At some point in the struggle to regain power, it becomes easier for a ruler to exempt an unruly but powerful subject from punishment than to suffer defeat. During this exemption phase, it became increasingly easy for the Loyalists to desert the throne and align themselves with the Patriots, who were gaining power and the admiration of the populace. Many of those formerly in power—the American Loyalists, dedicated to the British crown, for example—began to believe and act on the very things they once railed against, conforming to the ideology and actions of their previous enemies. This we shall call the conforming phase. The final phase is the transformation phase, in which the ideology of the resistance movement becomes the mainstream philosophy governing a now changed society. And in the case of the American Revolution, the ideas of the old Tea Party—less central government, more local rule, and more personal responsibility—became the basis for a new society that rapidly rose to the pinnacle of the world.
The New Tea Party: DIRECTing America Today
The old Tea Party would probably have never been birthed if large segments of the colonial population had not felt oppressed and betrayed by the very government that was supposed to be taking care of their needs. If one were to make an acrostic of the first letters of each of these phases—denial, ignore, resistance, exempt, conforming, and transformation—one gets the word DIRECT, and that's basically what happened: an enthusiastic group of fervent believers was able to direct a fledgling new nation away from corrupt, oppressive, nonrepresentative government to a fairer, limited, and representative government.
Now let's look at the same DIRECT acrostic with respect to the new Tea Party. Late in 2008 and early in 2009, a number of things happened that caused great concern to a large number of Americans. Among these were the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the bailout of several major financial agencies, and talk about dramatic reform of the nation's health care system. Scattered small protests about these things were seen around the nation, but the entrenched powers of government and most of the media denied their significance.
Then on February 19, 2009, a business news editor on CNBC by the name of Rick Santelli in a national broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange severely criticized government plans to refinance "underwater mortgages," those mortgages whose values are less than the balance owed because of the collapse in housing prices. Many of the derivative traders on the floor in the background applauded, and the hosts of the show were bewildered.