I don’t normally ‘get into politics’ with my patients. First of all I don’t have the time. Second, knowing their political views (whether similar or not to my own) gets in the way of the neutrality of treatment.

On the other hand, stupid people drive me effing crazy.  I should clarify my terms. Stupidity is different than ignorance.  I am “ignorant” how to change the oil in my car; I don’t know the means to do so. But with learning, I think I could do it. Until then, I defer my ignorance to someone who knows. I often tell people I don’t have an opinion on something as I don’t have the facts needed to form an educated opinion.

If I didn’t know how to change the oil but know damn well how it is done and how it should be done, well, this defines stupidity for me.

I have a handful of patients who identify their political views as “Tea Party members”.  (By the way, all five of them are either on Social Security disability, or receive Medicare).  I realize an ‘N” of 5 is a small number upon which to derive opinion. Perhaps they don’t represent the majority of tea party people. After all, they are seeing a psychiatrist for some sort of mental illness.

What burns my bacon is their stupidity of American history, particularly towards The Boston Tea Party. You would think they would want to know all about the event from which they derive their name. I’ve asked them what they know but the event; not one of them knows much about it – or has the facts right.  All five tell me it happened because citizens were angry that England raised the tax on tea. The Tea Party was a protest about high taxes. “Is there more?” I asked each of them. No, there is nothing more – it was about higher taxes, spoken with conviction.

I am taking a course on American History, and the professor repeated something I have heard before. The British government was trying to assist the ailing East India Company, so it LOWERED taxes on tea, hoping the lower price would promote better sales and help out the Company.  The tax was lowered on tea for all in the empire, not just in the colonies.

Some of the original Tea Party members made money through smuggling.  Their illegal tea was cheaper than the official stuff. The newly tax reduced less expensive competed with their ‘business’. So one of the reasons for destroying the tea was typical self-preservation.

Bostonians also felt the cheaper tea was some sort of trap. If they started buying more tea, would the British Government would come back and start re-taxing the tea?

Like most events, the elements that went into TBTP were complex.  But higher taxes apparently wasn’t one of them. I suggest to modern day Tea Party members they focus on what was behind the event – anger at a government for seeing us merely as “plantation owners” without the full rights and respects of subjects.

I would be more likely to ‘hear” Tea Party member’s issues if they didn’t sound so stupid misquoting history.

And please stop slandering my favorite beverage.

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