“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” – Thomas Jefferson
On Thursday February 17, I attended my very first Tea Party event in Sevier County . The column about Mike Carmichael’s intention to found The Sevier County Constitutional Society inspired officials of the local organization to invite me to attend. Flattered by the invitation, I made it a point to go.
Upon arrival I found more than a hundred Americans gathered to see Sevierville Vice Mayor Dale Carr and the local leader did not disappoint the crowd, as he answered every single question he was asked.
However, as impressed as I have been and continue to be supportive of the Tea Party movement, two things concerned me. First, was that other than a handful of home schooled students and a very few others, at age 51, I was about the youngest citizen there. Second, is that almost every question asked of Vice Mayor Carr had to do with the road construction situation in the County.
The reason for my apprehension is that those who will be most effected by the enormous debt being amassed by government is the young. Then, considering the inception of the modern Tea Party was to address how to slow the dangerous growth of government across America , most of the questions that were asked focused on what government was doing for us.
Now, I do not recommend stopping a tea truck along Hwy 66 and tossing its contents into the French Broad River . Nor, do I have a problem with concerned citizens publically holding their elected officials accountable for the condition of roads. But to me, the modern Tea Party was organized to protect our children and grandchildren from the financial and personal oppression of a government which knows no bounds.
On April 15, 2009, millions of working, voting and taxpaying Americans assembled in cities and towns across the Country for the first National TEA Party. For those of you who do not already know, TEA is the acronym for “Taxed Enough Already.” To voice their discontent with our governments’ addiction to lavish spending, bailouts, higher taxes and unwarranted power over its citizens, they chose to reinvent the ultimate American protest.
The Boston Tea Party of 1773 is viewed today as an amusing and emblematic episode in America ’s history. The event is a perfect example of how far we Americans are willing to go to speak up for our freedom.
Irony should not be lost on our choice of reviving this particular historic act of defiance, as in each case the demonstrations are in response to the oppression of government. However, this time it is being used to demonstrate how our great republic is beginning to resemble the monarchy our founders fought to free us from long ago.
At the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, King George III decided that over taxing the American colonies was the best way of recouping the costs of war. He was also looking for ways to re-establish his control over the colonies, as they had become progressively more independent while the Crown was preoccupied by the war. But, Royal incompetence actually prevented the execution of either goal and actually strained relations with the colonists. Finally, it was the Parliament’s effort to tax tea that encouraged the Americans to act, laying the foundation for revolution.
The colonies first refused to pay the excessive levies, claiming they had no obligation to pay taxes imposed by a government in which they had no representation. In response, Parliament retracted the taxes with the exception of a duty on tea, as it was important to emphasize the King’s ability and right to tax the colonies. Conversely, if the Americans paid the tax on the imported tea they would be conceding England ’s right to tax them.
The crisis came to a head in Boston when over 5000 agitated locals milled about the wharf for days where three tea ships were docked. Angry and frustrated, a group of American colonists calling themselves the Sons of Liberty dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded the British ships on December 16, 1773 and dumped all 300 plus crates of tea into the harbor.
Similar incidents followed in New York , Maryland and New Jersey over the next few months and British tea soon became boycotted throughout the colonies. Needless to say, ole King George was not happy.
To be clear, I have never personally donated one dime to either political party. As a writer, I would not be able to fairly document living history as a member of one group that did no wrong complaining about the other that is never right.
Regardless of the party in power, in recent decades we have seen the federal government grow until it is now in control of every aspect of our lives. Today, we find ourselves taxed far beyond the wildest dreams of those who risked all to challenge the world’s greatest super power of their time to lay the ground work for what would become the most free and prosperous nation in the history of mankind.
Now, with populism and political correctness run amuck, our great country faces self created problems far beyond anything simple government action can resolve. In reality, our current predicament is the result of an over reaching federal government and we are expected to believe that those who have eroded our liberty are best suited to repair the damage. No one is free who is controlled by a government bent on achieving equal outcomes by punishing achievement.
Ladies and gentlemen, elections do matter and we must stop electing our public officials by the same means we choose which cold cereal we purchase for breakfast. The debt that we are leaving our children and grandchildren so that our politicians can be all things to all of us now will rob their generations of the opportunity to live free from want.
Government that governs least governs best. For, any government that is big enough to give us everything we want is also big enough to take everything we have. For the sake of your children and mine, please do not let anyone convince you that government is your mother, or that God is not your father.
Henry Piarrot is the general manager of the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge. Please send all story recommendation to firstname.lastname@example.org