Tea Parties, For What?

I'm a big believer in protest. Large or small, from simple letter-writing to huge marches -- you disagree with something, you have an opinion to express, get out there with your compadres and tell the powers that be.

So I have not mocked or denigrated the "Tea Party" protests that have become all the rage on the right. I say go for it, rock on with your bad selves.

But here's the problem: I cannot for the life of me figure out what they think they want.


 Here's how the Tax Day Tea Party site explains it:

The Tea Party effort is just a small piece of a much larger movement aimed at restoring the basic free-market principles our country was built on. The Constitution, for the most part, is being ignored by our current government and we intend on working together to correct the problem.

That site features a large graphic at the top blaring: "Silent Majority No More," harkening back to Richard Nixon. That phrase pops up a lot in these circles. (Of course, Nixon was explicitly describing those citizens who don't protest publicly, in contrast with the loud (liberal) protesters.) Here's the explanation of the cause from Tea Party Revolution:

We are just like you: a group of citizens concerned about the growing size of our government. We are citizens who see a fundamental disconnect between our government and its citizens. We are citizens who want our government to return to its roots as a republic as our founding fathers intended. We are a part of the silent majority who is tired of the most vocal groups receiving the most attention in the form of our tax monies.

Another site, National Tea Party Day, is more explicit: TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. But then it turns into a litany of all-over-the-map criticisms of Democrats:

Are you fed up with a Congress and a president who....

  • want government controlled health care?
  • want to take away the right to vote with a secret ballot in union elections?
  • refuse to stop the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into our country?
  • appoint a defender of child pornography to the Number 2 position in the Justice Department?
  • want to force doctors and other medical workers to perform abortions against their will?
  • want to impose a carbon tax on your electricity, gas and home heating fuels?
  • want to reduce your tax deductibility for charitable gifts?

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