People have always rallied against the President and Congress regardless of whether Democrats were in power or Republicans were in power. However, with the unprecedented level of media attention (and at times actual support) of fringe elements – including the Tea Party – has a line been crossed?
It is of little surprise that Fox News, for instance, has leaned strongly to the right on all political issues, but their support of – and heavy media coverage of – the Tea Party may have crossed a line into a very dark area: sedition. It seems almost apocryphal to even think this, but the more time that goes by and the more the media – especially Fox News - heavily covers this, the more it seems seditious. Members of the group itself have – at times – threatened the President’s life during the campaign and beyond prompting more than a single visit from the Secret Service to residents. But where does free speech end and sedition begin?
According to the Sedition Act of 1798, the following activity is criminal and considered sedition:
…inter alia, malicious writings which defamed, brought into contempt or disrepute, or excited the hatred of the people against the Government, the President, or the Congress, or which stirred people to sedition.
There has certainly been a gray area here for many years in regard to how you can interpret this vs. freedom of speech. However, in the last year, we have seen certain members (retired and active) of congress publicly support tea party discussions about overthrowing elements of their government and even Texas Governor Perry talked publicly and loudly about possibly seceding from the Union. Even Clarence Thomas’ wife formed her own (not legally registered, by the way) Tea Party.
Alone, these acts may not add up to sedition, but together, with support from members of congress, Fox News, and several state Governors, it seems to me that we are talking about sedition. The tea party itself has been unabashed about it’s intentions – even mentioning civil war and taking back their country. Combined with the violence at Tea Party rallys, threats to the President’s life, threats to physically replace members of congress – specifically by name – then there is no doubt: their acts and support of their acts in rallying civil war, violence, and overthrowing undesirable parts of the U.S. government is nothing less than sedition.
Watch this video for a quick sample of a very common Tea Party sentiment.