Via Tom Tomorrow I found a hilarious blog post by a guy in Indiana who reports that he pretended to be a wingnut in order to “infiltrate” and take pictures of one of the wingnuts’ “tea party” rallies of last week.
So my good friend Scott pointed out that for all of my talk about teabaggin’, I was strangely ambivalent about the opportunity to see one in the flesh. Well, my inner anthropologist and innate love of freaks won out in the end.
Resolved: I would walk freely among the teabaggers, pretending to be one so that I might learn of their ways.
The first question was if I could successfully infiltrate them. I’d need something like a Soldier of Fortune T-shirt, a bandana, a ratty old Army coat, and the ability to look like a mouth-breather with an IQ of 98.
(Actually, 98 is an average IQ, but you get the idea…)
The blogger posted the results of his undercover “research,” which I reproduce here as a copy and paste:
But what would we see there? Would there be misspellings?
Oh HELLSYEAH there would be misspellings. (If that’s not clear, the patriot’s sign reads, “Remember descent the highest form of patriotic.”) He sign make good! Was that an isolated example of poor facility with the English language?
I have a theory that you should never protest against something until you can spell it correctly. I must admit that I got a chuckle out of “Don’t Tax Me, Bro.” But now for the important questions: Would there be racist signs? Come on, tell me there would be racism.
Ha ha ha! Home-schooled rural Indiana kids hold the darnedest signs.
Would there also be wingnuttery? Would there be old people? White ones?
Guys hawking guns? Well, he knows his audience!
Yes, it was quite the human zoo. The thing is, everyone looked like they were having so much fun being furious, bitching, moaning and directing all sorts of hate at the concept of taxation.
I decided to give it a try with some archaic flags as a backdrop.
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I AM SO MAD ABOUT MY ENTIRELY REASONABLE TAX BURDEN WHICH IS THE SMALLEST IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD AND WILL GET SMALLER THANKS TO THE NEW PRESIDENT!
And now a word about the event. First, I must give non-ironic, sincere props to the event attendees. The weather was lousy and there were at least 150 people there. I tip my hat to that. Good turnout. The consensus estimates among my cohort (me, Liz, Scott, Amanda, Patti and Will) was somewhere between 150 and 200 attendees. That is respectable; now let’s get a good chuckle out of how ridiculously they inflate it.
The event itself lasted about four minutes. A guy with a bullhorn led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave a “speech” that lasted just long enough to pop a bag of microwave popcorn. At this point about half of the crowd left. Literally, they sighed a collective “OK, I’ve done my part” and ambled back to their SUVs.
What remained was a smaller number of vocal sign-wavers who lined a street that receives very little traffic and shouted at passing cars. They seemed to be mistaking the horn honks and waves as an upswell of support, but I think most of the passersby were making fun of them.
In summary, the crowd was decently sized, 99.9% white, 90% over 60 or under 6, 50% cowboy-hatted, and REALLY angry about … something. It was far from a grassroots political movement. It was a bunch of people who overcame their revulsion toward other people long enough to stand in the same place for 180 seconds before disbanding and rushing to the nearest Waffle House.
No real media showed up and, in a not-coincidence I’ll have much more to say about next week, there was no police presence. I guess big groups of white people without permits don’t necessitate quite as many angry cops as an anti-war rally!
It was an honest oversight, I’m sure. Just remember, this is the face of real America, and the face of a new revolution sweeping the nation. Look upon it and tremble:
Yes, there is the mention of the wingnutty conspiracy theory that President Obama isn’t a bona fide U.S. citizen, and thus could not have been elected president, although, of course, the same Repugnican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court that simply handed the presidential election to George W. Bush in late 2000 surely would have intervened at the wingnuts’ behest if there truly were a problem with Obama’s citizenship.
And I love the “capitalism = prosperity” sign. Because look how great the United States of America is doing under capitalism right now! (To be a Repugnican or a wingnut, you have to believe that up is down and down is up. George Orwell is spinning in his grave like a top on crack.)
Anyway, blogger Ed rocks. I love his “infiltrator’s” outfit and his line, “I AM SO MAD ABOUT MY ENTIRELY REASONABLE TAX BURDEN WHICH IS THE SMALLEST IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD AND WILL GET SMALLER THANKS TO THE NEW PRESIDENT!”
Yes, I agree with Ed that the “DON’T TAX ME BRO” sign (modeled after “Don’t taze me, bro!”) is funny (just as a broken clock displays the correct time twice a day, sometimes the wingnuts actually can manage to be funny), although I’ve seen the sign elsewhere, and although as photographed above it of course lacks the punctuation that Ed so generously gave it.*
And “Don’t tax me, bro!” is funny although, as I recently pointed out, most of the solidly red states** actually receive more than $1 from the federal government for every $1 that they pay into the federal government, while most of the solidly blue states receive less than $1 from the fed for every $1 that they give the fed, so for the denizens of these red states actually to be pissing and moaning that they are overtaxed by the federal government is beyond surreal.
As I said, let’s let these red-state “revolutionaries” secede and see how well they succeed without us blue-staters who keep their sorry asses afloat.
*Speaking of incorrect punctuation and spelling, I do believe that it was Ted Rall who once quipped that the future belongs to those who can spell…
**I define a “solidly red state” as a state that went to George W. Bush in 2004 and to John McCainosaurus in 2008 and a “solidly blue state” as a state that went to John Kerry in 2004 and to Barack Obama in 2008.