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Get Your Tea Bags Ready! It’s On!

Posted by AB on April 14, 2009

Tomorrow, “teabaggers” will gather across the nation to protest…tax cuts?  That’s not why they think they are protesting, of course.  They will tell you that they are protesting taxes that are too high, but how can that be?  President Obama kept a campaign promise to cut taxes on the middle class by signing The American Recovery and Reinforcement Act–$288 billion worth of tax benefits.   

Dissent is a pillar of our American democracy, and it is guaranteed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.  Peaceful gatherings of citizens in protest, on public property, have been a powerful form of free speech in the history of this country.  Protests bring together large or small groups of citizens to give individual voices more power, no matter the perceived importance of the issue. 

Tomorrow, April 15, is an important date for most Americans.  It’s “Tax Day”–the deadline for filing tax returns.  But now, for many consevative citizens, there is a new reason to mark the calendar:  “Tea Parties!”  These “tea parties” have been building since very early-on in President Obama’s first term in office.  For the most part, the “tea parties” have been very small, but with the endorsement of Fox News and other well-financed groups, the Tax Day version will be the biggest yet.

I certainly see nothing wrong with criticizing President Obama, as I did my fair share of criticizing President Bush, and will do the same when I disagree with President Obama.  There are some issues I do have with this movement, however.  These “tea parties” have not been, and will not be what these “teabaggers” portray.  The “tea parties” are portrayed as anti-tax protests, but that’s only the disguise for an opportunity to attack the President, for numerous reasons. 

              impeach.gif

The idea that these are anti-tax “tea parties” is baffling in and of itself.  The tea party participants seem to lack some of the facts.  First of all, President Obama has signed a stimulus package that included the largest tax-cut in American history.  There will be a tax increase–sort of.  The tax cuts passed during the Bush administration, which were not for most Americans, will expire in 2010.  Some might call it a tax increase, but in reality, the wealthiest Americans will return to the tax rates pre-Bush, when our economy was prosperous.      

Previous “tea parties” have included numerous far-right, anti-Obama groups.  From pro-gun activists to white supremacists, from anti-immigration activists to “birthers” (people who believe that President Obama was not born in the US), from anti-abortion activists to secessionists–they will all be there, and have been to prior events.  The anti-tax meme will be the facade, but beneath the surface is the ugly face of hate disdain (hate is such a strong word, but I am sure that there will be some of that, as well).

I can envision a looming disaster for the political right, conservatives, Republicans, Fox News, and others that have been supportive of the gatherings.  I do not think this is because everyone attending a “tea party” is some kind of anti-Obama kook like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, but there will be enough of them to taint all involved.  That’s too bad, because many good people are being misinformed to do the bidding of a few.  

http://taxdayteaparty.com/  (Revolution Brewing?  Really?) 

So, I say to all of the “teabaggers,” I am happy that you have the opportunity to protest, and I hope that the weather is beautiful nationwide, tomorrow.  You should be aware, however, that people are laughing at you, not with you.  Why?  Because this scheme is nothing like the “Boston Tea Party.”  That point in history occurred because the British  lowered the taxes on its tea, imported into the American colonies, providing it with an unfair market advantage over domestic teas.  The “Boston Tea Party” was not about taxes that were too high, but that’s okay, because neither is the current, less honorable version.  Those 116 patriots who were involved in the 1773 tea party knew that.  The people that will protest tomorrow will not.

I found an outstanding website about the Boston Tea Party:  The Boston Tea Party Historical Society http://www.boston-tea-party.org/index.html

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