The tea party protests

If this kind of goofiness is what we have to look forward to from conservative critics during the next four years, I question if they’re going to get very far.

What will you be doing on April 15? You might be feverishly finishing up your taxes. Since itâÄôs a Wednesday, most of you will be in class or at work. But if youâÄôre a disaffected conservative without much to do, youâÄôve got another option: Throw some tea bags into a local body of water to protest âÄúwasteful spendingâÄù by the Obama administration. In what has to be the most head-scratching protest since 12 rich kids took over a lunch room at New York University, the American Family Association has been organizing National TEA âÄî Taxed Enough Already âÄî Day demonstrations across the country wherein angry citizens re-enact The Boston Tea Party and then have a picnic or something. South DakotaâÄôs own Tea Party is taking place at noon in Sioux Falls at Covell Lake and, according to the eventâÄôs Web page, is organized by none other than local chiropractor and anti-abortion demagogue Allen Unruh. This event brings up all kinds of questions, like, âÄúWhere were these crusaders for liberty and financial responsibilities over the last eight years of out-of-control spending and skyrocketing deficits?âÄù Or perhaps, âÄúHow much income tax is someone whoâÄôs free to attend something like this on a Wednesday afternoon actually paying?âÄù and most importantly, âÄúWill the free lunch theyâÄôre providing include a vegetarian option?âÄù One thing that probably wonâÄôt come up at the big outrage and tea fest is the fact that when it comes to federal âÄúpork,âÄù angry tight-fisted South Dakotans are some of the biggest hypocrites of them all. For every dollar of federal tax collected, South Dakota citizens get approximately $1.53 back. We love to believe that weâÄôre a state of rugged individualists, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, but in reality South Dakota is the welfare queen of the republic, and itâÄôs unlikely weâÄôre going to start paying our own way anytime soon. The group behind the South Dakota stunt (they call themselves The Sons and Daughters of Liberty âÄî how PC!) are no exceptions to the âÄúpork for me but not for theeâÄù posture. Allen UnruhâÄôs wife Leslee has been the recipient of wheelbarrows of federal abstinence-only money, and last I heard she had no plans to give it back. I suppose itâÄôs easier to bite the hand thatâÄôs been feeding you when thereâÄôs a good chance the feedings are going to get cut off. But you donâÄôt have to be an infamous anti-sex crusader to benefit from public money. Without tax-funded public parks, where would the Sons and Daughters and Grandchildren and Second Cousins of Liberty hold these little fetes? Was the privately funded Unruh backyard not available, or did it just not have a lake to throw stuff into? Obviously, being aware and critical of government spending is an important part of being an informed citizen. But if this kind of goofiness is what we have to look forward to from conservative critics during the next four years, I question if theyâÄôre going to get very far. Will members of South Dakota Right to Life mount horses and go riding through our small towns, Paul Revere-style, to protest ObamaâÄôs Supreme Court nominee? Will tri-corner hats make a sudden comeback at county GOP meetings? That would actually be awesome. I would totally support that. Whatever direction this neorevolutionary movement takes, I think we can rest assured that it wonâÄôt actually accomplish anything âĦ which is fine with me. This column, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the Volante at the University of South Dakota. Please send comments to [email protected]