I have always been a supporter of protests against government oppression. It’s our duty as members of this great country to engage in what Martin Luther King labeled civil disobedience. I joined several such movements in the 1960s and ‘70s. As a publisher of several weekly newspapers, I felt the sting of economic loss and personal attacks because of my stance. You can imagine my interest perked up when I learned about the Tea Party rallies. Seemed like a good old grass roots movement. Watching the new kids on the block proved interesting and then discouraging. I am getting mixed signals. The ship at the national level seems rudderless. No one has taken a position of leadership. Rather, local groups, identifying themselves as “patriots,” have sprung up all across the country. They pledge to support the national organization and attest to the mission of holding lawmakers fiscally accountable and standing for a strict compliance to the constitution. The majority of members lament the fact that they feel their freedoms are being taken away. They want the government out of their business. Signs and placards at their rallies proclaim the Obama administration is socialistic. When pressed for alternatives, the standard answer seems to be “lower taxes and less spending.” To this day, the TP has not linked to either of the country’s two major political parties. In most primary elections, they favor the extreme right-wing Republican candidates. The recent Arizona state legislation concerning immigration laws has presented the TP supporters an interesting challenge. Will they denounce the Arizona law on the basis that it violates the 4th Amendment to the Constitution? The amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures and is one of our most precious freedoms. What say you, Tea Partiers?