Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tea Party: A Brewing Movement

On a cold night in December 1773, some three years after passage of the Tea Act by the British Parliament, colonists were fed up with the British crown’s haughty disregard of their rights as Englishmen, and they dumped 342 chests of the iconic British beverage into Boston Harbor, becoming icons themselves. The protesters (estimates range from as few as 30 to as many as 130) refused finally to be placated by repeated promises of change and reform and, rather than wait for legislative response, they exercised the Lockean right of “self-defense” and boldly resisted the alienation of their God-given liberty. Modern Americans know something of that level of frustration. It’s been just over a year since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and the Democratic Party assumed majority control of both houses of Congress. In that short time, there has emerged a vociferous band within the electorate who, like their tea-tossing forebears, feel they have been precluded from participating in the direction the ship of state will sail, and they have decided to protest the insupportable behavior of a government that habitually oversteps its constitutional boundaries. Fed up and fired up, they have chosen to exercise their constitutional prerogative of peaceful assembly, hence the Tea Party Movement. The disparate coterie of groups confederated, loosely, under a giant “Tea Party” umbrella, and they attracted devotees by the thousands. Scores of frustrated conservatives were drawn to the movement’s assimilation of the patois of 18th-century patriotism. They braved rain and rebuke and gathered in parking lots and municipal auditoriums to listen to speakers selected from the deepening pool of Tea Party celebrities zealously frothing the tea-tainted waters of more

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