Friday, March 13, 2009

Why modern tea parties FAIL

Recently, people who disagree with the stimulus package that's been proposed to get our country out of this recession have organized what they call "Tea Parties," named after the Boston Tea Party. It's great when people get involved in political matters. But the association with the Boston Tea Party fails on several levels.
First, the Boston Tea Party was an act of civil disobedience that required a great deal of courage. Had the men that participated in it gotten caught, they would've been punished. The modern tea parties require no real courage, just a willingness to get together for a cause.
Second, the Boston Tea Party was performed by men that were very unpatriotic. Remember, this was before the US government was organized. These men were unpatriotic to their government--which was the British Empire. I hardly think the participants in the modern tea parties would want to be seen as unpatriotic...but they give that impression by calling their gatherings tea parties.
Third, and most importantly, the purpose of the Boston Tea Party was to protest taxation without representation. There is a single area on the continental US that has a right to protest taxation without representation. That's Washington DC. There's no doubt that the DC representatives would vote for the stimulus, not against it. Everyone else is represented. The purpose of these modern tea parties is to protest decisions made by politicians that already represent the people--the people, after all, voted for them just a few months ago.
It's great that people are getting together for a political cause. But to call these tea parties, and to compare them to the original Boston Tea Party?


Anonymous said...

True. Maybe people could be more creative and call it a porker party. Serve pork rinds on the state house steps or throw them. Ha. People could dress up as their favorite pork fat add-on such as a giant condom, etc. I will protest by having my small business show a loss this year and I when I sip my tea on April 15th, it will not be my little pinky finger that I am holding up!!

Cougarg said...

Have you seen the John Adams miniseries? Only the first episode deals with the Boston Tea Party, but I thought it was pretty amazing. I think it is great because it shows that our highly revered founding fathers were people, not demigods. We have a way of deifying our heroes, which in some ways, limits our own chances at greatness. The founding fathers had their own petty jealousies, vain ambitions, and moments of self doubt. But they still achieved great things.

And while you are correct about the meaning and motivation of the Boston Tea Party, its more about perception than reality in calling their gatherings tea parties. Americans don't look at the BTP as unpatriotic. If they do remember that it took place before the Revolution, then the perception is that it was proto-patriotic.

And I don't know if Democrats in the state of Utah feel like they are particularly well represented. While elected officials should listen to their constituents, regardless of party, I see more politicians than statesmen. Just because people voted, doesn't mean that who they voted for won.

Tim said...

Some good points.
I always find it funny when someone quotes a founder and says "see, this is what the founders intended." The founders had very different opinions on how to run stuff. That's why they formed two political parties right off, and why those two parties literally hated each other.
I'll have to watch the miniseries.