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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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A Republican Party’s Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was an exercise in what would later become an American’s right to assemble. American colonists protested on the Boston Harbor, chanting “No taxation without representation.” “?Without Representation” seems to be the operative part of the slogan that the modern day tea party goers neglected to remember, as they derailed the current administration’s economic policies. Whether or not the tea parties of tax day’s April 15 were blown out of proportion by the media is secondary to the many ironies of the tea parties themselves.

Of greatest concern, is what the protesters, adorned in tea bags, are actually protesting. Some carried signs objecting to tax raises, while others expressed outrage over wasteful government spending. John Stewart astutely pointed out on the Daily show that these were the same people who purchased one million tea bags to hang from their clothing, all to make a historically inaccurate statement. Jokes aside though, it appears many of these “Real Americans” have a warped idea of what Obama’s economic policies in fact entail. As Paul Begala, CNN political contributor, expressed in his commentary, “April 15 is a Patriot’s Day,” Obama’s tax plan benefits the majority of the protesters as he gives tax cuts to 95% of Americans this year and doesn’t raise the taxes of the wealthiest 1% of Americans until 2011. The concern Joe the Plumber and his blue collar friends show for the wealthiest in America who benefited enough from Bush era tax cuts, and ruined the economy while they were at it, is baffling. The misplaced anger a lot of these protester’s have been expressing, has caused many political commentators to wonder whether this is an attack on Obama’s politics, or just on Obama.

The greatest irony is the outrage of “teabaggers” in Texas who are threatening to secede from the Union. According to Gail Collins’ April 18 New York Times column, “Twitter’s from Texas,” states like Alaska and Texas receive the most from the federal government, meanwhile they complain the most about taxes. Texas Governor Rick Perry’s rejection of the stimulus package that gives Texas $556 million, was based on various conditions the state would have to meet such as: extend unemployment benefits for laid-off workers who are in a retraining program, cover people who quit jobs for compelling family reasons – such as domestic violence – and improve health and unemployment benefits for laid off workers with dependents. Call me a liberal, but it seems these conditions laid out by the Obama administration are directed towards helping the many unemployed Texans affected by the economic strife.

Keith Olberman said it best on his show, Countdown, “the sad reality behind the corporate sponsored Tea Parties, visual proof that this is not about spending, deficits, or taxes, but about some Americans getting riled up by the people who caused these things, and finally about some Americans who just hate the president of the United States.” Olberman, of course, was referring to the unfounded complaints of protesters.

The over-exaggerated events of the April 15 tea parties, by Fox news and their cronies, will bow out ungracefully from our televisions soon enough. It hasn’t been the silly protesting that’s alarming, but rather the implications of it. It is evident that many of the complaints of protesters regarding tax policies and the stimulus package, are least informed. It is also evident that these supposed patriotic Americans need a history lesson. The small, convoluted outcry from the tea party goers, therefore, seems to be rooted in an unfounded hate for the president, something Janeane Garofolo would call “racism, straight up.”

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