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Royalists want a little revolutionary action of their own

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 22:04 EDT
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I’m sure everyone under the sun has seen this amusing commentary by David Schuster about the ridiculousness of the teabaggers. And while I enjoyed every double and single entendre, I think I might have laughed the hardest when he pointed out that the fundamental difference between the teabaggers and the original Boston Tea Party is that the latter group was protesting taxation without representation, which is admittedly a long phrase with many syllables, so it’s no wonder the teabaggers zone out after they hear “tax”.

But as fun as it is to laugh at these morons, the fact of the matter is that there’s more going on here than just a baffling explosion of people who are sick of the rich paying significantly lower taxes than they did under Reagan, and who want to rectify this problem by lowering their taxes and hopefully instituting wider wage slavery while they’re at it. Once you’ve whittled it down to the rich who want to pay fewer taxes and a few people that are like, “Yeah, I like being fucked over by the wealthy, especially when they’ve already ruined our economy!”, you don’t have much left, unless you pay people to show up at rallies. But as Roy Edroso says, there are actually people who aren’t rich, aren’t paid, and aren’t in an exceedingly masochistic minority who are actually going out to protest. What’s up with that?

And if past events and present promotion are any indication, on April 15 what they’ll be hearing is that the President of the United States is a socialist and/or a communist who ignores the Constitution and must be resisted as a usurper with revolution. There’ll be complaints about high taxes, of course, but everyone complains about that. The main message is that Obama is an illegitimate leader, and that the folks holding the signs, notwithstanding the electoral results, are the true voice of America.

That’s the light bulb for me. Protesting taxes (next: death) doesn’t make sense precisely because taxes are just part of life, and it’s not like Obama just invented the practice. I’m watching a bunch of people on Twitter who are listing things that tax money buys, and while that’s a good reminder for the morons, I don’t think it’s all that helpful, because the tax thing is, like Roy said, more a cover for the extreme anger boiling about the election of Obama, who is illegitimate in their eyes for reasons that go way beyond taxes. Observe some signs:

The references to the Boston Tea Party have a dual meaning. Yes, the Tea Party was a protest against taxation (please stay awake for this next part!) without representation, emphasis on the latter. “Without representation” was basically a way for Americans to push back against their status as a colony. I’m sure that many people who supported the slogan would have been pacified, for a time, with representation, but let’s face it: America was becoming it’s own nation, separate from Great Britain culturally and geographically. If it wasn’t one thing, it would have been another, I suspect. And regardless of the specific reasons for the Boston Tea Party, it’s that it was the first act of what became the American Revolution. I submit to you that the people who put this together are obviously counting on the revolutionary connotations more than the specific taxation ones.

Perhaps I’m saying something too obvious, but it seems to me the real focus of the protest is the perceived illegitimacy of Obama and congressional Democrats’ power, and the revolutionary image is to remind people of the Americans who rejected the legitimacy of the king’s power. Which is rich, of course, because the people who are flipping shit about Obama are basically royalists by nature, and they’re pitching a fit because the American dream laid down by our founders and improved upon throughout our history is turning out a little too nicely for their tastes.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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