Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler was one of the leaders of the Tea Party movement back in 2009. At that time, Americans were angry about the reckless spending of the federal government, and they took to the streets in state capitals around the country to protest corruption and tyranny.
The nationwide movement that those protests founded would change the political landscape in Washington, governors' mansions, and state legislatures from coast to coast.
The re-open movement isn't identical to that political revolution, but it shares some similarities, as Mark explained in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:
A decade ago, Mark Meckler was leading one of the nation’s first major Tea Party rallies outside the Capitol in Sacramento. He’s not living here anymore — he left for Texas because of the “hostility” he felt as a conservative in California — but sees similarities in a “Reopen California” rally set for Friday near the seat of state government.
“It’s almost identical,” Meckler told The Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast. “And that’s why I ended up getting involved."
Later in the interview, Mark explained how both the Tea Party and re-open movements grew from organic grassroots organizing with only minimal resources offered from larger groups or organizations.
Meckler said his organization offers groups “a platform, but we’re not offering them any money. We’re not paying for permits, we’re not providing them anything other than, here’s a website where you can list your events and talk to other people.”
Meckler said that in the early chaotic days of the Tea Party in 2009, “nobody had any idea what they were doing, including me. Nobody was telling us what to do. Nobody was giving us money. We were just frustrated and pissed off and felt like the elites were disconnected from us.”
At that April 15, 2009, tax day Tea Party rally in Sacramento, Meckler asked the crowd that packed the west lawn of the Capitol, “Are you guys tools of the Republican Party?”
The crowd’s response: Boooooo!
The re-open movement also faces challenges similar to the Tea Party movement. Mark explained how establishment Republicans tried to co-opt the energy of the Tea Party, which ultimately "got eaten by the swamp in Washington, D.C."
The media also tries to de-legitimize re-open rallies by focusing on fringe elements.
Just as some Tea Partiers compared then-President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and toted weapons to protests, some in the new generation of conservative protesters refer to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as “Whitler” for her stay-at-home order. Some demonstrators were brandishing long guns at an anti-shutdown rally in Madison, Wis.
Mindful of how such imagery was used to portray the Tea Party as a movement of the unhinged, Meckler said, “I’m always concerned about stuff like this.
“Any time you get a mass movement, at the fringes there are going to be crazy people, or they’re going to be people who are just creating bad imagery, bad narrative,” he said. “And so I do worry about that. I definitely worried about it with the Tea Party movement.”
But Mark isn't backing down. He's calling on China to pay the price for unleashing the Wuhan Virus on the world, and he believes we must seriously re-evaluate our trade relationships with China.
“When I say that there needs to be a cost for that,” Meckler said, he means that “the world needs to re-evaluate its trading and other relationships with the Chinese Communist Party. It’s not all just getting cheaper goods and everything’s gonna be OK. There is a real price to pay here.”
Want to get involved in the re-open movement in your state? Click the red button below to find our which groups are organizing in your local area.