The Real Tea Party
by Charles Stampul
In a move to break American resistance to taxation, British Parliament in 1773 relaxed a tax on exports, allowing a struggling English tea company to send its surplus product to the colonies. The tea would be priced low, but carry a tax payable to Parliament. Sensing a trap, the colonists organized. At Charleston the tea was seized and stored by customs agents. At New York the ship was turned back. At Boston, the seat of American agitation, 340 trunks of tea were thrown into the harbor.
We’re seeing similar protests today. Jury nullification of drug convictions. The launch of Wikileaks to reveal government secrets. And perhaps the closest thing to the Boston Tea Party to date, coordinated resistance to naked body scans and evasive pat downs at airports on November 24, 2010. Standing largely apart from this Tea Party inspired activism, is “the Tea Party movement.”
Young people adopt new and unusual sayings to individuate from parents, schoolteachers and other adults. “Off the hook,” was one such phrase. It was popular several years ago. A year or so later you heard one of the View ladies call something “off the hook.” By this time youths were saying “off the chain.” Responsible, financially secure, community involved, set-in-their-ways adults caught up, forcing young people to drop the phrase altogether. It’s like this for libertarians and the Tea Party.
Ron Paul supporters used the 2007 anniversary of the Boston Tea Party as a special fund-raising day. Then in 2009, after a string of bank bailouts, the Libertarian Party of Chicago organized the first Tea Party gathering. They invited CNBC black sheep Rick Santelli. In an inspired rant that became a Youtube sensation, Santelli called viewers to Lake Michigan for a Chicago Tea Party in July.