Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tea Party in America, No Thanks!

The Tea Party movement is under way. People send their elected officials bags of tea. Then they meet together on April 15th to ... protest? Where has this country come to? They obviously don't understand what the purpose of the Boston Tea Party was. And more than likely they don't understand that they are part of the very problem they are protesting.

Let's start with the Boston Tea Party. It was a direct result of the taxes that Parliament imposed in the 1760s and 1770s on the colonists. British law allowed that people could only be taxed by representatives they elected. Since the colonists didn't elect Parliament, they felt they should not be subject to Parliament's taxes. Hence, no taxation without representation.

Last time I checked, everyone of the elected officials in America (except a few appointed Senators right now) was elected - I know that is redundant. So, we may not like the representation we have, but that is who was elected (unless you still cling to the idea that Bush stole the Florida election). All of our taxes have been levied by our elected representatives. How did they do this? They bought us off with roads, bridges, health care, and earthworm museums.

OK, but the Boston Tea Party was also a symbolic protest. Actually, no. It was a rather active protest. All of the symbolic protest had been going on in Fanueil Hall for months. Thousands of people met and discussed what needed to happen. They even stationed a group at the harbor to prevent the ships from unloading the tea. However, this is not what is remembered in America. What is remembered is the direct action that only a small percentage of the protestors took. About 100 men boarded the ships and dumped the tea in the harbor. In other words, they destroyed the private property of the East India Company. It was illegal. And it made a statement.

Now, lest anyone accuse me of being unpatriotic, let me state that I fully support the actions they took. My point is that the current "Tea Parties" are nothing more than a toned down version of Fanueil Hall. Actually, probably more like a mini rock concert where people can go and assuage their anger, then come back to their normal lives. Not only that, they are protesting the massive spending that our government is engaged in. What made the Boston Tea Party effective, is there was a direct loss of revenue to the government and corporation that had colluded to tax the colonists. With the present day Tea Parties, all we are doing is giving our elected representatives a free cup of Earl Grey.

If you don't like the spending of the government, the only way to change it is to "vote the bums out." So, let me ask some rhetorical questions of the protestors:

Do you write to your congressman and representative regularly (and I don't mean copying and pasting some form letter for the cause du jour)?

Did you vote for your current representatives (i.e. or are you always complaining about the ones from Massachusetts and California)?

Do you support the abolishment of the Social Security and Medicare system (if you want to cut spending, you might as well start with the big boys)?

Do you support cutting Foodstamps, subsidized housing, unemployment payments, and the EITC?

Can you live without the federal funds for the Goat Herder's Museum in Butte, MT?

Are you prepared for the initial changes in unemployment and market panic that would result if the government decided to stop spending so much money tomorrow?

Do you suck at the teat of the federal government?

Let's be honest. A lot of the spending the federal government does provides a blanket and pacifier to Americans who for the last 60 years have said they don't want to be responsible for themselves. They care about security and comfort more than liberty and freedom. Is it any wonder that only half of Americans favor capitalism over socialism? My guess is they don't even know what the difference between the two is anymore.

So to all of you who are protesting on April 15th, go ahead and do so. I wish you (and all protestors) inclement weather to help sort out those who actually believe in your cause. As for me, I think I will visit the gun store (exercise my constitutional rights), do some landscaping (improve the property which I own), and do some work on some business ideas my wife and I have (our retirement). Oh and did I mention, all of these activities will involve spending private capital to help boost our economy. When your protesting, at least by an extra latte so the economy doesn't suffer.

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