Question: What’s the difference between a tea party and a TEA Party?
A tea party comprises a group of people with shared interests engaging in peaceful (usually) chat.
A TEA Party comprises a group of people with shared interests engaging in peaceful (usually) protest.
Some folks seem to be upset by the current TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Parties taking place around the USA — and even a few around the globe. They say that political tea parties are not compatible with the serenity of sipping tea (Camellia sinensis), or that associating tea with politics damages the tea industry.
Throughout history, however, tea has often been associated with political activism. More than a hundred years ago, Susan B. Anthony planned strategy that resulted in the vote for women — at a tea party in New York. Even more well-known, of course, was Sam Adams and The Sons of Liberty’s dumping of English tea into Boston Harbour to make an important political statement in 1773. This was followed by the dumping and burning of English tea throughout the thirteen colonies who were to become the nascent United States of America.
Following the example of the colonial tea parties — namely, demanding that our taxes pay for true representation in our government — seems quite reasonable to a growing number of American citizens, taxpayers, and voters.
The way I see it, attending a TEA Party event isn’t all that different from attending a tea party in a tea room. Both are, in essence, about paying someone to provide us with the services they have stated that they offer.
At a tea room, if the menu says they serve tea and fresh-baked scones, but you actually receive wheatgrass juice and dry toast, wouldn’t you ask what’s going on, why they’re not providing you with the the products they promised? If the tea room owner tells you “I know what you ordered, but I want to serve you something else because I think it’s better for you,” wouldn’t you feel that the tea room had misrepresented itself? And perhaps that they had no respect for you?
Likewise, if we put someone into public office because they told us they’d look out for our interests, and then when we tell them what we think is right for us they in turn tell us “I know what you asked for, but I want to give you something else because I think it’s better for you,” wouldn’t you feel that the “representative” had misrepresented themself? And perhaps that they have no respect for us?
When a tea room (or a tea seller) does not live up to their promises, and will not provide us with those things we have asked for, we simply take our shopping dollars and go elsewhere. That privilege is inherent in our free-market economy. In fact, it’s our responsibility not to pay for poor quality, to ensure that low-quality goods and services are pushed out of the marketplace by products that maintain higher standards.
Similarly, when our government does not deliver what it promises, and will not provide us with those things we have asked for, the U.S. Constitution endows American citizens with not only the right and the privilege but also with the responsibility to speak out against misrepresentation and malfeasance.
Political TEA Parties encourage citizens to involve themselves in maintaining the good order of our fair republic — just as the country’s Founders envisioned it. And yes, once again, tea is their emblem of protest. Far from damaging tea’s image, however, it seems to me to be quite the opposite. TEA Parties recognize tea as a symbol of a strong democracy, of a robust citizenry, and of freedom, liberty, justice … and of course good health. Now, what could be more elevating than that?
Several tea companies have in the past offered to provide tea at no cost to their local TEA Party organizers. I invite tea companies — retail and wholesale — who will make these donations to email their business name, contact information, and details about which geographic locations they will supply with tea. Links to websites of all tea companies who respond will be posted here, also at no charge.
If you object to TEA parties mainly because web searches so often return political stories rather than material about tea itself, not to worry! While this can indeed be frustrating, here’s how to avoid the problem: When you’re searching on “tea,” just add a minus sign before the words “party,” “parties,” or any other words you want the search to ignore. By the way, this works with any web search ;-).
# # # #