Note: Thanks to the flu, I missed the first After Party. Thanks to Ben Evans for reading this for me.
You probably realize that I have to be really sick to miss a party. Actually, I don’t feel so bad right now, but I don’t want to spread this to the most important people in America. And for the next 12 months, at least, that’s you: the most important people in America.
First, you’re here. You answered the call to carry the Tea Party movement beyond just rallies and angry letters. You’re ready to take our bedrock beliefs and spread them. That’s why you get a button. (And I don’t.)
Second, you’re pioneers. Those buttons show the world you were here, at the first After Party. You didn’t wait until the 3rd one, after all the great press. You didn’t put your toe in the water or wait to see if the “cool people” would jump in first. No. Like the people who showed up at the Arch on February 27, 2009, you recognized the challenge history’s presented, and you came out to attack it.
Third, you’re visionary. You recognize that we must extend our reach–beyond the hard core Tea Party crowd. We need to awaken the Unknowing Believers. And awakening the unknowing believers is the Second most important thing in the world right now.
The unknowning believers are the people who believe what we believe–that governments are created by, and derive their just powers from, the consent of the governed. They believe that when a government grows beyond its mandate, it’s our job to rein it in. And they believe that fourteen trillion dollars of debt is enough for the Millennials to handle.
For a variety of reasons, though, they don’t recognize that we believe what they believe. In some cases, that’s because they don’t realize that government has crossed the line and outgrown its mandate. Or, they do recognize that government’s out of control, but they’re afraid of what would happen to them personally if we were to shrink it back to its proper borders. The government has taught people to be dependent. Weening people off that dependency won’t be easy. Yelling at the people who are afraid of smaller government won’t help. And we’ll never get the votes to rein in government if we don’t first win over most of the Unknowing Believers.
Finally, you’re leaders. You have stepped up to take on the most daunting challenge this Tea Party has faced: the challenge of turning a media phenomenon into a human phenomenon. And this is most important thing: rebuilding the social fabric of the United States.
Why has Facebook attracted 700 million people? Because we need human connections. Human beings have four biological drives that motivate everything we do. According to Drs. Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria of Harvard Business School, who’ve applied to the latest findings of neuroscience and behavioral economics to organizational acheivement, those drives are: * The drive to Acquire and Achieve * The drive to Defend and Protect * The drive to Bond * The drive to Comprehend and Create
Now think about those drives. They’re wired into our brains. They’re also built into our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
To acquire, achieve, comprehend, and create are all the ways we pursue happiness.
To defend and protect our lives and property–well, there’s the right to life and the Second Amendment.
To bond is embodied in our right to peaceably assemble, freedom of association. All of these drives require liberty.
There’s a whole book to be written about the moral implications of denying us our basic biological drives, but that’s not what this is about.
This is about awakening the Unknowing Believers by expanding our social networks and arming those social networks with the tools needed to live without the government’s extra-Constitutional powers.
Maybe that’s not as sexy as storming the Bastille with torches and pitchforks. But it might be even more effective.
Who remembers the Whole Foods BUYcott we held on September 1, 2009?
More than one thousand people shopped at Whole Foods in Town and Country that evening, most for the first time. Some came from as far away as the suburbs of Chicago. They spent over $50,000, and set a new one-day sales record for that particular Whole Foods store.
And many of those people had never been to Tea Party before and never came to one after.
I was collecting receipts that night, and I had the chance to talk to a lot of them. Some knew they agreed with us from the beginning, but rallies are not their thing.
Others thought we were “a bunch of kooks” until they heard about the BUYcott. The creativity and the willingess to support with a company that seemed so contrary to the Tea Party opened their eyes. They realized that we are really about liberty and good government.
This second group of BUYCotters–they are the Unknowing Believers. They are the secret to our landslide in 2012. They hold the key to preventing Obama from appointing one more Supreme Court justice. They are the difference between victory and defeat.
And they are begging someone to ask them out on a date.
Tonight, we begin that courtship.
Each month, we’’ll take on a new mission to be completed by the next month’s meeting. Each mission builds upon the last. The missions are not explicitly political, though some are what I would call “civic” in nature.
The first mission seems as simple as falling off a log. But appearances can be deceiving. And because each mission builds on the last, getting this first one right is critical to the success of the program.
Step One: Name five people you want to form your network.
But be warned. If these people are already hardcore tea partiers, you’re not really expanding the base. If they’re hardcore anit-tea party progressives, you’re probably not going to win them over.
Also, to be effective, your network needs to do things–some just for fun, others for a very important purpose. Either way, you’ll want a network of people you enjoy doing things with, talking, etc.
When we meet in October, you mission is simply to show a card with five first names or initials. You don’t have to tell anyone who they are. We’re not going to ask you to drag them to one of these meetings, but we think three of them will want to come before the 12 months are up.
If you can’t get to five? Okay. Go with four or three. Just make sure they’re people who will grow with you. People who will benefit from being part of your network and who will possibly benefit the movement and the nation down the road.
Oh, there’s one more thing: stay after the formal meetings for the social meeting. I’ve said many times that there’s no point in liberty if we don’t enjoy it. That’s why we designed this After Party to be at least 1 part fun for 1 part work. (Although I like the 6 parts gin to 1 part Vermouth mixture even better.)
When the formal meeting ends, please hang around and talk. This group–the folks sporting The After Party 1 badges–should be the model network. This is your team–the people you rely on in a pinch.
This is also your chance to thank the people of the Crowne Plaza Hotel who’ve graciously invited us here tonight. We believe in spreading the wealth around–but only when it’s OUR wealth to spread around as we see fit.
Also, please thank Boaz Steiner for his help in securing this location for tonight’s event. And thank Michelle Moore for leading the charge on this new phase of the Tea Party in St. Louis.
When I posted a blog about standing on the steps of the Arch with a sign, I had no idea if anyone would join me. Quickly, several great folks offered to help, to co-host, to speak.
Then, over a thousand showed to up on a cold Friday in February.
The lesson I learned that day is one I hope you’ll carry with you: If you stick your neck out for the right reasons, others will carry you forward.
Yes, it’s scary to realize that you might look like a fool in public. Yes, it’s scary to ask someone out on a date. Yes, it’s intimidating to put yourself out there.
But everyone in this room has already taken the first step. We might as well go all the way and win this thing.
Finally, we are about to begin awakening the Unknowing Believers by inviting them into our networks. Until now, so much of our language has been fairly aggressive. While I don’t intend to relent on any front, I do think there’ more appropriate language for The After Party. And it’s love. This passage–overused at weddings and underused everywhere else–seems the perfect message as we begin building our networks:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Oh, one more thing. I’ve recieved inquiries from tea party goups in Florida, Arizona, Illinois, and New York about implementing the After Party concept there. This is going national. And it will be big, if you make it big.
Once again, the eyes of the Tea Party movement are on St. Louis. You’ve never failed to shine. So, congratulations, in advance, for changing the world.