The Tea Party phenomenon was started with the assertion that the American federal government is tyrannical in ways that are similar to the British colonial government, requiring a revolutionary movement to take down the powers that be, because Americans are angry and are not going to take it any more! Comparisons to the Boston Tea Party and the Revolution of 1776 were unapologetic.
An odd little thing has happened to the Tea Party “movement”, though. From a movement of angry citizens against the political establishment, it’s been turned into a defense of the political establishment against angry citizens.
Consider the message that the Tea Party Patriots organization sent out to its members last night, for example:
“Tea Party Patriots is issuing this statement in order to make it clear that we are not associated with any attempts to form a third party. Additionally, we believe that such efforts, even those that might be well intentioned, are unproductive and unwise at this time. The history of third party movements in this country is one of division and defeat. We believe that it is instead time for all Americans to rise up and demand appropriate reform within their own existing parties. The mechanisms exist for citizens to participate in their parties, and to drive their parties in the right direction.
The Tea Party Patriots encourage all citizens to get involved in the party process, and to reshape their parties into something in which they may once again believe. This country does not belong to any one party, nor does it belong to the career politicians. And it certainly doesn’t belong to people who would like to trick you into voting for ‘tea party’ candidates so you will waste your vote.”
Imagine if this message were sent out to the Continental Congress by the people who had organized the Boston Tea Party. They’d be urging against revolution, saying that declaring Independence would be the path “of division and defeat”. They’d be urging that, instead of forming their own political organizations, American colonists should just send letters to members of the British Parliament, seeking reforms. In short, the so-called “Tea Party Patriots”, if they were living in 1776, would be Tories, not revolutionaries.
Just who is this Tea Party Patriots organization anyway, and why is it so interested in keeping its members within the power structures of the current political parties? The evidence strongly suggests that Tea Party Patriots is a Republican organization set up to use the Tea Party label in order to channel Tea Party enthusiasm to perpetuate the GOP’s agenda.