Trent Humphries, the leader of the Tucson Tea Party, released a statement today after enduring several weeks of false accusations and death threats by political opponents.
The Tucson Tea Party is planning a public protest on Satuday April 16, 2011.
We believe that enough time has passed that it is time to speak, about the tragedy that took place two weeks ago and what it means to us as a group.
In the first place we reiterate our comments that we gave on the day of the tragedy. This was a horrible, senseless act that rocked our community. While it highlighted evils that we couldn’t imagine, it also showed us what is good and right and decent with the people who live here. There were heroes, both named and unnamed, that continue to help us heal and focus on the good of humanity. Most of us weren’t that far removed from the victims, even those that we had counted as our political adversaries. The complete response that I have seen from our members has been one of love and compassion which is entirely consistent from the character of the Tucson Tea Party members that I know and have worked with.
Because of this, we are putting together an event which we will announce shortly that will give all of us an opportunity to speak about this terrible tragedy that affected an entire community. We will have a discussion of grief, love, healing, forgiveness, and personal responsibility. These topics were passed over by much of the media coverage in favor of moving to the political aspects. We will discuss the everyday factors that we can contemplate in our lives individually, rather than through boilerplate legislation. This still needs to happen for many people and we will do it right.
This brings us to the second part of the tragedy: the efforts of some to turn this horrific event and investigation into a political witch hunt. The Tucson shooter, by all accounts, acted irrationally and alone. However, the response by certain members of the media and political class was coordinated, pre-meditated, and certainly intended to do harm to people that they disagreed with politically, all the while knowing that there was no real connection.
The term, although rarely now used, is “calumny.” And it didn’t just start on the day of the shooting.
Because lies and intimidation couldn’t silence you, they now seek to ensnare you with a velvet rope of “civility.” The “tone and civility” argument is a wall that will grow ever higher as we try to scale it. No amount of grace, no level of penance, no measure of timidity can ever pay the price of a sin that we didn’t commit. We have been civil, we have shown restraint, we have gathered in large numbers to seek truth and earned the respect of the community for the measured manner that we did this.
But now, as we hold back, frozen by respect for the fallen and sympathy for those who remain, there are others who will work harder to use this senseless tragedy to destroy your efforts. They paint a narrative they know is false; they construct a history of fear and intimidation that never was. They do so because their very political lives depend upon it. They need us to slow, to doubt, to weaken, because they have no other argument or message that can sway America back to the torpor that allowed us to pile up debt, erode our freedoms, and ignore the responsibility owed to our children that accumulated over the span of our lifetimes.
So I ask that we stand, gather together not only because we can, but because we need to. I know there are some who are angry, I have been angry at times myself, but it is not the time for recrimination or revenge. We need to reach out our hand to those who are still unsure, those who have been beaten down, those who believed the road would be easy, and those who are only just now becoming aware of what we face as a nation.
And when you rise, they will rage. They will scream and sputter and threaten. I have seen all of that in the past two weeks, and can now attest to its ineffectiveness. In fact, having seen the absolute vilest face from some of our opponents, I can appreciate that most are not that way. Gabrielle Giffords certainly was not. Nor are our friends and members of our families who may not yet agree with us but love us anyway. As those who hate you become louder, the sensible people will be significantly easier to identify. They are the ones who matter.
We will be having a Tea Party in April. I vow to make sure that there is a place for everyone who tells me that they are coming. If a park is sufficient or if we need a stadium, the event will be accessible to everyone. For those who want to assist, we welcome you. Just contact us.
If you cannot meet with us, meet where you are with friends and neighbors. This is what those who defame us fear the most. They would rather we wage a battle of personalities, of countless personal attacks and defenses from names that really don’t matter. There is not a single person in the media or local government who is worth a distraction from our message. We will continue to win the battle of ideas and show the results at the ballot box. Nothing will stop good people armed with courage and persistence.
The Tucson Tea Party and it’s members can move forward with grace, dignity, courage and strength and exhibit to all of those around us that our efforts to vocalize disagreements and work towards common ground is something vitally important and something I hope never changes in the America we all believe in.
We hope to be in contact with you in the next few days to solidify our first gathering and the details of the Tea Party in April.
God bless and we hope to see you out,
Organizer, Tucson Tea Party