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Mad as Hell, But Don't Want to Join The Tea Party?

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The Tea Party is on a roll with its upset Senate primary victory in Delaware. If the rest of us don't start raising hell, the Tea Party will have us living it.

Are you mad as hell but don't want to join the Tea Party? Do you still want to get the change you voted for in 2008? That's most Americans, but the right wing is the only wing talking about its anger.

Public outrage is the most powerful force in the world if you know how to leverage it and turn it into power. That's why I wrote The Progressive's Guide To Raising Hell, published today by Chelsea Green, to show average Americans how their common anger can be turned into power using the force of public opinion online and offline.

Award-winning filmmaker Robert Greenwald made this short video about Raising Hell and its battle-proven, step-by-step tactics that artfully sums up the book's essence.

I have spent two decades fighting and winning campaigns against insurance companies, Big Oil, utilities, banks, and corrupt politicians. The tactics of turning anger into change are the same regardless of whether you are trying to win a Senate primary, pass a ballot measure or get an insurer to pay a claim.

Change is no simple matter in America politics, as Americans have recently learned so well.

Elections rarely produce the change they promise because too often ballot victories leave intact the ways power is exercised, and on whose behalf. The special interests that fund and curry favor with our legislators may rebalance their party allegiances, but not their self-interest.

Anger, not hope, is the fuel of political and economic change. As things grow worse and worse, public rage grows more intense--and so does the energy for making things better. And in 2010 in America, anger rules, but it needs to be vectored and focused if it is to succeed in fueling the type of change that the majority of Americans believe in.

If progressives walk away, rather than engage, the Tea Party and GOP will capture the popular anger and turn it against government, rather than focus it rightly back on the targets of the 2008 election: Wall Street, health insurers, polluters, the military industrial complex, and the politicians they buy. If we want progress, the kind that polls show 60 percent of Americans believe in, we need to do more than vote every two to four years or wait for Obama to learn the tactics of confrontation.

We need to make demands. We need to raise some hell. The alternative is giving up the reins of government to a flash mob that wants to do nothing but destroy it.

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Jamie Court is author of The Progressive's Guide To Raising Hell: How To Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws And Get The Change You Voted For (Chelsea Green) and President of Consumer Watchdog.