So, this guy calls up the radio show that I'm on and invites me to attend the Tea Party rally at El Presidio Park on Income Tax Day. I figure, what the heck? I'm an old, fat white guy; I should be able to blend right in.
I got some grief over the previous Tea Party rally that I attended, at Tucson Electric Park last fall. I had made a crack that the rally was whiter than the British royal family, and the calls accusing me of not having been there came in. The guy they got to emcee the thing was black. (He probably still is, unless he's Sammy Sosa or a member of the Jackson family.) I had been at the booths out in right field, and the stage was by home plate. I simply hadn't seen him. But I did run into the parents of one of my ballplayers, which was really awkward, because I had a reason to be there.
Anyway, I went downtown on Tax Day. I parked on the north side of the YMCA, where the meter only goes up to a half-hour. The meter had a sign on it that read, "No feeding the meter!" Doesn't it seem to you that a city strapped for cash would prefer that a car stay in one spot and have the meter constantly fed? Somebody tell Mike Letcher. And while you're at it, tell him that earring looks stupid.
I put the money in the meter and started walking briskly toward El Presidio Park. (It's only a block, which was why I was able to maintain the brisk pace the entire way.) I was really hoping to see some kooks; at the rally at TEP, I saw some guy dressed as Ben Franklin.
No such luck this time; just a bunch of folks walking around, many of them carrying homemade signs. I can prove that I was there, because I ran into a guy I know from basketball walking out of the court building. That was awkward in a different way.
Most of the signs were sadly generic ... or just sad. "Obama Is a Communist." Really?! He's a communist? Even Communists aren't communists any more.
There was a big one that made an acronym out of the president's name: One Big Ass Mistake America. I give them 2.5 out of 10, because they spelled "America" right, but their punctuation blows. And everybody knows that "Big Ass" is hyphenated when used as an adjective.
There weren't any politicians there that I could see, but there were a few campaign signs on the grass and a couple of women walking around wearing Ruth McClung T-shirts. McClung is running in the Congressional District 7 Republican primary, vying for the opportunity to get steamrolled by Raúl Grijalva in the general election. Everybody's hoping that she can at least beat the always-reprehensible Joe Sweeney in the primary.
McClung is a physicist, and her slogan is "Maybe It Does Take a Rocket Scientist." I certainly hope not. Imagine Congress as a scene from The Big Bang Theory.
I had to keep an eye on the time so I'd be able to brisk-walk back to the Y to either illegally put another quarter in the meter, or move my car to an adjacent spot to avoid being a scofflaw. I wanted to go up to the stage, because I had been told that this rally would also have a black guy as the host. I didn't know if it was the some one as before, or if they had somehow found a different black guy to do it. What are the odds of that?
The Tea Partiers are really sensitive about the race thing, so I don't want to make too big of a deal out of it. Maybe it's just that all the black Tea Partiers couldn't get off work that day. I'd probably be sensitive, too, if there were more black people on the BYU basketball team than in my entire grass-roots movement.
Let me be clear: I'm not calling anybody a racist ... except that guy with the Confederate flag. Yes, that's a racist symbol. It's not about states' rights or duty or battle or honor. It's about human beings owning other human beings. Don't try to talk to me about seeing both sides; I see both sides. That flag is racist on the front and racist on the back. Frederick Douglass said, "There was a right side and a wrong side (to the Civil War), which no sentiment ought to cause us to forget, and while today we should have malice toward none, and charity toward all, it is no part of our duty to confound right with wrong."
Next year is going to mark the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War. It's not going to be pretty in parts of this country.
There was nothing really exciting going on at the Tea Party rally, although I did get to stand near Bud Foster while he was reporting live for the noon news.
Since there was nothing earth-shattering happening, I decided to follow the Fox News model, and just make stuff up.
I'll have to tell you the rest next week. You'll like it.