What is a "Tax Day Tea Party?" Well, I'm told that it's a protest "aimed at expressing outrage over government spending."
Apparently there really isn't all that much outrage out there. Only about 3,500 people attended the Tea Party in New York City, and only 1,000 in Washington D.C. That's pretty weak turnout, considering that the events were openly sponsored and extensively promoted by Fox News, as well as by a lot of big-money Republicans. When 500,000 or more protested the war in Iraq in New York, I thought it was worthy of attention. These protests were more like, well, a tempest in a teacup.
I did find one thing about this week's protests to be interesting. Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up with the Federal government that they might want to secede from the Union.
Texas wants to leave the Union? Good. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Lincoln should have let the South go at the end of the Civil War. Once the institution of slavery was dead, why not?
This country has always had two fundamentally opposed philosophies. One is the "Christian Conservative" philosophy, mostly popular in the South. The other is the "rational" philosophy, favored by people who actually use their brains. We live mostly in the North.
So please, Texas, take America's evangelicals and go. Make a new country the way you want it. This will give the rest of us the chance to make the U.S. government work without having to worry about you winning the next election and dragging us back down into another superstitious, war-mongering nightmare. Nate Silver wrote a nice post this week about how the secession of Texas would cripple the Republican Party in the U.S.
What would the independent government of Texas look like? To answer that question, I think we just need to review the platform of the Texas Republican Party. Details here, here and here:
* Christianity as official state religion.
* Education based on vouchers for private, religious schools rather than public schools.
* Assistance for the needy based only on government supported "faith-based initiatives."
* The elimination of income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax, capital gains, corporate income tax, payroll tax and property tax. Sales tax, of course, is just dandy.
* No social security.
* No institutions equivalent to the Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, the position of Surgeon General, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Commerce and Labor, the National Endowment for the Arts and Public Broadcasting System.
* No membership in the United Nations.
* No minimum wage.
* Perpetual war against "radical Islam."
* Prayer in schools.
* Teaching "intelligent design."
* No affirmative action.
* No reproductive freedom.
* Legal prohibition of homosexuality. Also, the re-imposition of archaic "sodomy" laws that affect even married heterosexuals.
* Criminalization of illegal immigration.
* A private sector "unencumbered by excessive government regulation."
* No nude statues in public places.
You probably think I made that last one up. I wish I had. I wish I didn't live in a country with people who think this way. Yes, I wish they'd leave.