Throw a tea party, overthrow a government, start a new government, wait 236 years, throw another tea party. What comes around goes around. History repeats itself.
That original tea party in Boston back in 1773 was quite the affair, what with all those radicals rushing through the streets of the city, boarding British ships and throwing taxed tea into the harbor. A bit extreme, perhaps, but it got a message across.
It was a tea party America never forgot. Sam Adams and the rest of those revolutionaries set some kind of example. They said, protest is good. Ever since, Americans have always believed it.
Here we are in 2009, and the bold new government that took root in those turbulent 1770s, and grew and grew, is hearing a message, too.
April 15, in cities and towns across the nation, people concerned about out-of-control government spending and growing tax bills gathered together to make their voices heard. In a nod to Sam Adams and his ilk, the gatherings were dubbed “Tea Party” protests. People carried signs and placards, signed petitions calling for fiscal responsibility and restraint. As a defining symbol of discontent, they pinned tea bags to their shirts and hats.
In Oregon, more than 15 such rallies took place, and not only in big population centers like Portland and Salem. A hundred people came out for a Tea Party in Enterprise. Four hundred — yes, 400 — showed up at Max Square in La Grande.
Nationwide, the news media portrayed the protests as something gleefully supported, if not actually instigated, by the Republican Party, events calculated to discredit President Obama and his attempts to snatch the country back from the brink of economic depression.
Local organizers maintained that wasn’t the case. Gary Tate, North Powder resident and head of the Union County Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, said on the eve of the protest that Republicans and Democrats alike backed the idea.
Whatever the case, the fact that 400 people showed up at a political rally in staid, placid, little old La Grande is significant. On an average night in this town, not four citizens attend a city council meeting. Discontent is real, and stretching these days from the shores of Boston Harbor, all the way to the Blue Mountains of Union County, Oregon.
No matter which party holds office, people want responsibility and accountability, and they don’t want to carry a backbreaking tax load all their lives, then hand it off to their kids. That’s the message of this latter-day Tea Party, stated loud and clear. Those who govern would do well to listen.