Craig Crawford’s "Second Look" at the Tea Party movement ("Notable and Quotable," Apr 8) provides an important glimpse into the true beauty of this formerly-fringe movement. Crawford states that Tea Partiers are not "loonies" after all, and concludes that we will see what influence they exert come November.
Indeed, Tea Parties have already proven influential. The purpose of this movement is not to replace "mainstream" politics, as Crawford implies, but rather to apply pressure at the margins. Massachusetts’s midterm elections provide one shining example of what results come from nudging politics away from reliance on Big Government, where individuals resisted the "big government…march" in a way unprecedented for Mass voters.
Crawford notes that "our government is most definitely leaning towards collectivism." Fringe politics remind us that all Americans play a part in all politics. Tea Parties in particular represent the idea that even if government seems collective, a large number of Americans most definitely resist collectivism. Americans who resist big government are just as much constituents as are the collectivist types.
America was founded by a series of "fringe loonies," individualists who resisted the collectivist march — first on religion, then on imperial power. Crawford is right to support these fringe politicians, just as the Tea Partiers are right to employ that same scrappy spirit implicit in the very veins of this country against the most recent collectivist violations against the individualist will that makes America great.