Tea Party Later, Archive Now!

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Following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, the Tea Party Patriots formed and quickly gained political clout on the far-right side. The Tea Party’s vision is for a “Nation where personal freedom is cherished and where all Americans are treated equally, assuring our ability to pursue the American Dream.” They generally hold oppressively conservative views on social issues, and advocate free market economics/limited government involvement. While the Tea Party has held considerable influence over the Republican Party for the last several years, it is currently waning as the establishment has been swallowing what is left of the Tea Party in the latest primaries. In fact, some political experts predict the continued demise and eventual dissolution of the Tea Party within the next five years. 

The site itself that I’m focusing on, www.teapartypatriots.org, is home to a large part of the party’s faction. On the site, you can navigate to read about a variety of issues important to Tea Party members, familiarize yourself with their mission, explore bills and legislation and track voting by congressman/senator and even gain access to forums. If political experts are correct in their negative projections of the direction of the Tea Party (Let’s hope they are), then the political, social and cultural commentary that litter the site will go with it. In addition to providing official information on Tea Party values and stances, the site also provides greater access to the perspectives of every day Americans who are a part of the party. Reading their comments in forums, which allow for greater transparency and honesty since commenting can be anonymous, will provide for what can be argued to be more lucid, accurate accounts of Tea Party members. It is critical to archive its content so that this movements position and influence in history is remembered, especially for how it swung the GOP even further to the right. 

As a separate website from the actual, official Tea Party webpage, this site which mobilizes and informs supporters will cease to exist if archiving efforts aren’t taken to preserve both pages to remember the polarizing, radical and mostly backward ideals that these people represent. Years from now, we can show future generations the archaic, discriminatory views still held in the 2st century. Of course, some challenges that might confront Library of Congress archivers would be that the owners of the site might not the content preserved based on past government (IRS ahem) interactions with the Tea Party. The site also incorporates a lot of social media content, and links to outside forums, which might provide technological obstacles to crawling the site, which requires greater, more comprehensive identification measures. 

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