"My husband and I attended the Tax Day Tea Party rally in Denver last year. At first we were petrified. Carrying signs just felt so weird. That was what the hippies did during the Vietnam War; it wasn’t part of my world. But the people there were polite, nice and concerned. Less than a week later, we started our own group. It frustrates me that so many people think the Tea Party movement is anti-Obama. It’s not; it’s anti–big government. Our group is very careful about the signage. One gal is very much against abortion and brings signs about that. We’ve explained to her that we don’t deal with social issues. She’s argued that it’s her First Amendment right, and that’s true. So we kind of try to hide her signs, standing in front of her.
"During the opening ceremony of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, things started off with a prayer—not a simple thank-you but very extensive, with people raising their hands and waving their arms. I got up and left. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but it paints the entire group as a very religious movement. And that’s not what our group is like in Colorado.
"I was a guest speaker on how to organize your own Tea Party group (I used to work as a corporate trainer). I’ve probably spawned 30 across the country. Being part of the movement has given me a strong sense of empowerment. I’d always looked at government officials as untouchable. Now candidates call and ask me to lunch, courting the Tea Party movement for our support and endorsement. That’s huge."
Originally published in the July/August 2010 issue of More.