(Photo from the Boston Tea Party Historical Society)
Once upon a time a group of colonists dressed up as Native Americans dumped crates of tea into Boston Harbor. This was an act of vandalism pure and simple.
Today's Tea Party Teapot Crackpots, showing their lack of knowledge of American history, want to believe the tea dumping was an act of patriotism against high taxes. Not so.
Another explanation would have us believe the tea dumping was a patriotic act to protest the fact that although the colonists paid taxes to the British Crown, they were not represented in Parliament. So they sang the old song, "No taxation without representation." Not so much.
It was on December 16, 1773, when these colonists/vandals desecrated English tea by tossing it into the dark waters. The tea belonged to the British East India Company, so by stealing and destroying the tea, the best that can be said of them is they were criminals/felons and quite stupid.
But wait, the Tea Act, which was supposedly the focus of the colonists anger, lowered the duty/tariff on British tea imported to the colonies. So, the colonists couldn't have been angry about paying higher taxes and the old saw about "No taxation without representation" doesn't make a lot of sense.
What were they upset about?
Leland Gregory, in his book, Stupid American History, explains:
"Because once British tea was affordable, it would ruin America's lucrative trade in black-market tea, because three-fourths of the tea sold in America was smuggled in by John Hancock. Now the whole idea of dressing up like Indians makes sense, doesn't it?"
Today in these United States, the people pay lower taxes than most every other country in the world. Many of our corporations and our very wealthy pay almost no taxes, and some, in fact, do pay no taxes. They hide their profits in off-shore accounts or like General Electric, they hire hundreds of lawyers to do nothing except look for loopholes that the company can use to evade paying its fair share of taxes.
The Tea Party was hijacked early on by corporate interests, some funded and supported by the Koch brothers, although you wouldn't know that by their names. For example, Americans for Prosperity has a "patriotic-sounding" name but is actually a well-funded Koch brothers enterprise which sows seeds of untruths and dissension in the country, especially when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.
Partly because so many folks attracted to the Tea Party are not highly educated and easily swayed by the waving of flags and by those racists who will never accept a half-white man in the White House, and by men in suits suggesting that the president may not have been born in the United States and is probably a secret Muslim, etc., and by such demagogues as Ted Cruz (probably one of the most dangerous men to surface in this country since Joe McCarthy), the Tea Party has been able to gain the allegiance of a surprising number of people in and out of government.
The name, Tea Party, is certainly misleading however. Like the first tea party crackpots, they're not concerned so much with taxes (except to ensure that the rich pay as little as possible for they might also become rich some day) as it is to hijack the government to remold it into their fascist, totalitarian system which, from the rhetoric spewed by the likes of Sarah Palin, will be run according to faux Christian standards and be characterized by wars of vengeance and regime change.