Friday, March 6, 2009

Tea Bags to Washington

I received an email from a friend in my Sunday School class this morning. The missive was a general tirade against any bailout spending, similar in tone to the Rick Santelli tirade. I will not address the simplistic thinking behind the tirade or the lack of Christian love contained in such a message. Suffice it to say that the underlying assumption of misbehavior on the part of all needing help is questionable. Even if all had misbehaved, Christ instructed us to love our enemies and if financial miscreants are enemies, which I doubt, I believe Christ would have wanted to help them. Moreover, who are we to judge?

My focus was on the instruction to mail a tea bag to Washington on April 1, 2009. The idea is a new American Tea Party, a way of protest. While I think the underlying protest is misguided, I believe fully that those who support this anti-Obama tirade have every right to complain. However, I believe these protesters have chosen an absurd and deleterious method of protest.

Tea bags should not be mailed anywhere unless they are completely empty. What if a tea bag punctures while in route? Tea all over post office machines is not a pleasant thought. What will loose tea leaves do to the machinery? Nothing good, I bet. Of course, the sight of a strange substance contaminating a sorting center will lead to a security shutdown of that site which it should. How does a worker know that the crumbled leaves are pristine? What if the tea has been mixed with a toxic substance? The Post Office could be disabled nationwide.

If the tea bag stuffed envelopes do make it through the post office machinery unharmed, what will happen when they reach their destination, say the White House. A squishy envelope will surely not survive security. How much extra will it cost us, the taxpayers, for the additional security to scrutinize each of these envelopes? I suspect that even if empty teabags were sent, they would have to be examined to determine what substances they contain or contained. Either way, a taxpayer expense. Isn't taxpayer expense being protested?

What will keep a terrorist from using this protest to slip an illicit substance into the mail? Remember anthrax? Think of hundreds of poison-laced tea bags making their way through the mail to Washington. How many would make it to their destination? How many would harm people on the way? Even if there were only one such poisoned tea bag mailed, how could it be stopped except by finding all such mailings? One person growing careless because of the deluge of tea bags would be all that is necessary for a disaster.

A new American Tea Party would be better held on the local level. Throw teabags at each other, don't endanger the rest of us.

Photo by House of Sims

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