`Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.
`Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.
`Exactly so,' said Alice.
`Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'
`Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'
`You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'
`You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'
`It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter VII, A Mad Tea PartyLet's put it on the table. I'm a liberal. Liberalliberalliberalliberal boogey boogey boogey. So there.
I attended the Tea Party rally under the Arch yesterday, just to see first hand. I wore Tea Party camo, blue jeans, white shirt, red tee. I talked to people - never about politics, just about the beautiful weather and photography - and everyone was unfailingly nice to me. Everyone was happy to let me photograph them. I left saddened but in a contemplative mood.
It's no surprise that I thought what I saw and heard was horrifyingly, dangerously wrong. Those in attendance would think the same about my opinions. Opposition to health care reform boggles me: you have the freedom to be refused coverage, you have the right to be denied treatment, you have the choice to die for lack of insurance. Do Tea Party members burn their Medicare cards? The people I saw (yes, tending toward older and almost entirely white) looked like everyday working folks. A few years ago a book was published called What's The Matter With Kansas?, about the irony of solid middle America often voting for the policies of the Republican Party that benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of the average worker. Honestly, I don't understand.
In The Second Coming, Yeats claimed that "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. " The statement might encourage me to dig in and fight for what I believe in. Which, of course, is what the people at the rally were doing. Oliver Cromwell, of all people, said, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” Yesterday's experience reminded me how little we listen to those with whom we differ and how small the chance that many will try.
More pictures from the rally are on Flickr here.