Friday is the 240th anniversary of the Boston Massacre. There will be festivities this weekend hosted by the Bostonian Society. They say they’ll re-enact the event during which “a small group of British soldiers fired into an angry mob that had gathered in front of the Old State House. Five citizens were killed. In a highly publicized trial the court ruled that most of the soldiers had acted in self-defense, however the people of Boston called the event a Massacre.”
The people of Boston in 1770 weren’t the only ones calling it a massacre; our U.S. history books have ever since. Every schoolchild learns that the event led in part to the overthrow of British rule and the creation of the United States. Firing on a mob of protesters — Kent State included — is frowned upon in free societies.
I bet that’s good news to the ever-growing “tea party” movement working its way through the country protesting the government.
So when I remembered this week’s anniversary of the Boston Massacre, I thought that the 240th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party is just around the corner — 2013.
But I don’t know much about this group that quotes U.S. Revolutionary War terminology to identify itself and makes press hits using revolutionary phrases such as “give me liberty or give me death.” So I did some research.
I searched the Web for The Boston Tea Party movement and found this cool Web site. After a few pages I thought, “Hey, I’ve misjudged these guys. I just thought they didn’t like paying taxes even though they have roads, schools, streetlights, police and fire departments, public sanitation, clean water to drink and let’s not forget a military that costs more than all the rest of the world’s militaries combined.”
But when I read the resolutions on their Web site www.bostontea.us. I started thinking that these people really mean liberty and justice for all. Just read this: “On February 27, 2009, the national committee passed a resolution specifying the right to bear arms … On March 8, 2009, the national committee passed a resolution supporting the Downsize DC agenda to reform congressional procedures … and On March 20, 2009, the national committee passed a resolution to oppose Obama’s backpedaling of the Iraq War.” No tax issues, at least not directly.
But that’s not all. They passed resolutions at their 2008 party convention that get specific on social issues and our current wars.
Turns out they don’t like the president’s usurping congressional authority, “Whereas in accordance with Article 1 Section 8, the Congress has not declared war since 1942 and whereas such war ended in 1945: Be it RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party calls for an immediate cease-fire of all military conflict.”
And how’s this for civil liberty, “Whereas, although in a free society ‘marriage’ would be of no concern to states (or government in any form), present conditions grant special privileges and immunities to those under formal marriage-contract, and whereas discrimination against ANY voluntary segment of society by government entities is both abhorrent and a violation of the Bill of Rights … Be it RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party supports the rights of all people at home and abroad (including Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender, or GLBT, people) to equal rights, privileges and immunities under the law and Be it further RESOLVED that the Boston Tea Party calls for an immediate repeal of all state and federal laws attempting or intending to restrict or define the term ‘marriage.’”
I got so excited and I couldn’t believe I had never heard about these aspects of the tea party. This doesn’t sound anything like the angry cheapskates I hear Glenn Beck promoting. I decided to write a column and tell folks.
But I can’t.
Those tea party dudes we hear about all the time aren’t the Boston Tea Party I found — which is an offshoot of the Libertarian Party. They’re just the Tea Party. They didn’t co-opt the whole name because they didn’t adopt any premise of liberty; they just don’t like paying taxes.
Read up on the Boston Massacre and commemorate it if you can. After all, I believe that ordinary folks died building this country for liberty’s sake, not for the money.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com.