The date of April 15th could not have been more fortuitous to those opposed to taxes in Wilmington, NC, to hold a "tea party." There had been another "tea party" a few days earlier on April 7th on the steps of the Federal Court House over the issue of annexation of a tract of land within New Hanover County by the City of Wilmington, the county seat.
Hundreds of protesters gathered both inside and outside the City Hall to voice their opinion that annexation is taxation without representation. Those in favor of annexation, including the City Council members, see annexation as the mechanism by which Wilmington, and other cities throughout the State of North Carolina, is able continue to grow and to draw income to stay viable.
The right to annex by cities is guaranteed by law in the State of North Carolina, and it has played a great role in preventing urban decay and prevented cities from dying by allowing them to continually grow its tax base. Without such right, one can easily imagine a city like Detroit that, as the citizens and their businesses flee from the city into the suburbs and elsewhere, is left without a tax base. In North Carolina, however, because the cities are permitted to annex, they have been able to continually grow their tax base, stay viable, and provide services to their citizens.
The latest attempt by the City of Wilmington has been marred by protests. As it turns out, most of the protesters were not even from the area to be annexed. They were those who came to the steps of the City Hall to protest taxes in general. These protests continued on April 15th, on tax day, and the word "tax" continue to be the anathema to them.
But what exactly are they protesting? This report from the local newspaper Wilmington Start News says it all:
'Bail me Out!' That was the message written on Paul Mason's blue poster board that he held up to cars passing through the intersection of College Road and Oleander Drive at rush hour Wednesday evening.
'Bail me out instead of bailing everybody else out,' Mason said. 'I'm a hard-working, tax-paying citizen. Bail me out.'
This is a curious statement by someone who joined the protesters to oppose to taxes, bail-outs, and other government spending. However, the above statement reveals a curious and hypocritical thinking in many of those who are opposed to taxes: "It is ok to bail me out, but it is not ok to bail others out. Money spent on me is not a waste, only the money spent on others."This is the kind of ill logic that Keith Olberman exposed in Sarah Palin back in March when she refused the stimulus money for education.
It is that kind of weird logic: "taxes are bad if I have to pay them, they are good if others pay to help me out; stimulus is bad is it happens to others, it is good if it happens to me."
As the drama of these "tea parties" unfolds, some things remain certain. Some Americans just don't like to pay taxes. No matter how the taxes are used, even the word "taxes" is an anathema to some.
It is a critical time for politicians to be responsible. Those politicians who are fueling this fire of anger over taxes are not doing the nation any good. At a time when we need to all come together as a nation and see through the economic crisis, this is not the kind of rhetoric that we need. Rick Perry's insinuation at a secession, Michele Bachmann's charges of anti-American activities within the Congress, all of those who are jumping on the bandwagon, need to seriously look at what is happening and stop fomenting civil unrest.
I suggest that Sarah Palin, who so divided America during the election between pro- and anti-Americas, would be a person to start the process.