Officially, tax day is not until Monday this year, but that will not stop those aligned with the Tea Party here from taking part in a demonstration tomorrow in front of East Hampton Town Hall. April 15 has been designated as the day for protests across the country for a couple of years to draw attention to what the movement’s proponents see as wrong with Washington. The beliefs that drive their agenda are that the federal government has overstepped constitutional bounds and is loading up on debt that will hurt future generations.
The most unusual aspect of the Tea Party, perhaps, is that it has no governing structure or central command. Its Web site promises to attack politicians who do not adhere to its principles, regardless of party. Instead, it is a loosely connected web of activists and groups who share a range of ideas about what they think is wrong with the country’s direction. Any number of political figures have tried to jump up and claim leadership, but so far no one has managed to do so successfully.
The “Contract From America,” which has been promulgated as the movement’s core text, is a hodgepodge of fiscal conservatism, blanket generalities, states’ rights ideas, and industry-friendly policies. Among the latter are opposition to greenhouse gas regulation and support for oil drilling and nuclear power. This is hardly the kind of thing that usually gets ordinary citizens out in the streets.
Rain or shine, the Tea Party faithful will be out tomorrow, at Town Hall and across the country. Their willingness to speak out is to be respected, whether you agree with them or not.