Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Party? Count Me In!

I will be participating in the Indianapolis Tea Party, proudly. Sure, the message isn't about 'taxation without representation' as it was in Boston back in 1773, but the spirit seems the same to me. It's about justice.

The Colonists objected because they lacked a literal voice in government and in the taxes that affected them, because it was unjust that they shouldn't have a voice. Tax protesters are up in arms primarily about the bailouts, started with the Bush Administration, and continued by the Obama Administration.

My position is that it is unjust to transfer wealth to private corporations, or individual citizens, to relieve them from the predictable outcomes of their bad decisions and often fraudulent actions.

I don't believe it was just that a single penny was sent to AIG, or Bank of America, or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or to any mortgage holder. I do not want to see the Capital Improvement Board bailed out in Marion County, either.

It was wrong to wantonly print money in order to give it largely to politically connected friends, calling it 'stimulus'. It was unjust to devalue our currency this way when the Bush Administration did it, and unjust again when the Obama Administration did. It doesn't work, besides.

In sum, democracy can be a real sham on freedom when some citizens are declared losers by a majority of representatives, and others winners. It's worse than taxation without representation, because you want to have faith that your representative is one who defends you, rather than sells you out to some corporate interest that contributed mightily to his campaign warchest. As the Franklin quote goes, 'Democracy must be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner,' yet that's exactly where we are. Representatives gather to decide who should have his pocket picked, for the benefit of another.

That should make any decent person mad as hell. Hence, a protest.

There are a few lessons that seem to have been learned from the 'Revolt at the Statehouse' from a couple weeks back, where the result was diffuse, and the Libertarians were singled out for mockery. I like these items from the Indianapolis Tea Party website:

NO STICKS ON SIGNS (Statehouse Grounds rule)
No violence, no racism, no law-breaking
Absolutely no obscene words or gestures
Treat Law Enforcement Officers with respect
Do not block sidewalks and streets with your bodies or signs
Avoid conflicts and any physical contact with any opponents. Our 1st Ammendment Rights are their rights, too
Take the high CIVIL at all times

Stick to the point and stay on message! No abortion, marriage issues, or Obama bashing signs. We need to come across united and focused
Use black, red, or dark blue markers for visibility
Anticipate the adversary’s tactics and create a few counter-point slogans
These are the kinds of things protesters at large economic summits could learn a thing or two about. Seattle and Quebec come to mind. And, even though I agreed with their basic position, Iraq anti-war protesters have often lost me on some of their messages. I'm glad to see an admonition not to attack President Obama. The important thing is to focus on policy, not people. (More on that later.)

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