Instead, he said, the Tea Party these days is more focused on education, especially when it comes to the U.S. Constitution.
“We’re not different from most Tea Parties throughout the nation,” Morton said. “We educate and inform. Now sure we’ll have a rally every now and then, to get enthusiastic and get motivated about an issue. But we for the most part are holding educational events, and that’s our strategy.”
Morton said that when the Tea Party was first formed there were by the end of the year no more than 100 members. Fast forward three years later, and the number of the local Tea Party members has jumped to 800.
“I think it’s effective in how it’s paid off, because more and more people are starting to say ‘I didn’t know that’s the way you work,’” Morton said. “So I think that our strategy of education is proof that we’re not what you call a ‘radical’ group.”
Morton said their initial policies of reducing the “tax and spend” style government and calling for fiscal responsibility have taken a back seat compared to the Constitutional issues of the day.
“There was a time when we were focused on ‘taxed enough already,’ when we were focused on the stimulus and those kind of things,” he said. “But more and more we’ve focused on the Constitution. It’s that umbrella that provides us with guidance to govern.”
Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act had the group buzzing, Morton said.
“We were emailing each other about it,” he said. “People were saying ‘I can’t believe he used the necessary and proper clause as a rationale for this’ and ‘Here’s what necessary and proper does.’”
“So I think our education on the Constitution is the biggest way we’ve changed,” Morton said.
The organization holds regular meetings but will have its next major event on July 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. as they hold a debate for the state Senate District 52 candidates. For more information about upcoming events or the Rome Tea Party, visit their website at rometeaparty.org.