I don’t know about my fellow contributors here on Orlando Political Press, but I celebrated the win Tuesday night by sleeping in Wednesday morning. The neighborhood was quiet, the sheets were cool, and the bed was very comfortable. I allowed the events of the past year to truly sink in. And then the challenges that face us started to encroach on my thoughts.
First in Florida, where Republicans have a two thirds majority in the legislature, hold every cabinet post, and occupy the governor’s office. There will be no excuses and no one to blame if they can’t get along and can’t get it right. Florida is “open for business” but the unfortunate truth is most businesses fail in the first two years and that’s just as long as our state government has to show us they have the answers.
The banner that was resting high atop the downtown skyline at the tea party victory rally read in part, “Mission Accomplished”. And so it was for Central Florida’s 8th and 24th Congressional Districts. The freshman incumbents were sent home in resounding defeats. We can all feel better about who is representing us in Congress in the next term, and we have shown that we can overcome the backroom dealings of those who would try to steal an idea.
No doubt in the coming days Alan Grayson and Peg Dunmire will look at their bank accounts and wonder if it was all worth it. On the other hand that banner keeps nagging at my subconscious. Just like another infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner, I wonder if the mission, now complete, will give way to something better or worse. What is the new mission? And more importantly, is there a new mission.
Without a focus for anxiety will we end up like the Obamania bunch that didn’t show up on Tuesday? Will a million people travel to Washington D.C. or their respective state houses or city halls on January 3, 2011 to let their legislators know we are watching still? The electrification of a nation that began at Lexington and Concord was followed by agonizing, soul searching periods of realization of the daunting task ahead.
In the past month I have seen the signs of a new wave of tea party groups emerge. The media, even the left leaning outlets, recognize that the movement is not going away. Those that were there at the beginning have gained the momentum. Those with similar feelings are emerging from the shadows and standing in the sunlight, embracing the feeling they get when they stand up.
Over the next few months, I’ll be seeking out the faces of this new wave and sharing what they see as the future of the movement and of the nation. I’ll be adding their voices to those that were on the edge of the wedge to see where their energies are being spent. Like any living organism, the tea party movement will have growing pains. Where it goes from here may provide a glimpse of the nation’s future. It is a future that is still perilously close to the edge and one that begs our continued resolve.
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