Tea and Calumny The so-called “Tea Party” (or has it gone beyond the “so-called” stage?) has accomplished a number of things, such as exposing the fault lines within the Republican Party, not to be mistaken for your father’s club for button-down suburbanites. No, this new breed of shut-ins and early retirees is mad as hell, and they aren’t afraid to talk a little trash when describing their enemies. Take the following exchange between the recently deposed head of Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party Association, Tim Ravndal, and two political pals:
Tim Ravndal: Marriage is between a man and a woman period! By giving rights to those otherwise would be a violation of the constitution and my own rights
Keith Baker: How dare you exercise your First Amendment Rights?
Dennis Scranton: I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.
Ravndal: Oops I forgot this aint America no more! Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?
Scranton: Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years.
The Wyoming “display” was recognized as a reference to Mat-thew Shepard and thus amounted to a jocular suggestion that “fruits” be tortured and killed. In fairness, Ravndal was forced to resign over the comments, but they echo the kind of slogans that routinely show up at Tea Party rallies. Party leaders can’t be responsible for the excesses of rank-and-file members, but now that the rank-and-file are running the asylum, they’re saying things openly that used to be said only in code.