Rudyard Kipling Meets the Tea Party

kiplingEver since the moniker “Tea Party” came upon the scene, I’ve been fascinated with the people who identify with it.  So many of the people screaming about “government handouts” were, in fact, taking a lot of them themselves.  Of course, in the United States today, all of us benefit greatly from government services and investment.   Schools, roads, defense, health, airline regulation, etc. (the list IS actually too long!) all contribute to the greatness of our country.  Individual “welfare” is dwarfed by corporate welfare, yet the group of people who ought to be the most supportive of fixing a system that is so skewed in favor of the rich, joined with a very small group of very rich people to go after the least fortunate among us.

I was curious why this group had adopted the “Tea Party” name.  In trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, I assumed they were aligning themselves with the group, led by Sam Adams, who boarded a British boat and dumped tea into the Boston harbor.   It’s one of those stories of American history we’re so proud of using to show how brave the colonials were.  As I thought more about it, I realized that the Boston Tea Party is, in fact, the perfect inspiration for today’s Tea Party.   But not in the way most people think.

What exactly happened on that night of December 16, 1773?   What exactly were they protesting?  Sam Adams, a cousin to John Adams and part of the Massachusetts elite, put together a band of men and dressed as Native Americans.  In an act that, had it happened to us, would have been labeled an act of terrorism, they boarded a British ship and destroyed tea.   But this was not boldly done as an act of resistance to Britain.  It was done under disguise, in an attempt to blame Native Americans so that the colonials would not, in fact, have to be accountable for their “heroism.”

Taking shortcuts, blaming others, protecting the image and wealth of the elite, today’s Tea Party is aptly named.   Shortly after I came to know what was behind today’s Tea Party, I started calling them “Tea Baggers.”  My intent was to question the genuine nature of their movement.  Real tea takes a long time to steep and the leaves can be messy.  A tea-bag is a short cut that alters the tea to take away all the hard work and mess in making real tea.  Later, when I saw other people using “Tea Bagger” in reference to a sexual act, I knew MY interpretation was never going to stick.  People just can’t resist a good sexual innuendo.

Throughout history a group of people becomes so self-assured in their righteousness, that no amount of moral or logical reasoning can sway them.  The era of “Manifest Destiny” was one of these times.  As British, French, and American imperialists swept around the world, enslaving millions, and confiscating the resources and wealth of those less fortunate, these actions were justified as part of God’s plan to actually help brown-skinned people.

So with apologies to Rudyard Kipling (oh heck, I’m giving no apologies to that racist S.O.B.) here is my update to the famous, yet shameful poem, “The White Man’s Burden”

Take up the Tea Bag burden
Send forth the best ye breed
Go send your soul to exile
To serve the Koch Bros need

To wait in grave hypocrisy
On taxes and the rest
Your new-borne sullen viewpoint
Half crazy and half jest

Take up the Tea Bag burden
With no patience to abide
Create another enemy
And whip it in the hide

By stifled speech and sobbing
Complain with no regret
To stop all those handouts
Except the ones you get

Take up the Tea Bag burden
And reap it no reward
Keep blame on those who’re better
And always threaten the sword

The cry of logic ye humor
Ah slowly to the light
No matter what the damage
Keep moving to the right

Take up the Tea Bag burden
Be done with better days
Make sure that all your actions
Keep Obama from any praise

Comes now, to search your manhood
Through hypocritic years
Deny to all their chances
As long as ye get your beers

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