What is The Tea Party?

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What is The Tea Party?

On December 16, 1773, in Boston which was then a part of the British colony of Massachusetts, there was a revolt against the British government by the colonists for what they considered violations of their rights with regards to taxes. Over the years this revolt has inspired many other American protests and movement including The Tea Party movement.

The Tea Party movement which begun in February of 2009 has rallied its members to push the American government so as to lower taxes as well as reduce government spending. These are the two main areas of contention that the movement’s formation was based on. There are a number of other issues that are part of the ‘Contract from America’ which lists ten agendas that the government should address. These ten agendas include a balanced federal budget, simpler tax systems, limited government spending, reduced taxes, establish the constitutionality of every new law just to mention a few.

There have been some significant events that have fueled the Tea Party movement most of which are in some way related to the actions that the government put in place to counter the credit crisis which begun in 2007. The financial bailouts to banks and companies as well as a number of legislations that followed the crisis have served as rallying ground for those behind the movement. The one trillion dollar healthcare bill of 2010 was another contentious issue that the movement described as overly expensive and unsustainable. On February 27, 2009 the Tea Party held its first national protest in 40 cities across the United States.

Tea Party members are mainly drawn from the Republican community of conservatives with a majority of them being white. For this reason, the Tea Party has supported Republican candidates who they consider as sensitive to their issues. The movement is yet to have its own candidates run for office though there has been talk of converting the movement into a fully fledged political party that will have candidates at all levels of government in coming years. The movement is currently without defined national leadership and operates through networks organized at state and grass root level. Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Armey are some of the high profile members who have put in a lot of time and effort in pushing the agenda and popularity of the movement.

There are those who have dismissed the Tea Party as lacking structured response to issues but instead simply opposing solutions offered by others. It has also been identified as a movement of people brought together by what they are opposed to rather than any agenda that they have to push the country forward. There have been utterances from some members which have been racist in nature and this has been taken to represent the views of the movement as a whole. Despite all this, the movement gained huge respect for the Republican win of the Massachusetts senate seat in 2010. The Republican candidate was largely supported by the Tea Party movement and this greatly raised the profile of the movement.

 

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