The Icelandic Tea Party movement

There are calls for further protests today in Iceland, and I am beginning to wonder what is taught in civics classes in Iceland. In the U.S., the basic concept of a representative government is that lots of people have a ton of different ideas and there exists a body in the land where those ideas are discussed by elected officials. After they have talked about a subject for a long time, a bill passes, full of messy compromises, the joke being that the perfect bill is the one that makes no one happy.

Now Jefferson, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King taught us that there are times when it is absolutely incumbent on the citizens to rise up in protest against their government, that each of us retains that right not only to vote but also to say "no"!

In the Winter of 2008, Icelanders went and protested their Althingi. I was surprised at the violence associated with it, but I also found it appalling that no one from the government had stepped down in the wake of the huge financial collapse, so I definitely understood where the anger was coming from. But there is a huge difference between protesting against a government that refused to acknowledge it did the slightest thing wrong and protesting against a government that acknowledges the depth of the problems and is scrambling around trying to fix it.

Perhaps they have not hit upon the most efficient of solutions in the quickest possible period of time, but in my experience, that is a sign of a elected body trying to balance the needs of a huge variety of people, rather than exclusively catering to the needs of the few.


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