Friday, January 14, 2011

The Politics of Tea

I wrote a little bit about the original Boston Tea Party in my book. Those hooligans were as ragtag as the current ones. They too were worked up about politics outside their control; then it was about overseas trade more than taxes to fund social programs. (There were no social programs then.) Today's tea partiers have legitimate fears, fears that many of us share. It's the way those fears are being channeled that should worry us. Also in my book is the story about John Adams, a young lawyer, who in the aftermath of the Boston Massacre, undertook the legal defense of the British soldiers charged with murder. Today he would be hung in effigy. Our early democracy was more complex and open-minded than many of today's so-called "patriots" would like to believe.

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