Written by John Shea
Wednesday, 15 April 2009 18:37
It's Tax Day.  Yay.  It's a day that brings joy to no one, unless you count those who enjoy spending taxpayer's money.  And I don't.  But what's of interest this time around are the protests scheduled for all over the country.  That I definitely approve of.  People taking to the streets to loudly protest the actions of the government?  A-OK with me.

I do have few quibbles though.  First off, these are largely being labeled as Tea Party protests, in reference to the famous protest by American colonists prior to the Revolutionary War.  The original Boston Tea Party was colonists taking tea from a East India Company ship and chucking it overboard in protest of English taxation of tea which specifically favored that company over American tea.  So that protest was about tax policy enacted without any concern or input from Americans that favored a foreign entity.  So please explain to me what these new protests have to do with tea?  Nothing.  The name Tea Party is being used because it is famous, not because this current protest is analagous to the famed Tea Party.  

You can certainly accuse me of being nitpicky with that complaint.  But I think it is a relevant complaint because that original protest was very specific in what it protested and how.  The act of raiding a ship and tossing the tea in the bay was specifically tied to the tax being protested.  Buying up a bunch of tea bags (probably without sales tax) and throwing them in a river to protest government shenanigans in general is unfocused.  I'm certainly okay with the act of protesting, I just think this one is a bit lamely conceived.  And for once, the tea companies are probably very happy about all this.

The other complaint is that these modern tea parties ran into some problems with the law.  In Washington D.C., they weren't allowed to dump the tea in the Potomac, because that is illegal.  Other protests were stopped cold because they didn't have permits for their protests.  The people who were behind the original Boston Tea Party would have ignored that and just dumped away.  C'mon people.  Grow a pair.  The First Amendment protects your right to "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."  Remember, it was written by the same sorts of people who first tossed tea to protest the actions of government.  That's exactly why we have a First Amendment.  


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