There comes an economic breaking point at which ordinary citizens say enough is enough. Government takes so much; federal income taxes are just the tip of the iceberg. Sales taxes, special taxes on certain products, mortgage taxes, property transfer taxes, real estate taxes, state and sometimes local income taxes, taxes on services such as cellphone usage, licensing and other fees, and it goes on and on.
But... the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn makes a very good point:
Sure, movements have effected change, and to the extent that regular protest rallies are a feature of movement politics you could say that public protests are sometimes effective in creating and sustaining momentum and raising awareness.
But one day or episodic protests like this week's "tea parties" against taxation?
Is that what those of us who are so angry we can't see straight right now want? To be nothing but a blip?
Even if all this teabaggery was organized around a specific plan or call to action, it would still be just so much noise without follow-up, growth and actual pressure on elected officials to sign-on or be voted out; a big-scale impotent tantrum on the order of the street protests outside the meetings of international leaders.
And that, my friends, is the challenge.
To get past our anger. To look for leaders among those who left their jobs to pick up a sign, who write or speak eloquently about not just what is wrong with government, but offer up real plans to fix government.
Republican and Democratic leadership are not listening. Most media disdains us.
We need to yank our own socks up, organize, and seek out new leaders from among ourselves.
Protesting is a good start, but only if we back it up with organization and candidates who reflect our own beliefs and values.
I don't know about you, but I never again want to go to the voting booth knowing that I am pulling the lever for the candidate who does the least harm.
I want to be able to vote for the candidate who can and will do the most good.
In order to do that, we must look beyond our anger and offer up solutions, votes and action.
Then, and only then, will Washington take us seriously.