Why is everyone so flipped out about these tea parties? I think it is a great piece of American street theater, and unlike the Vietnam war protests it will not change American policy one iota unless millions and millions of people show up. The numbers really have to be huge as at least 1.8 million Americans came to President Obama's inauguration in January. That is about one in every 180 Americans showing up in one city for one event. Small numbers are not going to have an impact in Washington.

Protesting is what makes our country great. It works as steam vent. People get upset, they have a protest, and most of them go back to their lives and they go back to watching TV. On average, Americans watch over 100 hours of television a month. It's a great tranquilizer. These "tea parties" are no different.

The tea parties are shortsighted and selfish even if they're a lot of fun for a day.

The financial predicament is so very great that just cutting taxes is not going to work this time. The rescue needs to be targeted and it needs to instill confidence in our trading and investment partners abroad. The tea parties are shortsighted and selfish even if they're a lot of fun for a day. As I write this the conservative talk show personalities are railing at the Department of Homeland Security for supposedly putting out a memo to watch out for all of these protesters on tax day. This tea bag day is just a lot of steam release with nothing really brewing. Let them protest till their heart's content. It is just the American way.

Ellen Ratner joined Fox News Channel as a contributor in October 1997. Currently, Ratner serves as chief political correspondent and news analyst for "Talk Radio News Service" where she analyzes events, reports breaking news, and provides lively interviews with newsmakers in government and entertainment. She is founder of "Goats for the Old Goat." Over the last three years, donations have been made to acquire goats for liberated slaves who were returning to South Sudan. More than 7,000 goats have been donated to the people of South Sudan to provide sustainable sustenance for their families and a means to begin their lives again.