Here’s the story of how it happened for me. Who am I and what would lead me to get involved in the fight of my life? My name is Dee Park and the roots of my involvement in the TEA movement began, perhaps, back in 1951–1952 when I worked on Eisenhower’s bandwagon. He was running for President, and I was thirteen going on fourteen years old. I did not do much, but I remember stuffing envelopes and being convinced ‘Ike’ would be right for our country. Time passed and I kept up with some of what was happening politically in America. I read articles and books about heroes of the United States in history and economics and government.
And then, the 2008 campaign for President – Obama? Who? What? McCain? Hero! We learned a bit more and then lots more about both of those ultimately successful candidates who would face off for the presidency. Neither was perfect, but as I read, watched and absorbed the views of those two, I became convinced that Barack Obama was a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a charlatan, a fake – someone who might well bring down America.
Some of us became alarmed and talked with others. We read more books, listened to television – I discovered Fox News – and marveled that some in the media, perhaps most, were unwilling, unable to see the obvious direction we would be led in if Obama and his crew were elected.
No sooner had the election ended and the swearing in completed than Obama’s Congressional followers began their Health Care overreach beyond compare in modern times. We three women—really more than three, but fewer than ten—met, talked, planned and organized our first public rally in Southern Pines, North Carolina, on Tax Day, April 15, 2009. The Pilot, our local newspaper, sent a reporter and photographer to cover our planned event. The front page story attracted much attention and on April 15th there were 1,000 folks there at the Post Office, rallying and carrying hastily made signs proclaiming, “Taxed Enough Already” and “Honk If You’ve Had Enough.”
Getting our name, Moore TEA Citizens, building a blog, getting leadership roles assigned and accepted and determining next steps came later. We met in a still-small group of fewer than fifteen and rallies were planned. We were given time on WEEB, a local talk radio station, for four times daily commentaries, five days a week. An hour a week on the air, venting. Super! We called those talks “WEEBies”. Now we have bylaws and 501(c) 4 status. We’re more formal, but still just as passionate about the issues with which we resonate – Health Care – Cap and Trade – Financial Reform – Czars – Presidential Edicts – Congressional Entitlements – Congressional hutzpah – and, Presidential assumption of kingly rights and privileges. How dare they!
September 12, 2009, I was there – in Washington! One of more than a million people gathering from all corners of America and beyond to rally, wear our hearts on our sleeves, and get strength from one another for the fight that still is developing. We’ve been back to Washington five times over this past year and to Raleigh and other rallying places to protest at Congressional offices, on state office lawns and to march, march, march. We have stood outside NC legislators’ offices rallying.
In less than a year, we gave away the first three thousand copies of the Constitution in parades, in offices of lawmakers, and to friends and family members.
We have organizational trappings—brochures, flyers, membership cards, and position papers. We have collected countless petition signatures on a wide range of legislative issues.
We’ve taken bus trips to Washington and back, occasionally up and back on the same day. We are Moore TEA Citizens. My own identity has merged with that of this wonderful organization. We’re all in this together. It’s a struggle I’m committed to seeing through to the end—hopefully, prayerfully, a peaceful end of return of American freedoms. We must prevail. Sometimes I get the question – how long will you continue with this project? As long as it takes to reclaim America!
As we said at that first rally, I am “mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore.” It’s a time of great peril for this country and its people. I am not the same happy housewife I was in the past—most of my reading is about dangers America faces and heroes of the past. An alarming number of the 168 hours in each week is spent working on Moore TEA business – planning for the next caravan, the next newsletter or alert to go on the website and in e-mail form to our members.
(Note from Dee – Much more has happened since I wrote this for Brent’s book in July, 2010. Every day we are challenged to keep standing up, speaking out and marching forward for America. Sounds trite when I write it, but when enough of us do the heavy lifting it seems we are united and determined, and certainly we are making a difference in the American political landscape. Who would have thought it when we were so young, so sure that The United States of America would be here for us FOREVER.)
Editor’s Note: The foregoing is the story, told by one of its founders, of how and why one TEA (Taxed Enough Already) organization (this one in Moore County, North Carolina) came into existence and evolved to a full-fledged movement. This is but one in a collection of stories of TEA groups around the country, including Moore TEA Citizens, recently published in the new book by Brent Morehouse entitled, “Tea Party – The Awakening. This article is Dee’s contribution to the book.
Dee Park is one of the founders of Moore TEA Citizens. She lives in Pinehurst, N.C. and is the wife of Bro Park, mother of seven boys (blended family) and seventeen grandchildren. She’s lived everywhere, it seems, and her professional life included being a teacher, then a teacher of teachers (Psychology and Education) at the University of Vermont and Norwich University. She and Bro owned a retail kitchenware store in NH for seventeen years, and sold in 2002. Driving to Pinehurst for a visit Dee and Bro fell in love with Pinehurst and moved here within three months. That was 2005. Since then Dee’s been more and more involved with Republican groups in Moore County (manages websites for Men’s Club and County). She’s also active in Brownson Presbyterian Church (Southern Pines), where she is Moderator for Presbyterian Women and sings in the choir. Golf, croquet, bridge, book club and socializing have taken a back seat to serving as Moore TEA Citizens’ Chair. Family visits here and around the country are still #1 when there’s time!