Sunday, April 12, 2009

My testy RSVP to the Tea Party

I don't see what the big deal is about not paying income taxes on April 15. I mean, I don't plan to. I took care of that in February.

By now, you've probably heard about those tea parties that libertarians (and other people who like randomly capitalizing words) are holding to protest excessive taxation. And because Barack Obama is president, I guess "without representation" also applies.

Really, guys? Tea parties? Why not burn bras while you're at it? Yes, I understand that the Boston Tea Party was a pivotal event in the history of protest in this country. But what seems to have gotten lost in the modern-day reenactment is that we're no longer being subjugated by a royal empire, and that we do have federal representatives. And, yes, I know they're corrupt because they don't immediately say yes when you implore them via e-mail to abolish the IRS by this afternoon. But that's still light years better than what the colonists dealt with in 1773.

It's long past time for self-styled patriots to get with the times. If you want people to take your protests seriously - and ensure that your valid points aren't lost for all time in a sea of Bicentennial Fever - then don't dress them up in clothes that make Civil War reenactments seem modern by comparison. Indeed, the whole point of the founding of the United States was to create a new, progressive society, apart from a stuffy and stodgy old crown. The Founding Fathers didn't dress and speak the way they did for effect; they did so because that's what they knew how to do in 1776. Many people today seem so intent on recreating the look, talk and actions of that era that they miss the most important aspect: the substance.

If protesters truly wanted to follow the example of their forebears, they would single out something that signifies the oppression in question. In 1773, that was tea. Today it's...well, I can't think of an equivalent, which I guess means I'm part of the problem. I'm sure someone behind the "tea parties" can help me out on this one. In any case, unite behind that object and do whatever 2009 circumstances require you to do. That's how it's done.

Once you've figured that out, find a fresh angle against taxes. Blind hatred of taxes is played out, because most Americans realize that taxes do at least some good for this country. Lumping the useful taxes that pay for infrastructure with those that go toward outrageous political boondoggles makes the whole cause seem reactionary.

Also, there's a lot of pain, anguish and insecurity in this country that goes above and beyond taxes. Why not protest some of that? At the very least, you'll come off as at least trying to do something for society. By hyper-focusing on taxes, the message of the tea parties seems to be that government greed should take a back seat to the greed of We the People.

I wouldn't lift a pinky finger for that notion.


Hathor said...

They want a movement like the Obama campaign. Also to appear young and vital. The tea parties are desperation.

Chris said...

You've got to think that the people are valid in their right to be just as angry about the Obama administration's actions as the liberal left is about the Bush administration's actions.

Can't throw the baby out with the bathwater, there are some very legitimate points brought about by the tax party talking points.

Ian McGibboney said...

I'm not saying there aren't legit issues to be addressed. But this is about the stupidest way to do it. It's like a parody of a protest. And it's precisely the type of thing that leads people to tune you out before you even have a chance to make your point.

And, yes, I feel the same way when lefties burn the flag or bras or whatever. Childish is childish.