Civil Disobedience: It Worked for the Hippies, Why Not the Tea Party?

10/10/2013 04:20 pm ET | Updated Dec 10, 2013

If I were to tell you that in Washington, D.C., right now there is mounting pressure among an entrenched minority to correct grievous oversights of government and the abuses of a powerful few... which of these would you say I'm describing?

A. Tea Party House Republicans working to abolish Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act

B. Members of the Oneida Indian Nation working to change Dan Snyder's Redskins team name

C. Wall Street executives working to preempt a federal government default

D. Transparency advocates working to curb access of government agencies to personal and private information

E. Second amendment supporters working to turn back tougher gun laws

F. Immigration law reformers working to ease paths to citizenship

Answer: All of the above.

If I were to tell you that in Washington, D.C., right now there are acts of civil disobedience that are soon to be called criminal... which of these would you say I'm describing?

A. Tea Party House Republicans

B. Members of the Oneida Indian Nation

C. Wall Street executives

D. Transparency advocates

E. Second amendment supporters

F. Immigration law reformers

Answer: Tea Party House Republicans

In Washington, every day, there are factions that vie to make their voices heard and to change policy accordingly. But none of the aforementioned are as close to imperiling the nation as the score of Congressmen who have brought government to a stand-still and who, by their actions, also seem capable of putting our debts into default.

In the lexicon of the playmaker, we are only a few news cycles away from Barack Obama and his surrogates (read: Harry Reid or AG Eric Holder) from running the mother of all Label plays -- accusing Cruz & Co. of criminal negligence in their congressional duties and following with plays like the Ping or Trial Balloon to test the public appetite for their removal from office, even perhaps their arrest. They did as much to draft dodgers. Why not health care deniers? The play is sure to incite the anarchists, hostage-takers, ransomers, and spoiled brats (those are the labels they've already born) and invite calls by GOP rank-and-file for Obama's impeachment (which has already been said, but never with serious intent). Thus, the strategy gridlock we are witnessing in Washington will only reach new heights.

A half-century ago, it was the likes of The Chicago Seven and so many anti-establishment hippies that appalled conservatives and challenged an imperious war. Now, it is the likes of the Tea Party, Ted Cruz and so many gerrymandered district voters who are appalling liberals and challenging social programs.

In either case, their actions are serious, dangerous and some are soon to say illegal. So the question is: Will today's establishment endure or compromise with a vocal and radical minority? Or will it attempt to crush a rebellion, this one of a legislative ilk? History suggests that the restive will win, certainly not overnight, but in the long run.