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Pittsburgh has tea party to protest economy

Credit: Cassie Wallace/Photo Staff Credit: Cassie Wallace/Photo Staff

April 15, the deadline for filing taxes, saw a rather unique form of demonstration — Pittsburghers participated in the Pittsburgh tea party to protest a possible increase in taxes as a consequence of the stimulus package and the federal government bailouts.

This past Wednesday, nearly 1500 people gathered on the Allegheny River landing and threw tea bags into it, mimicking the revolutionary Boston Tea Party. Around 500 cities and towns across the nation held this tax day tea party to protest against the economic policies of the government, especially the multi billion-dollar stimulus package and the trillion-dollar budget.

The idea fora nationwide tea parties came from CNBC commenter Rick Santelli, who suggested that people protest the Obama administration’s “bad behavior” by having a tea party in Chicago. The idea took off from there and led to the creation of a website, taxdayteaparty.com, that listed all the confirmed tea party demonsration locations across the country. Pittsburgh’s tea party also had a Facebook group with information about the event.

Although the reasons for the demonstrations had nothing to do with tea, we believe that protesting in this way was a creative move on the part of the people. The demonstrators succeeded in grabbing the attention of the media with this unusual form of protest.

Although a number of media sources have mocked the tea parties — an opinion piece in The New York Times sarcastically called the tea parties “a symbolic rebellion for times that once again are trying men’s souls” — both good and bad publicity has succeeded in spreading the message of the protestors. Perhaps the demonstrators would not have received so much attention had they adhered to the traditional form of protest and just rallied across the country.

Although it remains to be seen how, if at all, the government will respond to these nationwide protests, we commend the demonstrators for coming up with an interesting way to put forth their demands.