The Ides of April approach, and procrastinating tax payers scramble to gather their financial documents at the behest of Uncle Sam. In the meanwhile, groups gather across the nation to throw "tea parties" in the spirit of the one at Boston in 1773. This time, the protest is not over taxation without representation; it's about planned massive amounts of government spending and the enslavement of future generations. It's about the government's using US tax dollars to bail out foolish investors and big corporations where the very people who messed up walk away with millions of dollars.
For Americans, a "tea party" is a cheerful idea. It brings to mind the great glory of a bunch of grown men dressing up like Indians to toss the East India Company's tea into Boston Harbor. It's the fleshing out of a great "Huzzah!" to standing up against mad taxation and unfair political decisions. It bellows out a love for freedom and for self-government. On April 15th, tea parties will be all the rage.
The current tea party enthusiasm started back in February, when Rick Santelli, the On Air Editor for CNBC, made his now-famous speech from the floor of Chicago's CME Group, the world's largest futures exchange. During his rant against the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, Santelli accused the government of rewarding bad behavior. "How many of you want to pay your neighbors mortgage…?" he asked.
"…I'm thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July," Santelli said, "All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I'm gonna start organizing."
"What are you dumping in this time?" asked Rebecca Quick.
"I think we're going to be dumping in some derivative securities."
The people at their jobs on the CME Group floor were not the only ones to cheer in agreement with Santelli's sentiments. The tea party idea has resonated with millions of Americans. The upcoming tea party events are grassroots movements of normal Americans who don't like the direction America is going, and don't want their children and grandchildren suffering under America's rapidly mounting national debt.
Is it unfair to protest? Do government officials have much choice in the decisions they're making? Don't they have to make these hard calls to keep the economy from plunging? Don't they have to honor contracts to pay bonuses to these big corporation execs?
The tea partiers don't think so.
The men at Boston didn't care that the Tea Act didn't actually add a new tax on tea; it just gave a tax break to the East India Company, and actually allowed the price of tea to drop. But, the Tea Act remained an effort by Britain to keep control of the colonies, to maintain their strict authority and tyrannical rule over the Americans. It was the principle of the thing.
What Wednesday's tea parties will actually accomplish is uncertain. Protestors can't really dump derivatives into any body of water. They can't undo the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan or at least get the government to give foreclosed homes to people who, as Rick Santelli put it, "might have a chance to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water."
Or. Maybe they can. Maybe America's problem all along has been an apathy, a sense that "nothing I do matters." The tea parties show that Americans do care, that there are millions willing to try to change things and turn the country for the best. They demonstrate that hope still resides in America's heart.
The biggest issue, of course, is not tea, and it's not even government bailouts and corporate bonuses and massive spending bills. The biggest issue is the heart of Americans, and what we truly rely on. We hope that, while they are at these tea parties, those Americans who love Jesus take the time to get on their knees for the nation. If our hearts are in good condition, it won't matter so much what our stock portfolios look like. And if it's truly In God We Trust, we need to put Him first. The mighty dollar obviously will not save us; it's value is sinking just like the sand under a incoming tide. Christ is the only solid rock on which we can stand.
Dressing up like Indians and drowning tea, though.... that's still a lot of fun. Huzzah America!
Rick Perry Stands Up for Freedom - Rush Limbaugh Show
Santelli's Tea Party - CNBC
'Tea Party' Protests Planned On Tax Day - KFOR
Executive Bonuses: Heads You Lose, Tails I Gain - Reuters
'Tea Parties' Galvanize Anti-Tax Movement - CBN News