To the extent that it is run by anyone, the Tea Party movement is--like all great social movements--largely run by women.
Many of the movement’s most important political figures, like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, are women. Many of its important writers, bloggers, and commentators--like S.E. Cupp, Dana Loesch, Kathleen McKinley, and Michelle Moore--are women. And you are more likely than not going to see a woman like Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots, Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express, or FreedomWorks’s Tabitha Hale out front leading rallies, organizing activists, and driving the point home that the American people are fed up with the government in Washington. [See who contributes to Bachmann.]
In point of fact, the number of women holding visible, important, leading roles in the Tea Party movement are too numerous to list here or anywhere. But they are all part of an important social movement, one that filmmakers David Bossie and Stephen K. Bannon examine closely in their sure-to-be-controversial documentary Fire From the Heartland: The Awakening of the Conservative Woman.
Drawing a line from the pioneer women who settled the frontier straight to the modern era, Bossie and Bannon respectfully--one hesitates to use any of the warm words like “lovingly” here--show how they and their contemporaries are changing America, by working to restore that which has been lost and preserve what is still best about America, particularly its grounding in the idea of liberty.
Alexis de Tocqueville, says columnist Ann Coulter in the film, “always noticed how strong America’s women are.” Mobilized, as they are in the Tea Party, they have become a potent force.
For students of history, this is not new. Women have typically been at the forefront of the social movements like the push toward prohibition that truly changed America. But they have not, as the film ably documents, always marched in lockstep with what would today be identified as “the progressives”--which may be why the dominant political and media class is so angry, so threatened by their achievements.
These women, they would surely tell you, don’t need the paternalistic help of a compassionate government in order to achieve their goals. They just need it to get out of their way. This may be why some people, especially the left-liberals whose politics are grounded in the idea of group rights, are so threatened by them and so glibly describe it as being extreme, out-of-step, even dangerous.
Extreme compared to whom? Out-of-step with what? Dangerous how? To the nation, or to the left-liberal political, economic, and cultural values that have dominated this country since the 1960s? If the Tea Party succeeds the liberals so well represented by President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will lose political power. Perhaps even for a generation or two. The stakes are that high.
Fire From the Heartland is an important film, deserving of a wide audience. Even if you do not agree with its conclusions it will make you think. And that is worth the price of a ticket any day.