contribute in shaping the future of our country, if elected.

Take a look at the signs at any given Tea Party rally and you are bound to find a couple with significant spelling and grammatical errors. Once again, it’s hard for me to take anyone seriously about preserving the Constitution when they can’t even spell the word correctly.

If the Tea Party really wants to "take back America," then they need to work on educating themselves and their fellow Americans on the issues at hand. And I’m not talking about looking on Wikipedia or someone’s blog; I mean looking at legitimate documents and other sources, many of which are available to the public at no cost at all. And this doesn’t go for only those who support the Tea Party movement; this suggestion is for all Americans.

With some simple, reliable research the Tea Party can avoid sounding overwhelmingly, mind-bendingly ignorant, which has been their main problem. This may not completely change their overall views on policies and politics of the Tea Party (I highly doubt anything can), but by doing so, they will make their movement more credible, instead of the easy butt of jokes on the late night talk shows. And there’s nothing wrong with having intelligent politicians who can spell.