We got a press release last week from a group called the Knoxville Patriots, which is convening on Wednesday afternoon at World's Fair Park at 3 for a patriotic "tea party." It's headed with the old Revolutionary-era banner, "Unite, or Die."
The announcment opens hopefully, and appealingly: "The goal of this coalition is aimed at getting all Americans, regardless of their political-party affiliation, to put aside their differences and return to the same spirit of solidarity and pride they displayed the 'day after' September 11, 2001, when our country was attacked."
Sounds great so far. We were about to put it on our calendar, and see if we could find our three-cornered hats in the attic. But then, toward the end of the second paragraph, it mentions that there's another goal of this reunion: "for citizens to express their opposition to wasteful government spending and the rapid rise of big government." (Somehow we suspect they're exempting all major invasions of recent years.)
So you're welcome to come to the party no matter how much you hate big government. It's open to both conservative Republicans and conservative Democrats. All degrees of conservatism are welcome.
Is it possible to be a Knoxville Patriot and, say, appreciate the need for, say, a national health-care plan that makes it possible for Americans, even those who don't work for large corporations, to afford health care?
For most of us, federal taxes, which pay for the military, veterans' benefits, road-building projects, and many other programs unquestioned by conservatives, comprise the only bill we pay only once a year, and it's often an uncomfortable day, even for liberals.
If our medical bills, including prescription costs and insurance premiums, all came due on one particular day of the year, there might be another sort of tea party.