Renie McCarthy may have been a wee bit paltry in her evaluation of the recent anti-tax protests (McCarthy Discusses Tea Party Protestors April 24).

These protests may have been well-coordinated by media entities like Fox News but that doesn't make them less grassroots, any less legitimate in terms of the issues they raise, or any more partisan with respect to the Obama administration or previous Bush administration. The anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, after all, were coordinated by well-organized and funded political activists. That didn't make their arguments of any less import. The "tea parties" might also have inflamed radical passions in some, but let us not forget, too, that the original Boston Tea Party was in reaction to a tax levied by Parliament to bail-out the financially-troubled British East India Company. It brought out such over-the-top extremists as Samuel Adams and James Otis. That didn't mean the tax protest was somehow less justifiable or genuine.

I did not attend any of the tea parties due to other obligations with my time. I don't know if there were people at these events calling for revolution or insurrection as Ms. McCarthy suggests. But if there were, it would be understandable. The grievances Americans have today against their government are far more substantial than anything the American colonists had against Parliament in the 1770s. They are closer to the grievances many citizens in eastern Europe had against their respective governments back in 1989 and 1990.

For decades, we have lived with a culture of governmental truculence, greed, and corruption that begins at the federal level and - in some cases - seeps down like sewage to state and local levels. It's a culture that oversees the closings of financially-drained schools, hospitals, firehouses, and community centers while subsidizing the building of sports complexes where grown men are paid millions of dollars to play children's games. It's a culture that doles out monies to the citizens of foreign countries while its own citizens lose their homes, businesses, incomes, health care, and educational opportunities. It's a culture that bails-out banks run by millionaire white collar criminals while many of its war veterans dwell in homeless shelters. It's a culture that establishes tax and trade policies that favor the outsourcing and downsizing of jobs, the lowering of wages, and exploitation of cheap immigrant labor.

The "tea parties" are ultimately, protesting Big Government and Big Business' impoverishment of the American people; the destruction of their ability to give their time and financial support to their families and to the schools, churches, civic organizations, and charities in their community. Government is supposed to promote the flowering of the institutions of civilized society, not snuff them out like weeds as it fills its coffers. And business is supposed to cultivate prosperity, not cut its own throat by reducing its customers to poverty.

How reckless it is to dismiss these protests as mere anti-administration rhetoric. The fact is, Ms. McCarthy, most American people have had their fill with both the Democratic and Republican parties. They see that increasingly their "democratic choice" is between a party of high taxes and parasitic government and a party of low wages and predatory business interests.

Paul Manton

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