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Tea Partiers are planning another rally on the Washington (MO) riverfront soon.  Washington  votes Republican and is conveniently located across the Missouri River from St. Charles County, where former state rep Carl Bearden and his nest of co-conspirators run their Americans for Prosperity operation.

We need a coherent message to blunt (no pun intended) the right-wing anti-government rhetoric.  Someone on TV last night mentioned the impact of these anti-government rallies on our troops overseas.  Which got me thinking.  

So I sent this LTE to the Washington Missourian, the Meramec Valley Current and the Columbia Tribune this morning.  I hope this is a first draft of something we can use this summer and fall to prick the balloon of the tea party crowd.

Like many other Americans, I am trying to understand the recent public displays of outrage against our government, especially that of the UNITED STATES of America.  Our troops are fighting and dying to defend not only Americans in all 50 states and overseas, but also the legitimate government established by our democratic process.  They are in foreign countries trying to convince people who have never had a chance to take part in making decisions affecting their lives that democracy is the best way to go.

I wonder if the people who attend anti-government rallies realize that what they are doing has  a name.  “Sedition: Crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction.” (Brittanica Concise Dictionary)

There have been many acts of violence against our elected officials in recent weeks. The FBI is working overtime to break up terrorist groups in our own country and charging them with sedition.  The militia group arrested in Michigan last week planned to kill policemen.  What those people did was spelled out in the indictment against them.  They conspired “to  levy war against the United States, and to prevent, hinder, and delay by force the execution of any United States law.”  If the police are fair game, the next target could be our soldiers and other members of the armed services

State officials passing resolutions calling for defiance of federal laws is no less seditious than armed insurrection.  It may play to some kind of gut level passion, but it does nothing to solve our problems.  Ask any speaker at a protest rally how he or she plans to create millions of new jobs?  How are they going to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” by destroying the fabric of our democracy?  Slogans don’t pay the bills.  The excitement created by passionate but empty speeches fades quickly.  We all love a parade, but most of us know they don’t keep the country functioning.

If I could only understand why the anti-government radicals decided to organize now instead of when the damage to our country was being done years ago.  They didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. They didn’t get mad when Congress wrote blank checks for wars that we now can’t seem to end. (And don’t even ask how much of our money ended up in the hands of corrupt contractors.)

The debt everyone is screaming about was caused by increasing spending, mostly on wars, and giving a $900 billion tax break to the rich.  Anyone who pays bills knows you can’t increase spending and reduce income without going into debt.  When I see signs at rallies protesting how much debt we are passing on to our grandchildren, I wonder if the people holding those signs know that ExxonMobil paid NO income tax to the United States of America last year.  So every time we fill up, we pay more in federal tax for a single gallon of gasoline (18.4 cents) than ExxonMobil paid in U.S. income taxes in 2009. That’s in spite of the fact that the world’s second largest company had a gross operating profit of nearly $53 billion.

ExxonMobil did pay $15 billion in income taxes.  But not a dime of it went to the IRS, however, because they are allowed to set up subsidiaries with offices in other countries and pay taxes to them.  And Exxon is just one example.

Why aren’t people organizing protests about this blatant disregard for the solvency of our country?  Do those who will attend local rallies in coming weeks know or care about how huge corporations walk away from their responsiblities and leave us carrying the full load?  

I hope those who are conspiring to overthrow our government, either by armed force or by obstruction of process, give some serious thought to all those yellow ribbons we displayed years ago and the parades we held for our military heroes.  We are embarrassed now about the way our Vietnam era troops were treated when they came home.  In some ways, we are dishonoring our brave men and women in uniform now by spitting, not on them personally, but on the government they risk their lives to defend.

Please think twice before preaching secession.  We still haven’t fully recovered from our first Civil War.