Opinion

The Anomaly of the Modern Tea Party

The tea party is marching towards Washington. Again.

This occasion, however, is not in protest of a specific piece of legislation. The April 15 scheduled event is an all-out protest on what is seen by participating groups as reckless Washington spending and an increase in the size and scope of the federal government. Yet, what will most motivate these so-called “tea-partiers”-as many as one million are expected to attend- will be to use their new political clout and unprecedented rising support within the American electorate to raise once again the issue of the IRS.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the quasi-bureaucratic entity that tea partiers most unite with in their behest of its very existence.Thus, it is no coincidence they have chosen April 15, official tax returns day.

The issue of taxation is still the underlying argument behind nearly every tea party activist’s political beliefs, almost 240 years after that original ‘tea party’ in Boston forever changed world politics. Those colonists saw the British as imperialists occupying American land and chances are the modern tea partier views the Obama administration and even Republican hierarchy with the same distaste.

As both parties in power come to terms of the grave reality they both face in November’s mid-term elections where assuredly most incumbents will lose their jobs, the anomaly of the tea party still reigns supreme within the political psyche of the country.

One thing is certain: the modern tea party movement is a natural phenomenon. The political forces that came together with public resentment of government after the Great Recession and the subsequent bail-outs of the financial system and failing car industry drew an ire from middle-class America not seen since the early 1960s but this time it was not just youths who were activists but their parents as well and sometimes even grandparents.

Some are ‘traditionalists’ whose ‘ideal’ America has passed them by, culturally and socially, and these are the factions that disgracefully condemned congressional members to repulsive treatment during last month’s health care vote and last year’s September 12 march. Others are fiscal conservatives who see their party as having betrayed them with useless and hugely expensive wars abroad and unpayable tax cuts to the rich. The remaining are a diverse libertarian-minded group who utterly fear any expanding role of government, whether it be by way of raising taxes or social programs. These are the citizens who would much rather return to the 1789 sole protector model of the government than what is realistically feasible in the 21st century.

You may know one, maybe you are one. But one thing is certain for the future: whether one agrees with it or not, this modern tea party movement will continue to spur the interest of its countrymen and policymakers alike for years to come.

Daniel Medina is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. He may be contacted at dmedina@themiamihurricane.com.

April 11, 2010

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Daniel Medina

Contributing Columnist


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