First, let's get an appropriate video that I found and enjoyed and that, while Obama-themed, applies to Washington at large (nod to Rivka for the vid):
Now I have a lot of mixed feelings concerning the Tea parties.
First the positives. It's a whole lot of people that are pissed about the size of government and the mess that the tax system is in that . And they're doing something more than just sitting at home and bitching. As this is to send a message to Washington, I'm okay with that. And the fact that they're getting a lot of the big names (almost all conservative) out for the tea parties means this will have some significance.
However, there are two things about this that bother me.
First on the list is rank symbolism. Just as I was harsh with the insipid Earth Hour, there are far too many people who are hellbent on making an idiotic, wholly symbolic, essentially vitriolic gesture that has no other message than "I'm pissed so I'm going to do something that makes me feel I've sent a message without any real work. If I were a representative, the announcement of the number of teabags I'd be getting would be received with a spectacular eyeroll, followed by the question, "Anything intelligent in the mail today?"
Now while there is a place for symbolism, what gets attention is an intelligent expression by the constituents (and a threat of not voting for them) to motivate a politician. The tea baggers will do well to remember this.
The second problem is the goal. I did some searching on taxdayteaparty.com. From what I gather, the general things that they stand for are (based on what I could find from the front page):
• No More Taxes. • No More Debts.
Now I can easily and heartily agree with all those things. My problem? "NO."
It's easy to oppose things. I oppose a lot of things. It's much harder to come up with solutions than it is to shoot down someone else's. As the oracle of wisdom and light here on SPD, I've always tried to follow up a chewing of someone's ass by presenting my great and magnaminimiminous ideas to solve every ill ever conceived. Sometimes they're a little thin (anorexic crack addict thin, that is), but it's something more than just saying no (which doesn't work, and is the reason I need to do another drug post (and get stoned)).
So while I don't condemn the protests as wholly pointless, if the protest is all that there is until the next tax day and is not followed up with more substantial action, the protests will be pretty damned pointless.
So with that said, here's some advice for those of you going to the tea parties:
1. Know your shit. Don't be an ignorant slut that spouts catchphrases like a d-list pro wrestler. Actually be able to discuss things cogently, and be able to explain why incessant taxing and spending and bailing out will strangle us.
2. Don't be an asshat. Now this shouldn't be a problem like it is when the anarchist go out to protest G-8 or G-20 or G-whatever summits. You know what I mean. Likewise, don't let your fellow brothers and sisters (and plants from the anarchists) be asshats either. Put them down, then find a cop to cuff 'em and stuff 'em.
3. Find a cause that is aligned with the tea parties' goals. Whether that be a plan to reduce government spending or a surefire plan fix to the tax mess (hint: that's the FairTax at the federal level) in all levels of government, embrace it, push for it, and don't let up the pressure on your representatives until they are cured of their case of Headupass Syndrome.
4. Be positive. It's easy to be angry. I've got blogs on the left and right that I visit that spout anger, sometimes in every damned post. A little righteous anger is a good fuel to keep the activist blood flowing. But too much is poison.
So that's it. Have fun, be loud and proud, and take it to the next level after the tea party. After all, if they had stopped with chucking the tea in Boston harbor, it would have been a little different.
Now where's my coffee?