Tea Party movement soils historical namesake

On March 5, 1770, exactly 240 years ago, five people were killed and many were injured when British soldiers fired into a crowd of colonists in Boston, earning the infamous title of “The Boston Massacre.”

This notorious event further established the anger and resentment colonists had toward the British Parliament, and three years later, in response to the Tea Act, it paved the way for one of the most famous acts of protest in American history, The Boston Tea Party.

The outright revolution that followed finally culminated when the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, which eventually led to the Founding Fathers writing the United States Constitution as America claimed independence.

Unfortunately, the present-day Tea Party movement lacks that type of protesting significance, and, quite frankly, any significance at all.

In fact, by attempting to draw a comparison between the movement that led to our eventual independence and the one that is supposedly in progress today, the Tea Partiers not only fail to elevate the importance of their “cause,” but also manage to degrade and strip away some of the significance of the original events.

Imagine if The Boston Tea Party had only consisted of a small group of colonists shouting incoherently about grievances they had with the British Parliament while holding a few hand-drawn pictures erroneously comparing King George III to some of the other least popular leaders at the time.

I have a feeling this Boston Tea Party, or maybe it would have been more appropriately coined “The Boston Yell Really Loudly Party,” would not have been nearly as important, or taken nearly as seriously, as the real one.

Yet, crowding behind some of the movement’s most influential names like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, the present-day Tea Partiers continue to protest using the ever-so-eloquent tactics of fear-mongering and shouting down opponents with the hopes of achieving an end they have yet to fully explain.

Luckily for those of us who are growing tired of this circus masquerading as a legitimate grassroots organization, with important elections fast-approaching, one can only expect the Tea Partiers to close shop and vote with the G.O.P.

According to a Rasmussen Reports survey conducted last month of likely voters, in a three-way congressional election with a Democrat, a Republican, and a Tea Party candidate, 36 percent of people would vote for the Democrat, 25 percent would vote for the Republican, 17 percent would vote for the Tea Party candidate and 23 percent are undecided.

In order to win elections, it seems that the Tea Partiers and the Republicans will have to vote together — not a far-fetched possibility considering there does not seem to be any major differences between the political views of the majority of the Tea Partiers and those from the people in the far Right.

The Tea Party has misled us enough, and I look forward to the day when this movement stops moving.

Reach Austin at acyost@asu.edu

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