Monday, August 31, 2009

Give me back my Tea Party

We've been seeing and hearing a great deal about "tea parties"--gatherings of citizens who are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. With its typical lack of critical analysis, the mass media have omitted to point out that the self-described tea partiers are the antithesis of the Americans who took to the streets of Boston on the night of December 17, 1773.

Those who carried out that first Tea Party were not protesting against government, or even against taxation. They were agitating for democracy. They did not cry "No taxation!" but "No taxation without representation!" They stood for principle--representative government--not policy.

Those who are protesting now are not arguing for democracy. Indeed, they argue against the results of democracy. For these are the people who lost in 2008. Their complaint is not that they have been deprived of representative government, but that they are in the minority. They object not to a lack of freedom, but to the result of free choice. They are perfectly entitled to their anger and to protest, but they are not the true descendants of the patriots in Boston that winter night in 1773.

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