By David L. Kelly
On 14 August 1765, a mob of nearly two thousand men, riled up and agitated by the Stamp Act, hung an effigy and destroyed the office of Andrew Oliver, Stamp Distributor of Massachusetts. This violent act against the British government was fueled by the printer, Benjamin Edes, whose Gazette articles had condemned the tax. Edes was a member of The Loyal Nine, which had recently begun calling themselves the Sons of Liberty. This was the first well known act of the Sons of Liberty and the genesis of organized opposition by the colonists towards England.
Several years later, after the English imposed the Tea Act, the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded three ships carrying tea from the East India Tea Company. They broke open the tea chests and dumped them into the harbor to protest the new tax. From this event one of today’s political grassroots organizations gained its name as the Tea Party movement, comparing their efforts to fighting our government’s usurpations to those of our founders’ fight against the tyranny of the English Crown.
Unlike our founders, who in many cases used violence to make their point, the grassroots groups have remained peaceful and respectful. These liberty-driven groups have influenced voters to support candidates who are supportive of their grassroots movement’s main core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.
Recent primary elections results have proven that the Tea Party has teeth and is biting at the established old guard of the Republican Party. The GOP establishment has not taken the Tea Party lightly and has rallied their troops, spending millions in fighting off the grassroots candidates in a desperate attempt to keep their political power. Regardless of the monies spent and the ugliness of the establishment’s fight to keep their hands on the prize, conservative groups such as the Tea Party have made a major impact and have prevailed in the spirit of their name. This freedom movement that was once called “the silent majority” is now yelling from the mountain top and making a difference by changing the course of our nation.
In comparison to our revolutionary founders, the Tea Party’s most active members may find themselves feeling like Sam Adams, but in reality risk very little. The majority of our founders and the members of the Sons of Liberty knew all too well that everything they had, all that they loved and cherished, including their lives, was at risk. Death by a hangman’s noose was a potential reality.
The one comparison equal to our founders is that today’s grassroots activists and liberty movement members share the desire to live free and to end the tyranny of a hubris-infected government. Our founders’ fight against the crown began years before the shot heard around the world on that bridge in Concord. The grassroots have just begun to fight and the establishment is not going to give in and step aside. It is going to be a long hard fought battle for power and control of our republic’s future political makeup. Like our founders in Boston in 1765, the conservative movement is a force to be reckoned with and will leave its mark. Like it or not.
If they fail, our grassroots compatriots can sleep well knowing that there will be another day and another election. Not that their efforts are any less than our founders; it is the simple fact that our government has yet to reach a level of tyranny to match that of the British Crown during the Revolution. Without the Tea Party and their active effort to make a difference in this year’s election, we could easily see tyranny from our government taking hold and the terms of engagement radically changing. If that ever happens, how many will stand tall like Sam Adams and Patrick Henry? How many will be willing to lose all that they have to preserve Liberty and Freedom for all? That would be a true comparison.