A constitutional threat

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The Globe’s editorial early in the month welcoming Sarah Palin and tea party activists was fine. But Globe commentators are flailing wildly at this point about who TP activists are. It’s boring, overwrought and hypocritical.

Neal Gabler draws a parallel between the tea partiers and, uh, al-Qaeda leaders.

Neal, take the chill pill. (No, not the blue one.) As my daughter puts it so eloquently, Neal is talking a pig pile o’ poopie. (Working on her writing for content: I know “a pile o’ pig poopie” is a more sensible articulation.)

In Neal’s world, people who marched against the wars from 2001-2008, accusing the previous administration of blood for oil, fascism, racism, and “genocide” against Arabs are fine. They may have forgotten the way to the Mall in Washington now, even as the two wars continue. They may not say a word about drone attacks – a third front – in Pakistan, which have intensified. I agree with that. Let them march.

But somehow the tea partiers are beyond acceptable norms of protest. Huh? Tea party folks are ticked off about the centralization of power in DC and insouciance about tax burdens. Yup, some signs are over the top. Signs about King George Bush II were not nice, and neither were those about King George III and the “Wilkes and Liberty” assemblies in the 1770s. Go back and read the documents of the time. Neal and company sound like the loyalists who couldn’t sully themselves with the sight of an “American” assembly. To them, they were uncontrollable rabble — a mob.

A scene from the Wilkes & Liberty "riots"

But Neal and company are so busy focusing on worrisome signs that they forget to look in the hands of the tea partiers. In Boston no one was “clinging to guns and religion.” Instead, what so many had in their hands were pocket-sized constitutions. Constitutions. These folks are worried that the president is driving to change our federalist system, and they feel no responsiveness from DC to their concerns.

Caution is always necessary when you have large assemblies. No one likes a mob. But those assembled in Boston were anything but a mob. I was there. And I’d go again. I’ll hang with anybody who carries a constitution.