George Lang Was Always a Leader in the Tea Party: When education and book exchanges were important

It is odd, and obviously full of politics to be a part of discussions defending George Lang’s Tea Party support during the height of the movement and for myself to be associated with the establishment because of it. But then again, so be it. As I have been saying a lot this year with President Trump going into his fourth year in office, and a much different, and better world as a result especially on the investment side, at some point those on the outside get on the inside and what they do with that opportunity will define future history. To get feedback from old friends from those times suggesting that I was never a Tea Party supporter is laughable, as I was clearly one of the leaders of the movement, and did so at a great cost to myself, which I’d do again over and over. But for me there always needs to be an end to a project, and the Tea Party movement was a project needing a resolution. And George Lang along with his wife Debbie were of the same mind. They enjoyed going to the meetings and talking to people and learning things about how our government should work. But at some point you have to evolve past the rock chucking phase, and become part of the management team that takes over, and does things right.

As much as people attempted to demonize the Tea Party movement it was never a bunch of crazy radicals and far right ideologues. Mostly they were older people who knew something was wrong and they wanted to educate themselves to learn what it was. The Tea Party in the pre-Trump days had a few rallies here and there to show they were a force to be reckoned with, and they tipped the scales in some elections toward a more Republican party more representative of their values, but what I enjoyed about it was that it was more intellectual than anything, as book sharing and discussions were the centerpiece of the movement. Books like the Thousand Year Leap, Atlas Shrugged, Common Sense and even reading the Constitution and understanding it were the focus of activity that was largely leaderless. The Tea Party didn’t need a leader, because it was really books that was guiding everyone’s interest and at Tea Party events it was a chance to get together with other like minded people and to talk about these things.

That was actually how I met George Lang and his wife, we liked the same books and enjoyed getting away from the rigors of the world to talk about smart stuff at Tea Party meetings. There was always the elements of the Tea Party meetings that had people very concerned about some big brother control of their lives who protested back then the smart meters that were being put on everyone’s homes to regulate their use of power, and those people have evolved into protestors of 5G wireless service. I was never one of those types so much, I figure the Second Amendment trumps over concerns of little bureaucrats trying to impose on my family how much laundry we can do in a day, so I don’t worry about those things much. And as to 5G, I never really got involved in that debate because I like technology. Sure all these communication waves are flying around and through our bodies at all kinds of rates blasting our atoms with constant intruders, but I expect most human beings will evolve to match the challenges of technology. And to me technology means business, and business means economic prosperity for regional need. Again, with the Second Amendment, I’m not too worried about some evesdropper using 5G to spy on me. If I catch them, I’ll deal with them in my own way. But I like the technology options that come with the changing world.

After Trump was elected there wasn’t much in the Tea Party left for people like George and me. It was actually during the Republican primaries where people were pretty upset with me for supporting Donald Trump over Ted Cruz and other Tea Party picks for president that I lost touch with all those old friends. It was a clear situation where we had all become bitter rivals during 2016 and the Tea Party pretty much dissolved in disagreement over who anybody should support for president. I have been to a few Tea Party meetings since Trump was elected, and clearly once Trump won, people united on the issue, but the educational effort wasn’t the same. The Tea Party had fallen into a status of victimhood, of below the line behavior that isn’t attractive to me, and really couldn’t justify my time any longer. The same thing looks to have happened with George Lang and many other politicians like him who used to come as long as the meetings were places where they could justify the time. But just to sit around complaining about things wasn’t why the Tea Party was good, so the effort fell apart once a lot of the things that we had wanted to see was now happening in the White House, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and an optimistic look toward the future.

However for some in the Tea Party, it was their chance to point at every boogieman on the horizon and to isolate themselves from a solution, and largely that is what it has become to my eyes, which of course happens everywhere that leadership is absent. George Lang was a member of leadership within the Tea Party movement and once he found other things to put his mind on, and many others like him across the country, the movement weakened and dissolved into what it is today. I view it as something nice that I was a part of for a while, but now its time to do all the things we talked about, and that’s what’s going on. George is part of that puzzle along with other great people who came out of the West Chester Tea Party like Mark Welch, Ann Becker and T.C. Rogers who as a commissioner for Butler County came to most every meeting from 2010 until 2015. The meetings changed from book exchanges to complaint sessions and at that point the political leaders stopped going to the meetings and now there are clear divisions which is normal in any organization that loses its focus. In the beginning, the Tea Party was about education, not activism. Now it’s about activism which is much less conducive to people’s time, especially when they are part of the solution as elected officials. People like George Lang, and myself included, are turning our eyes to fixing the problems we had been concerned about, while what’s left of the Tea Party is still looking for that rally cry to continue with. Some people find comfort in spending time with people of like mind, so the Tea Party gives them something to rally behind, even though the pendulum has swung to our side and management is now up to us. But to say that we were never Tea Party supporters, George Lang and I, is like saying there was never a sun in the sky or clouds during a rainstorm. Its just not a proper statement. It might be a wish, but its certainly not a fact. What has changed is that some coming out of the Tea Party want to actually do something about everything we learned while in it, and now is the time for that action. Complaining about everything was never what the Tea Party was, but it is what it has evolved in to.

Rich Hoffman