In colonial times, patriots dumped tea in Boston harbor in protest of unfair taxation by the tyrannical British. In today's Washington, the tyrants are members of the tea party. How ironic.

They trumpet their patriotism in the form of intransigence to reduce the scope of government, saving it even if it means destroying it. Their allegiance is pledged to Grover Norquist instead of their oath of office to govern.

The real threat posed by these rabid tea party freshmen is their completely clueless disregard in linking the raising of the debt ceiling to their fanatical demands. As one member remarked, if the government defaults on August 2, "the sun will still rise on August 3rd." Responsible circles deem a default by the U.S. government as nothing short of catastrophic.

The Republican strategy is a toxic brew of discredited trickle-down economics and a bare-faced attack on President Obama's re-election. Meanwhile, no legislation has come out of Congress to address unemployment and the associated ills that have befallen the nation in the recession.

The Democrats must stand firm. The polls have shown that Americans strongly oppose the Republicans in their attempts to hold the nation hostage with their destructive policies.

Jerome Shapiro, Pikesville