Friday, April 17, 2009

The tea parties

Some thoughts about those "tea party" tax protests the other day:

1. There's nothing wrong with Americans gathering to express their outrage about government policies. We're fortunate to live in a country in which we have that right.

2. There's nothing wrong with the flames of these protests being fanned by Fox News Channel. Media history offers plenty of Citizen Kane-like precedents in which newspaper and broadcast (and now Internet) activists create movements, whipping up their audiences. (But in the wake of the "tea parties," Fox News really will have an even more difficult time insisting it is "fair and balanced.")

3. As I understand it, the "tea party" reference is to the famed "Boston Tea Party" in 1773. But if I remember my high school history, the "Boston Tea Party" was sparked by cries of "taxation without representation." Today's "tea party" protesters couldn't hang on that assertion. Fact is, the taxes and spending they dislike were the products of elections, which produced their representatives. Unhappy with that they're doing? Continue to protest and get out the vote on Election Day. But don't declare, as more than one sign-carrier did, "I want a say!" You did have a say. Unfortunately for you, your side didn't prevail. Maybe next time it will.
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