Cross-posted at Eclectablog.
Updated with a coupla new pictures below.
The Tea Party Express rolled its malevolent way through Michigan today.
I was invited by Organizing for America to join a few of my closest Livingston County Democratic, pro-health reform friends to attend the
Great D-Bag Tea Bag Extravaganza in Brighton. Why can't they ever have these things when I don't have to take fucking vacation time to go to them???!
I left work at 3:00, hit the Brighton exit at about 3:15 and then things got reeee-eeeally weird.
NOTE: Click the photo to pop open a new window with a larger version of the photo.
As soon as I got on the very-long exit ramp at Grand River Avenue in Brighton, there was a line of cars. It took about 10 minutes just to get to the end of the exit ramp. When I got there, low and behold! there was the Tea Fucking Bag Express RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!
I snapped a coupla shots with my iPhone and then proceeded to follow the Anger Bus as it wended its way toward downtown Brighton.
We got to the first major intersection, still about a half-mile from the site of the Tea Party and the bus took a sharp right. Ah! Good move! Going in the back way to avoid all the traffic!
I tailed the bus and when we got to Main street, instead of turning left to go into town, the bus turned right. Hah! I thought. What dumbasses! They're going the wrong way! Hahahahaha!!!
I slipped into downtown Brighton the back way, found a parking spot and parked the car. I grabbed a half dozen "Standing United for Health Care Insurance Reform" OFA signs left over from the John Dingell Send-off meeting last Saturday along with my iPhone and an umbrella and headed downtown.
NOTE: the quality of the photos is not up to my normal caliber because they were (a) taken with an iPhone and (b) taken by ME instead of my oh-so-talented photographer wife.
As I walked into the downtown area, it was clear there were a LOT of
d-baggers tea baggers and, as I arrived, I saw them spread out all around the "Mill Pond" of downtown Brighton.
As I took this shot, I noticed the ominous clouds gathering in the sky above the event. I hearkened back to the Focus on the Family preacher who exhorted people to pray for rain during the Democratic convention to spoil President Obama's nomination event. Well, that didn't happen but it sure rained like hell on the
D-baggers tea baggers at this event. I was SO glad I brought my umbrella.
I made my way through the crowd, probably with my mouth gaping open at the spectacle in front of me, to find the center of activity. Looking across the pond, I could see a tiny pavilion that was clearly the hub of the event.
D-bag Express Tea Party Express celebrities made their speeches, they would be dry and comfy while the rest of us were sure to get soaked. And that's EXACTLY what happened.
I kept wandering, mouth gaped and mind agog, reading signs and taking it all in like some sort of twisted, maniacal social studies experiment. There were some great signs. No, really, TRULY great signs. Like this one:
Communised medicine, muthafuckas! Just. Say. No. To. Communised. Fucking. Medicine.
Or something... Wait. Isn't "communised" the Euro-version??? Oh, hell with it, nevermind...
As the rain poured down then stopped then poured then stopped...etc., I continued walking around, looking for some friendly faces. Out on Main Street, I found them: about a dozen intrepid pro-health care reform protesters, waving signs and putting forth what can only be called a Herculean effort amidst the taunts, jeers and seventh grade-style abuse from the mostly-elderly
D-baggers Tea Baggers around them. But, bless their hearts, they were positively OWNING their little strip of Main Street, by gawd.
I continued to walk around when suddenly, before my very eyes, materialized the Man Himself: (not) Joe the (not a) Plumber. It was like looking in a mirror. (Seriously, click THIS LINK. That's me, last Halloween.)
There he was, the living, breathing male mascot to the
D-bagger Tea Bagger Movement. And, sure as shit, he had a book to sell. Selling books, it turns out, has a LOT to do with why most of the D-bag Tea Bag Celebrities were there. More on that later.
I made my way through the crowd, receiving the taunts and jeers I expected to get if I was going to carry a pro-health reform poster. It appears that if you didn't hand-scrawl your sign, for many
D-baggers Tea Baggers your sign doesn't count and was very probably paid for by ACORN funds stolen by Van Jones and hand-delivered to paid Obama volunteers. Hopefully they got that message to all the people walking around carrying FairTax.org signs and other clearly mass-produced signs.
But the signs. Oh, the signs. An Orgy of Anger just isn't complete without some truly over the top signs. Here's one:
Obamacare = Genocide Against the Elderly. Brilliant. If stupid was painful, this person would be an Oxycontin addict.
That sign in the middle was a fun one. It's got the presidential seal in the middle with pictures of all the "newscasters" at Fox News all around it and it says: "Thank you Fox News: The Truth Shall Set Us Free". No, no, seriously. It actually said that. I know, I know... Well, at least it complimented the Fox News helicopter that hovered over Brighton for 2 hours.
Or how about this one?
That sign says "The New 3Rs: Rise Up, Reload, Revolt -- Patriots UNITE!!!" RELOAD? WTF??? Are you fucking kidding me???
By the way, lest you think these signs are "original", don't worry. Most of the sayings can be found on the whacko website, Patriot Depot.
Here's one I didn't get but it has to do with the President having teh butt secks with us something. The sign reads "America, here's your stimulus package". Note the VaselineTM.
Somewhere in there the crowd went batshit and I looked out onto Main Street to see the errant bus making its way through downtown Brighton. Ah HA! The "wrong turn" hadn't been a wrong turn at all! They had arrived in town a bit too early and were merely killing time until they could make their grand and STAGED entrance. Sure enough, after passing through town, they made U-turn and made yet another pass to get the crowd peeing in their pants.
See the dark clouds gathering? Is someone praying extra-special hard or something?
During this time, the speakers had started. There were numerous truly atrocious musical groups including the guy who apparently wrote the "anthem" of the
D-Baggers Tea Baggers Express, Lloyd Marcus. I letchy'all Google that shit on your own, I'm not linking his douchey You Tube vid. Ironically, Lloyd was, as far as I could tell, the only black guy in the entire 1,000+ person rally. Seriously. Don't act surprised, people, this is Livingston County we're talking about.
"I'm not a AFRICAN AMERICAN!!! I'm a PROUND AMERICAN!!!"
Lloyd has a book for sale, btw.
It really was a pretty diverse crowd. I mean they had OLD white people. And MIDDLE AGED white people. And YOUNG white people. And MALE white people. And FEMALE white people. All sorts.
There was more bad music, too. I mean seriously, what do you expect from a couple that looks like this????
The Rivoli Revue had cds for sale, btw.
And speakers. They had LOTS of speakers. They talked about freedom and liberty and socialism and all sorts of great themes. One person said "We're not 50 RED states. We're not 50 BLUE states. We're the UNITED States!" Wait. Where have I heard THAT before??? Oh, and they all have books for sale, btw.
(Not) Joe the (not a) Plumber spoke, too. I couldn't really hear him too well but I did catch him riff on Abortion, Gun Rights and Same-sex marriage at one point and he also got off on some tangent about the Liberals wanting to change the Constitution which I totally didn't get. Must be me...
Finally the intermittent downpours started to disperse the crowd. Some stayed and they enjoyed fucking with me as I meandered through the crowd. One guy said, "You look way too intelligent to be carrying that sign. Let me ask you something. Have you read the [health care] bill like I have?" I told him no, I have not read the entire bill. "How can you carry that sign if you haven't read the bill?" he asked me as if he has read every single piece of legislation that he's ever supported. The working assumption with these people is two-fold:
- Their novice reading of the 1,000+ pages of this legislation is more accurate than anyone elses including Congressmen and women and
- Anyone who likes the bill hasn't read it.
I told him I was trying to hear (not) Joe the (not a) Plumber and could he please shut up.
But eventually the rain got the better of the
D-Baggers Tea Baggers and they wandered off with their "clever" signs. Well, some did. Some just left them for the city to throw away.
As I left, I looked back across Main Street and saw a couple of young kids, probably pre-High School, carrying a scary-looking sign.
I wish this picture was better. This punk kid, a total skinhead wannabe, probably drove his parents' fancy car to the rally. But he was there holding his "Socialism Kills!" sign as if he had a single clue what socialism is. Or communism. Or another "ism", for that matter. If his elders don't, and CLEARLY they don't have a clue what the difference between socialism and communism is, it would be miraculous if he did.
But what I love about the picture is the juxtaposition of this ignorant little redneck kid with his oh-so-scary "Socialism Kills" sign standing next to a pro-reform protester holding a sign that said, with symbols: "Peace, Love and Health Care". Beautiful.
I walked away and, looking back, I got a bit of a grin as our indefatigable Dems continued to own their little corner of Main Street. They were all smiles and laughter and jokes.
Meanwhile, behind them, the remaining
D-Baggers Tea Baggers rallied on with their cute l'il Orgy of Anger.
Then I went home and showered.
I'm just sayin'...