Apr 21, 2009

Steeping discontent boils over again

by Tim Mattingly

Tea time, cheerio. Harkening back to the days of old, disgruntled taxpayers lifted their indignant pinkies in the general direction of Washington, D.C., as a modern-day Boston Tea Party erupted across the states. But these contemporary colonists were cuddlier than their forefathers, and no tea was harmed in the production of this protest.

Although the lessons from colonial yesteryears provide important lessons for today’s tea parties, these events can also be viewed through childhood experiences and the engraved insight of youthful decisions gone awry.

Regard first the instigator of the Boston Tea Party — taxation without representation. This is an argument that cannot sour the lips of modern partiers, as they are solely responsible for each representative wedged within the walls of Washington.

Americans instead have simplified their complaint, whittling it down to one word — taxation. But taxes are not disappearing, and neither are the individuals we elected.

Such situations bare similarity to an older sibling coercing a younger brother into making a poor judgment call, like the classic, “stick your leg behind your head, it would be cool” argument. And after hours of struggle, the hapless youngster may actually manage to lodge his leg behind his head (trust me, it happens).

And that is when things get ugly.

Unfortunately, politicians have a habit of being a lot like a limb forced where it does not belong. Sure, electing them seemed like a good idea at the time, but now we are stuck with the pain of our decisions. Part of those “pains” includes taxation, as laid out by legislation, which comes from the individuals we chose to be “stuck” with.

Redressing grievous government wounds is the logical next step, one that was taken in the recent political picket party. But the sense of deception still stings the trust of Americans when they are promised one thing by politicians and receive another, coming in the form of skyrocketing taxes and debt for generations to come.

Unrequited childhood trust issues arise at such betrayal. It is like a father’s promise not to let go of a bike and moments later a little boy careens, face first, into a mailbox (also happens). The perceived betrayal comes when the elbows of America’s economy are skinned and its trust in government battered and bruised. But there are always Band-Aids — our problems are fixable and one day our wounds will heal. Then the next time we get on our voting bikes we will be watching out for political mailboxes.

Such traumatic political experiences have a way of sticking with people and give birth to an inner strength, powering individuals to make a stand for what they believe in. Thus, discontented Americans pulled themselves to their feet, got their colonial on and partied like it was 1773.

The strength to stand in the face of opposition is like playing “sea creatures” with a best friend in his basement. It is his house, so he gets to be the giant squid and sharks are off limits. Needless to say, the options are limited to a puffer fish or a turtle — no match against a giant squid.

The puffer fish takes a stand, quits the game and kisses his best friend’s sister straight on the mouth. And despite her scream of protest, it was beautiful (call me, Leah).

There are elected representatives who are playing political games in a way that is not fair to the American people. Voters are beginning to take a stand, as evident in the recent tea parties. Those in government who do not heed this warning can expect to kiss their political careers goodbye.

Contact Tim Mattingly at


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