Virtual Voices

Partying like it's 1773

Education

I've never been much of a political activist. OK, scratch that---I've never been a political activist, period. About all the protesting I've ever done has been in front of the TV, and with the crazy amount of money being sanctioned as OK to spend lately, I've been doing my fair share of yelling at the television.

That's why, when I heard of the Nationwide Tea Party Protest and that there would be a version of it in St. Louis, I knew I had to go. My girls and I have been studying American History this year, and since we learned about the Boston Tea Party, I knew I would be a homeschooling idiot to not take advantage of this prime teachable moment.

According to the #TCOT Report, I wasn't the only one: Citizens in 50 cities participated in the nationwide protest against government (over)spending, and more than 25,000 people showed up at the tea parties yesterday.

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Bill Hennessey, author and a conservative blogger in St. Louis, heard about the tea parties and organized one for our city. Word went out through local blogs and light television coverage. Bill expected 50 people to show up; estimates are that 1,000 did.

As my husband is a full-time teacher, I went with my girls. The main thing I wanted them to experience was that, though we disagree with the direction the government is taking us right now, we live in a country where we have the right to assemble regardless. We can meet together, we can voice our complaint, and we can try to do something---anything---about it. I made sure my girls knew there were places around the world where this right isn't guaranteed, and after seeing those thousand people, the lesson wasn't lost on them.

After the rally at the foot of the Arch, we went over to the river and "dumped" tea into it, symbolic of the colonists of 1773. It wasn't nearly as exciting as I imagine the original one was in 1773, but the spirit was certainly the same.

Do I think anyone in Washington really cares what we did yesterday? I don't know. But I saw how easy it is to actually do something instead of sit at home on my duff waiting for someone else to do it for me. Maybe one day, instead of yelling at the television, I'll be on it . . . or my kids will be . . . fighting with the freedom others fought for on our behalf.

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