The Boston Tea Party was a direct action protest by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government. On December 16, 1773, after officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain, a group of colonists boarded the ships and destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbor. The incident remains an iconic event of American history, and has often been referenced in other political protests.
The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their constitutional right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives.
This original Tea Party was instigated by 168 protestors and was a turning point in the Colonial attitude toward action against the tyranny of the British Government.
Fast forward to April 15th 2009 and more than half of a million tax payers have come out to protest the out of control, maniacal spending and borrowing of the U.S. Government.
Certainly the original Tea Party participants were lambasted by the British “media” and Government as “Radicals” and “Malcontents”, as our Tea Party brethren are today.
They were seen as a small percentage of the otherwise content population, ranting against fair taxes used for fair purposes.
That underestimation lead to the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence.
Today, I see members of the media, politicians and partisans either ignoring the Tea Parties or dismissing them as “Republicans” upset about the 2008 election.
That too would be a grave underestimation.
These Tea Parties are the physical manifestation of a populace movement that originated in the intra-webs and social networks, feed by the fustration and shock of ever increasing spending, taxation, borrowing, earmarks and government interference in the free markets.
As one of the original organizers of the February 2009 Tea Party in Portland, OR I can say without question that the group was a cross section of America. We had in attendance families, working class, middle class and upper middle class, we had Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
The event was sponsored by two groups you may never have heard of, TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) & Oregonians for Prosperity. It was organized by Libertarians, Republicans and Independents. We used Facebook, Twitter and other electronic media to spread the word.
At that time we got little attention, Hannity and Fox News were not reporting much and the other news outlets ignored us completely. Only a few local Radio stations, radio hosts and bloggers made an attempt to report on our little group of 200.
Since then of course Fox News and others have seen the news worthy nature of more than 800 of these Tea Parties springing up with over 500,000 people attending (the February Tea Party day had 50 cities and 30,000 people). Other so-called interest groups and political activist have join forces with us. All realizing that there is something to this, and that not long can it be simply ignored or dismissed.
Make no mistake, this is a non-partisan, grassroots movement, regardless of who jumps on the bandwagon, and it is significant.
The people of this nation are not going to sit on their hands while the White House & Congress borrows 11 trillion dollars and counting, spends that money on Bank & Corporate bailouts, spend $19.6 billion on pork, fires employees of privately held corporations and limits pay to private citizens.
Keep your eye and ears open, this movement will continue, and you must add your voice.
And Congress (Republicans & Democrats) will listen and will reign in spending, borrowing and the power grab or they will be looking for new jobs in the next few years.