The past three years the “Tea Party”, AKA tea party, AKA tea baggers, AKA teabag nuts, AKA Lunacy, Inc., AKA—-well you get the picture.

On the surface the tea party sounds sane and reasonable, looking for lower taxes and less government, fiscal responsibility and other policies  based on the premise that our Founding Fathers established a republic grounded in federalism with an extremely limited role for the central government. You know, defend the borders at all costs but don’t spend a damn cent on the people within those borders.

The tea party prides itself on its metaphorical resemblance to the Boston Tea Party, a seminal event in pre-revolutionary war history where we told the British, “Hey!!! Cut that shit out!”

But you will recall the shadowy figures tossing cases of tea into Boston Harbor in protest did not do so while openly proclaiming  anti-British views or exchanging fist bumps or chest thumps with each other. No, this tea party was born of deceit, the raiders disguised as Indians.

Its leadership, too was not in the fore, though individual names came to light. Sam Adams was the most prominent long before his beer became one of the major maketing successes of the late twentieth century.

(True story. In 1994 I was having a pre-concert lunch with friends at a Station Square restaurant across the river from downtown Pittsburgh. With my sandwich and sides I ordered a Sam Adams draft. When my tab came I saw I was charged $3.65 for the sandwich and $3.95 for the beer, which the waiter had mentioned was on “special”  that afternoon.

I inquired as the the high price of the beer and the waiter sputtered something about how exotic it was and the costs of bringing it from far away to the “Burgh” I then pointed out that Sam Adams contracted out much of its brewing, including to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company—makers of Iron City—which was perhaps four miles from where we sat.) (Oh, paid my bill and left a nice tip and never drank Sam again.) (Been wanting to get that off my chest for years.)

Now the modern day tea party has much in common with its colonial counterparts. It serves as a focal point for protests about the intrusion of an imperial government. It has undertaken acts with much symbolism and great publicity value with little real substance.

But most of all it, too, was born of deceit, with leadership preferring to stay in the background and deflect credit for whatever success it has had.

However, the differences between the media driven behemoth of the 2000’s and the more loosely organized one-off event of Colonial times are enormous.

The late night dumpers of tea into the harbor were protesting an actual example of repression carried out by the British government and the monopolistic East India Company in cahoots with each other.

Today’s whiners offer only generalizations of harm from government practices and laws that somehow only became offensive when a new party and particularly a strange new President were poised to  occupy the Oval Office.

These same laws and practices were okay when administered the prior eight years by a President and a party whose ideals and mores were more in line with tea party thinking. The current protesters remained silent on egregious violations of everyone’s rights because the tea party organizers and backers were reaping the benefits of little oversight and massive tax breaks.

Sam Adams and company were motivated by not just an oppressive tax on tea but by a series of tangible acts of repression and treachery.

Today’s whiners are motivated by the desire of the Koch Brothers and others to be the equivalent of the marriage-made-in-hell example of the Brits and the East India Company, with the government actually aiding and abetting monopolistic business practices.

At its heart the tea party does not want little or no government. It wants a government that caters to large businesses who wish to play by their own rules with no government interference but with great government largesse. At the same time it seeks to eliminate any perceived government largesse “lavished” on the millions of our countrymen who may, in fact, need a hand up or even a hand out from time to time.

 I have no doubt that many, probably even the majority of folks who identify with the tea party have serious and sincere concerns about the role of our government. But they have entered the fray much as did a large part of our populace in the post World War I era who became enamored with the Communist Party.

Then communism was something new and, in a short sighted way, offered hope to those who wanted to end wars and in the thirties suffered the worst of capitalism with the Depression. So thousands, perhaps millions, dabbled in communism, only soon to discover the clash of their unrealistic ideals with the cruel world of practices and practicalities.

So today the tea party joiners are going to eventually wake up and discover that their ideals of little government are greatly at odds with the actuality of United States history for the past two hundred years and are a denial of the vital role our government, both good and bad, has played in the development of what most would consider the greatest country on earth.

They have already received a taste of this enlightenment. Many tea partiers are among our older citizens, as am I, and feel threatened by possible changes in Medicare, a true government run program if ever there was one.

But moreso along the way eventually is going to come the head on crash where the air bag of the federal government deploys to protect them and, much to their surprise, they learn they cannot simply return the bag to its place in the steering column once it has done its job.

This air bag, like many of our government programs, may never be used by most of us. But once that bag cushions the blows of a horrific collision we are profusely thankful the government forced that protection upon us.

The most troubling aspect of tea party rhetoric and promotions and promulgators is not the expression of dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., but that its members have an almost inhuman capacity for criticism of whatever issue strikes them as most offensive at the moment, while seemingly having undergone bariatric surgery when it comes to solutions, with no surviving capacity to feed helpful ideas into the political digestive system.

If  Tea Party members ever awaken to this reality, I’d be happy to “share a little tea with Goldie” every afternoon at four, with scones and all.


Today’s whiners are principally supported and financed

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  • Deke  On June 3, 2011 at 6:54 AM

    UMOC I see your a early bird like me. Let me finish my breakfast before I weigh in on this item you posted. Mean while post your op/ed on Christies helicopter ride I am anxious to see how you see it.

    • umoc193  On June 3, 2011 at 7:01 AM


      Just submitted my ideas on that topic. I look at it beyond the mere cost.

  • Deke  On June 3, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    UMOC well said.
    One only has to look at the astro turf groups headed up by Dick Armey, Rove etc. Founded in a big part by those Birchers and libertarians the Koch brothers and Betsy Devos the queen of the school vouchers.

  • Deke  On June 3, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    I just briefly read over a story where Sarah Palin flubbed the Paul Revere history. Over and over she proves just how much of a imbecile she is.

    • umoc193  On June 3, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Wait till you hear what happens in political kindergarten. I’ve been inspired this morning

  • Deke  On June 3, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    I just briefly read over a story where Sarah Palin flubbed the Paul Revere history. Over and over she proves just how much of a imbecile she is. Martin Brashir, MSNBC said her bus flag violated federal campaign laws. Seems your only allowed to use the flag if your really running for the Presidency.

  • Deke  On June 3, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    UMOC point me to the kindergarden of politics.

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