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Understanding Tea Party fervor

Brittney M. Walker | 10/20/2010, 5 p.m.

Since President Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009, an interesting faction of political rioters called the Tea Party ("tea" standing for taxed enough already) began making a ruckus.

Some would call this group another conservative movement attempting to break down Obama's policies, and others would say the group has the right idea. However, the Tea Party has also been labeled racist lobbyists, due to some of the group's outspoken representatives who spew nasty rhetoric.

In response, the Tea Party has attempted to do some damage control and denounce racism. But many are not convinced.

What is the Tea Party? The group seems to have spontaneously appeared in politics, and bum rushed the nation before people had the chance to catch up to their ideals. According to TeaParty.org, the group's core values include the belief that immigration is bad; English should be a key language requirement; a stronger military is essential; smaller government and fewer personal and business taxes; bail-out and stimulus plans are illegal; average citizens should have access to political offices; and the national budget needs to be balanced.

The name of the group was taken from the Boston Tea Party of 1773. The party began to emerge in April of 2009, when Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition editor, Rick Santelli told the public how he really felt about the direction of the country over national and international airwaves. Targeting the current administration's methods of addressing the mortgage crisis, Santelli proclaimed that, "the government is promoting bad behavior." Then he added, "It's time for another Tea Party." And the rest is history.

Members and supporters staged anti-tax protests across the country, and since its initial wave of rallies, the group has attracted thousands of conservatives and fed-up Democrats. Sarah Palin has been a popular face of the party for some time, speaking at various rallies across the country, gaining the support of mostly White "well-to-do" Republicans.

Many political analysts claim Partiers tend to be more conservative than your typical Republican. However the party promised to purge the conservative front of leaders it deems too liberal.

While an overwhelming number of Americans are dissatisfied with the (a July Gallup poll found that 76 percent of American are dissatisfied with the direction of the country) way things are going in the country today, leaders of the movement are uniting "angry" conservatives (and others who are just unhappy) to block the Democratic agenda on the economy, environment and health care.

Speaking of Obama, Tea Party ralliers tend to be quite unhappy with the president, and their grief is certainly apparent in their signs and banners (take a look at our collage of photos of Tea Party protesters).

Despite what appears to be a peaceful protest of anti-Obama American citizens, a few vocal members have left a bad taste in the mouths of liberals, who claim the party is racist.

This year, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has been an adamant advocate against the Party's seemingly racist elements, despite the civil right organization's support for Tea Party members.