Mixing their gift for political doublespeak with the nation’s love of alliteration, the Blair County Tea Party sponsored the 6th annual “Freedom Fest” yesterday, (Sunday, 7/20/14) drawing a crowd of approximately 150 who suffered the loss of significant quantities of brain cells while listening to conservative talk show host Rose Tennent. (That sound you just heard was the sound of all 0f my readers asking “who?” in unison.) In keeping with the alliterative “F” theme of the event, Rose was quick to bring the discussion around to the founding fathers:
“We are living in a time not unlike Thomas Paine’s time … a time that tries men’s souls,” Tennent said.
It is so fitting for Tea Party activists to latch on to the words of Thomas Paine, since it is so obvious that he would support the ultra-conservative Christian theocratic vision so many of them seem to share. It is a fact many of us progressives desperately want to deny, but it is far past the time for honesty. How could anyone read Thomas Paine’s words:
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
or more to the point
that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty
and not believe that we would find him today, wrapped in the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, at the forefront of the culture wars if he still lived? No matter the words that one hears at a Tea Party event, the truth is that if the previously mentioned founding fathers still drew breath, the Tea Party would label them “socialist God-haters,” Ann Coulter would savage them in a best seller titled “Pinko: How America Narrowly Avoided the Yoke of Godless Communism Desired by the so-called Founding Fathers,” and Rush Limbaugh would cause an eruption of controversy by calling Betsy Ross* “the nation’s first slut” and claiming that the stars on the flag represented each founding father that she bedded rather than the number of states in the union.
But this is the Tea Party we are talking about, and no one ever claimed they gave a single solitary shit about reality. In their minds and at their rallies, the founding fathers become The Founding Fathers (trademarked), God-fearing conservative Christian men who wanted to form a nation in the image of Jesus, ruled by the free market, where what little government was allowed to exist concerned itself solely with the defense of the nation, outlawing intoxicants, insuring citizen’s right to own AK-47s, protecting the favored status of Christians who worshiped correctly, and controlling that dastardly bit of sin that resided between the legs of sinful women. Ever since the nation was born, the devil has been trying to undermine their sacred vision through such tactics as activist judges, civil rights laws, and pinko commie democrats. Let’s return to the train wreck:
But the founding fathers, she said, put their energy and sacrifices into building a nation that was free and prosperous, not only for their children but for future generations. So when it comes to leaving an inheritance, she had one recommendation.
“It must be liberty,” she said, drawing applause.
The highlight of Rose Tennent’s rousing speech will not soon be forgotten:
“You and I are people our founding fathers never met,” she said.
What an incredible use of language. Even as her political opponent, it brought a tear to my eye. It was a tear of laughter, but still, it was a tear. The article unfortunately did not note the reaction of the 150 person strong crowd upon finding out that they never met men who were politically active in 1776. Was it a knowing nod? A gasp of shock? A jaw dropping moment of realization? Alas, until I find another witness to the event, we can only wonder.
After Rose’s patriotic, buzzword filled, meaning devoid speech it was time for the entertainment portion of the event, with Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz surprising all in attendance with a blisteringly hilarious stand up set. Simply writing about it will in no way do justice to his brilliant routine, so I won’t even try. If you have a chance to see him perform though, I recommend it without hesitation. To try to give you the flavor of his style of comedy, I will quote just one of his jokes, but remember that the delivery matters as much as the material:
Blair County Tea Party President Andrew Katz said the organization remains a nonpartisan group
Even typing the sentence caused coffee to shoot out my nose, covering the screen and the keyboard. It is almost like Fox News calling itself “fair and balanced,” yet so much more absurd that the laughter comes unwilled and unwanted.
The article ends abruptly, so I can only imagine what other entertainment was provided at this year’s Freedom Fest. Perhaps a dunking booth featuring a femi-nazi taunting contestants with man-hating bile like “women should be paid the same as men for the same work,” “no means no,” or “make your own damn sandwich”? An original copy of the US Constitution that includes the 713 references to Jesus Christ that the Founding Fathers(Trademarked) included that the evil secularists somehow managed to erase? A duck pond, that replaced the rubber ducks with little rubber fetuses? A caged African-American homosexual who for 5 dollars will provide you with a picture of the two of you and a note stating he is your friend, so you aren’t lying when you say “I’m not racist/homophobic, one of my best friends is black/gay”? A shooting gallery with targets consisting of pro-choice protesters and Muslims? My imagination runs wild.
Perhaps next year, I will have to take a field trip.
*Yeah, I know the Betsy Ross story is more than likely apocryphal. If you care to suggest a different well known historical woman from the time period that I can have serve as the nation’s first victim of slut-shaming, feel free to make the suggestion.