Pardon me for borrowing the idea of Jamison Foser from mediamatters.org in my cutesy headline, but my argument about the tea baggers, as they have been called, is this, as reiterated here: Does anyone know what these folks actually stand for? Some say they are anti-tax, some say they are anti-stimulus or anti-big spending. Take your pick. I, personally, have no idea what these folks want or how they plan to achieve whatever it is they want, other than holding a bunch of sophomorish rallies across the country.
I seem to agree with Foser:
When a group of colonists in Boston dumped a bunch of tea in the harbor in 1773, they had an unambiguous grievance: They had no say in the tax policy to which they were subject. “No taxation without representation” became one of the central rallying cries of the American Revolution and continues to represent a concept so basic most Americans probably take it for granted.
As for this week’s tea parties, few people seemed to have any idea what, exactly, the events were meant to protest.
Even Fox News, which served as both quarterback and head cheerleader for the protests, had trouble explaining what the attendees were upset about, and what they wanted. They were angry, Fox told us — but angry at what? Some were angry about taxes, or (typically unspecified) spending, or Washington, or (purely imaginary) attempts to repeal the Second Amendment. Others just seemed angry at the wind. In Texas, some members of the “Party of Lincoln” even began talking about seceding from the United States.
Seceding. Let’s see. That sure worked out well the first time, didn’t it?
Chad Peace, who’s organization is so “grass roots” that he even saw fit to post on little ‘ol me’s site, had this to say about the seeming anachronism, in which I pointed out, that tea baggers were using the Boston Tea Party, wrongly, as an analogy to support their cause:
By the way…the original tea party was about the political favoritism of the English Parliment giving tax breaks to the East India Company.
True, many colonists were obviously aware of the tax breaks given by England to the East India Company, but such tax breaks did not directly affect them. Why would they care? But they did care simply because of a culmination of what they thought were offenses, not the least of which were taxations without representation in the form of the Stamp Act and the Townshend Duty Act, the latter of which included a duty on tea.
But I come to the point about what modern-day tea baggers actually want. On Peace’s Web site, we read this:
The Political Exploration and Awareness Committee PAC (“PEAC”) was founded in 2008 by two individuals with no connection or affiliation with any political party, candidate, or candidates committee.
PEAC is a political action committee that campaigns on behalf of issues, candidates, and potential candidates that promote honesty and Constitutional leadership.
Our team is a small group of young individuals who see the future as an opportunity to reinvigorate our faith in voluntary action, non-partisanship, and free thought. We recognize that many of our chosen leaders have good intentions. There are good Republicans. There are wise Democrats. Libertarians and third parties deserve more respect; but, the independent mind should always be championed. RE Declare Your Independence.
As I told Chad, I doubt few people would disagree with the vague precepts listed here. But, where are the specifics about what this movement is about? Of what specifically do they disagree? How would they solve the current economic debacle? What particulars of the president’s stimulus package do they disagree with? All of it? Parts of it? Who knows. Or, as I might posit, are they just rabble rousing for the sake of rabble rousing because they are unhappy with the current administration’s overarching ideals?
These answers are absent, and we are only left to guess. Why would they not make it explicit on the organization’s “About Us” page? This is, now, a supposed national movement, and the best they can offer is three paragraphs that say nothing meaningful whatsoever. He cedes that point that the “About Us” perhaps, should be revisited, but he said the content on the page was intentionally kept general in nature so as to not ostracize certain groups and to give the organization a more universal appeal (Since, as they claim, the tea baggers consist of, not only Republicans, but of Democrats and Independents who seek a return to the precepts of the Constitution.)
For a fuller account of what they stand for, you may read this post, to which Peace referred me and to which I will attempt to respond in a later post. I will say, briefly that it does go a long way to what I would have liked to see on the “About Us” page and is helpful in understanding what they stand for. But it still seems to lack specifics. If they were more specific on certain points, in fact, fewer people would feel compelled to sign on to the movement, wouldn’t they?