Monday, September 13, 2010

Dark Brew

`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 Party

Tea Party Rally 6

Let'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.

Tea Party Rally 12

Tea Party Rally 17

Tea Party Rally 9

Tea Party Rally 21

Tea Party Rally 10


Olivier said...

mon anglais ne me permet pas de tout comprendre, mais si j'ai bien compris c'est une reunion contre la politique d'Obama ? je ne comprends pas le melange de ces idees politiques et le superbe texte de Lewis Carroll ;(

cieldequimper said...

Scary way to start the week.

PJ said...

You were right, I like this. I'm glad you went and talked to people, however generic the conversation. I have to say though, there's some darkness here...

My two new favorite sayings:

Democracy demands wisdom.
Truth is the correctness of an assertion. Accuracy is the precision with which the assertion is stated.

Ed Pitts said...

Thanks for reminding us that Lewis Carroll got it right when he described the Tea Party. I don't mind when crazy or stupid people express their political views, but I do mind when they try to force their stupidity on me. They are the favored tools of hateful, self-promoting demagogues and the right wing media. They deserve to be exposed for the fringe element they are.

Virginia said...

Our country is becoming more polarized by the day. It scares me to death. I'm proud of you for wading into the midst yesterday. I hope you had hip boots on .

NV said...

Cool. Glad you went incognito. :-)

These people scare me. A lot. For the very reasons you described.

It took eight years to get this way. And Obama came equipped with some kind of magic wand? I don't want to state the obvious reason for many people's dislike of this man ... it's too depressing.

brattcat said...

Thank you for this post, Bob.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant and courageous, really courageous. But the best part is the picutre of you, Bob, at the top!

T. Becque said...

No matter what side one takes, it's great that all can state their opinion openly here!

By the way, thank you for the nice compliment.

Bibi said...

Right on, Bob. Agree 100% and the allusion to Alice in Wonderland is superb.

Sharon said...

OMG....this is just plain scary!

U "R" Us AKA Captain Crowe said...

Yeesh. Nice shots. Freaky shit.

Stefan Jansson said...

Scary stuff. But I'm glad you were there to document this.

Martin said...

Scary stuff indeed.

I consider myself at least nominally conservative, but the idiocy of the neo-cons and religious right fanatics running the party on this side of the border, and the same on your side among the Republicans, has me pretty much turning liberal.