The Tea Party, at first, seemed to emerge out of nowhere. Initially, it was just groups of people getting together to protest the stimulus package/bailout that came out of our government. They didn’t see themselves as one coherent movement, but rather as a series of protests against the excesses of the government.
The Tea Party has drawn its name from several sources, but primarily from the Boston Tea Party, which was a protest against taxation without representation. Tea has also been used to stand for Taxed Enough Already. The Tea Party’s basic stance is one of fiscal conservatism and responsibility, incorporated with a strong push for “limited government” and “free market.”
On the surface, this “Tea Party” seems like a good ol’ grassroots conservative movement, attempting to criticize both parties’ policies from a third viewpoint, which is attracting quite a lot of media attention and what seems to be a large amount of followers as well.
Protests include rhetoric comparing Obama to Hitler, saying that “McCarthy was right” (think the Red Scare), talking about violations of freedom. Protesters have said, among other things, that Obama is a Muslim, the Antichrist, communist, fascist, socialist, has no emotion, that he’s raising taxes like crazy (He’s actually cut taxes for roughly 95 percent of U.S. citizens, only those in the highest income bracket are being taxed more). Protesters complained about the appointing of czars. A sign read “WHAT’S A CZAR? R WE IN RUSSIA?” and one of the protesters stated, “We don’t know what their power is. Are they going to be given land?” Another sign read, “We don’t need no stinkin’ Czars”. A little background – “czars” have been in the U.S. government for decades and refer to high-level officials who oversee a particular policy – Ronald Reagan had a “drug czar,” to give one example.
However, the Tea Party has now grown to a movement which has formed an official corporation and related PAC (political action committee), and held its own convention with Sarah Palin being paid over $100,000 to be the featured speaker, and tickets costing over $500 per person to attend.
The Tea Party may have started out as a grassroots movement; whether it will continue to be one remains to be seen, as it lacks a consistent message beyond the basic anti-tax, anti-government, anti-Obama stance it has taken, and is in the process of merging (or re-merging) with the Republican Party.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the dire fiscal straits our country is in. I understand the desire and the need for fiscal conservatism and the frustration with the current state of our economy.
However, I am disturbed by the fact that people use this as a reason or excuse to stay ignorant. If you want to protest, protest something that actually matters! Protest something in which you actually know the details about, something that you can actually take a position on! If you are passionate enough about something to protest or demonstrate for or against it, then it is your responsibility to educate yourself about it!
It is absolutely our first amendment right to organize, protest and disagree with our government. But Obama is our duly elected President – we are not being taxed without representation, we are not having our constitutional rights violated, we do not have a communist/socialist/fascist as president, and czars are not becoming the new American aristocracy. Disagree with his spending bills, disagree with the health care plan, as long as you know what you are disagreeing with.
All I ask for is a political debate where everyone is informed, knowledgeable about the issues and above all, rational, logical and ethical. Ignorance should not be a right.