Thursday, July 23, 2009

On Tea Party Protests

Tea parties (of the non-tea variety) have been popular lately among angry taxpayers, allegedly a chance for the people to protest reckless spending in government. Unfortunately, it has instead become a chance for the ignorant to declare the sky is falling, and for politicians to pontificate where they believe they are welcome (though their business at such an event ought instead to be listening).

Before I go any further, I believe I ought to revisit the purpose of a Tea Party Protest - a purpose that appears to have gone missing. A Tea Party Protest is not some kind of Republican convention. It is not the place to yell about gun control - unless the government is raising taxes specifically on guns and ammunition. It is not the place to discuss abortion - unless our tax dollars may be paying for those abortions. It is not the place for praising national defense - unless it's part of a complaint on the budget being "balanced" away from the military and towards stupidity. Additionally, we who attend these protests are not an "anti-tax group," as I have seen us called before. If we don't recognize the necessity of some taxes, we think no further than the people who tax too much to pay for "free" programs, and would then be just as wrong.

So the purpose, then, is to proffer a people's complaint against unfairly high or graduated taxes, and taxes spent irresponsibly by our elected officials.

With that in mind, I speak first to the members of Congress who attend, or have considered attending, these Tea Parties.

Men and women of Congress: When we the people protest, we the people do not want to hear from you. We can see your websites, friend you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter. More importantly, we can track your voting records to see what you do - a thing far more important than what you say. I beg you, do not attend Tea Parties to campaign and to prattle. Truthfully, none of you really say anything anyway. But do attend. Attend instead to listen, to take in your voters getting angry, to consider whether or not you are actually doing what is right, and to consider what it is you and all of Washington ought to be doing instead.

I next must address the members of the general public who attend the Tea Parties.

To the people who attend: Firstly, do not attend simply because a politician you like is speaking; in fact, such speaking should deter you. If you care about the politicians enough to be so drawn to their speeches, you should consider avoiding them for a time to ensure you can form an original opinion in your own head. I trust this is not too much an epidemic. But what, then, will draw the crowds? The crowds, that is, you the people, should instead attend to have the theoretically intelligent voice of the country heard. The Congressmen cannot hear you if they themselves are speaking. But as they do not speak, the speaking is the task of you, the people. Consider well your motives and your words before you step up to the microphone. If you have something to say, make it worthwhile, and make it brief. If it has been said already, don't be redundant. If you will come across as paranoid, as many of you do when you get the chance to speak, no one will take any of us seriously; the world will likely not end because of fiscal irresponsibility. If you only want to speak to put attention on yourself, get as far away from the mic as possible. And if you only care to ramble about some unrelated ideal, please re-read the beginning of this article. I attended one Tea Party where some blowhard went on for an absurd amount of time about why natural gas is a good thing. It took forever to finish and he never should have started.

And finally, to the people who do not, for their various reasons, attend: Thank you for reading this blog anyway, even if it was with a spirit of criticism.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Nicely written ! The article is succinct, and valuable to all those that choose to think before acting on any new information, or attending these events. Thanks in part to your writing, may the overall level of intelligence be raised to new levels at all follow-on Tea-Parties !