As a former resident of the Boston area, I am well acquainted with the original "Boston Tea Party" and I take exception to the current use of the phrase for the following reasons.
1. The original participants of the event in 1773 refused to purchase the tea, told the ships to return to England with the tea and when the parties refused, broke onto the ships, seized the tea and threw it into Boston harbor, for which all of Boston was punished.
2. The current "tea-partiers" purchase their tea and ceremonially toss their tea into the water and make impassioned speeches, having broken no law. If the "Sons of Liberty" had purchased their tea, the British would have had no objection. Once the British had their money, the Americans could "bloody well" do whatever they wanted to with "their" tea.
I understand the good intentions of this group; but I see the current tea party as poor in comparison to the original article that I am familiar with. Glenn Beck is no Sam Adams. As a letter stated in a recent Time magazine, if they really want to emulate the Boston Tea Party, throw their Medicare cards and unemployment checks into the water and accept the consequences. Protests are worthless without risk.
Ben Franklin's quote about "hanging together or hanging individually" was not referring to hanging pictures or political signs.
Mr. Dana Lee Phipps