by David Safier
A funny thing happened in the lead up to Friday's demonstrations in front of Giffords' office. The Pima Democratic Party labeled the Tea Party movement "extremist," and the Tea Partiers freaked.
The Pima Dems received more than a dozen emails and I don't know how many phone calls which basically said, "How dare you call us extremists!"
I thought that's how the Tea Party movement referred itself at its inception. At their early rallies, speakers got cheers calling themselves and their followers extremists. They got more cheers when they called for revolution and secession. And when they said Obama isn't our legitimate President, they brought down the house.
The movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party. That was a group of extremists who destroyed private property as a form of protest. Their actions were among the early rumblings of the American Revolution, a violent rebellion whose purpose was to overthrow of an oppressive government.
Do you think the original Boston Tea Partiers would have bristled at being called extremists?
The parallel between the two movements is false and dangerous. To say today's U.S. government is the equivalent of English rule of the colonies and this six month old Tea Party movement is made up of Paines, Franklins, Jeffersons, Washingtons and their followers, indicates the Tea Party movement has delusions of grandeur — with an emphasis on "delusions." And to imply that the only way to get rid of the Democratic administration is through violent aggression is unpatriotic and small-d undemocratic at best, and treasonous at worst.
Nonetheless, the Tea Baggers chose their name and have embraced it. They should wear it proudly, along with its extremist associations. This attempt to remake themselves as a thoughtful, moderate group is hypocritical.
Why deny who you are? Your demonstrations should include signs saying, "Extremist and Proud of It!" When the Pima Dems label you an "extremist organization," you should reply, "Thank you."