This city in upstate New York is not a hotbed of conservative politics. It is an academic community with a strong union base. It elects liberals, such as Rep. Louise Slaughter, to Congress.
That said, the is strong here. Starting in early 2009 and continuing to the present, rallies are boosting interest.
I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. I do not hurry to read every conservative blogger each morning. I am well-educated in civics and how our government operates and how it was supposed to operate. I am nominally a Republican, but I'm from the Sarah Palin portion of the party. The movement is not just about me and my beliefs -- it has room for me and my beliefs. No other political movement allows that diversity.
It started for me in the wind and cold on March 11, 2009. Forty Americans gathered for the first Tea Party event held in Rochester. It was among the first in the nation, as the Tea Party movement was about to explode onto the American political scene. We were there because N.Y. Gov. was speaking at the convention center a block away.
I found myself at a political rally for the first time in 30 years. As a college student in the late 1970s, I had grown disenchanted with the people I saw running the show. Politicians had little commitment to principles. For three decades I've watched, and little has changed in Washington or Albany. Then, like a brushfire that becomes a firestorm, the Tea Party movement has come along. Other people feel the same way that I did. We have a voice.
Read it all to get a better idea of where the TEA Party folks are coming from and what they are concerned about.-SP