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Several years ago, while vacationing in the Northeast, we stopped in Boston, toured the usual historic sites, then headed for the harbor to participate in a re-enactment of one of the great human protests in American history.

We threw tea overboard.

Up yours, King George.

The ship moored in the harbor was a replica of an old 18th Century British sailing vessel. From the deck, we hoisted the large bale of tea up and over the rail, pitching it into the waters of Boston Harbor.

Only this particular bale of tea had a rope attached. It could then be retrieved back aboard ship so the next tourist in line could have their Boston Tea Party historic protest.

Silly.

The protest line today doesn’t involve tourists throwing a symbolic tea bale into the harbor, but the current day political Tea Party movement takes its lead from the historic event of colonial citizen protest.

Fed up with warring political parties, feeling left out of the flow, folks are lining up with new movements, designed to get the attention of government power bases.

You might call it a modern day angry, symbolized by the colonists dumping tea into the Boston Harbor in protest of the tea tax during revolutionary days.

It’s the new Tea Party, raising its angry head last year, protesting huge government spending, the bailouts and the growing national debt.

Tea Party also has been fielding some candidates for Congress, but reports indicate their hoe has a heavy row to plow, candidates not getting as much financial and voter support as originally believed.

The Tea Party movement has drawn 617 more Republicans running in congressional primaries than ran in the last midterm election, according to the Federal Elections Commission. The number of Democratic candidates remains relatively unchanged, which means Tea Party candidates are cutting up the Republican primaries.

Now comes the Coffee Party, organized a few weeks ago, with a National Coffee Day, on March 13. In 44 states, about 350 parties organized to foster change through civility. Its goal was unity, not division.

Tea Party folks are loud, fear based, not reality based, say its opponents. Some even show up at rallies armed.

Another Coffee Party organizer said the Tea Party does not represent the America they knew.

“We object to obstructionism and extreme political tactics that in many was just deliberate misinformation, ” one organizer said. Coffee Party members want less yelling and more talking, a civil dialogue of all viewpoints.

One of the leaders of the Coffee Party, said, “We just wanted to find a way to make it fun and bring back that feeling of civic pride that pretty much all Americans had in 2008. What I saw was people who were really, really proud to get a chance to vote for John McCain—after eight years. To vote for a war hero—and people proud to vote for the first 21st-century, multi-ethnic, citizen-of-the world candidate. I felt so good about our democracy in 2008 … we’re just trying to bring people back in.

So take your pick of protest—coffee or tea. Both these movements have Web sites, so you can access additional information if you are interested.

Thursday, April 15, the Tea Party is hosting a rally in Willis Park from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with guest speaker Lenny McAllister, author of “Diary of A Mad Black.”

Tea Party has definite views on its core values—fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, free markets. Be not surprised, they also support repeal of the health care law.

Coffee Party claims to be 100 percent grass roots, not hanging itself onto the Democratic Party—no lobbyists, no pundits and no hyper-partisan strategists calling the shots.

They “demand a government that responds to the needs of the majority of its citizens as expressed by our votes and by our voices, not corporate interests as expressed by misleading advertisements and campaign contributions,” so stated on its Web site.

So again take your pick of protest—Coffee or Tea.

For fun, next time you’re in Boston, swing by the harbor and toss that tea bale into the water.

While you are there, don’t miss the gift shop.