A T.E.A. Party Tale

I am proud to be affiliated with the TEA Party movement because its focus is the economy – an issue on which people of all political affiliations can agree. TEA Party rallies are unifying experiences, bringing together people from all political parties who share the belief that government has grown too large, intrusive and inefficient and offers poor value for the tax dollars it collects from taxpayers.

TEA Party rallies appeal to individualists like me because there are no rules. They’re come-as-you-are gatherings to which participants bring signs of their own making. Unlike typical political events, TEA Parties encourage creative self-expression. It’s fun to hang with energized, well-informed people who love freedom, individualism and capitalism as much as I do.

The East Bay TEA Party regularly sponsors street rallies in Contra Costa, which I attend occasionally as my schedule permits. Last Friday’s rally was in Lafayette and it was my first time attending a TEA Party there. It was a baffling experience.

Lafayette is an upper-income liberal East Bay bedroom community. Its population is 80% white and in the last general election nearly 70% voted for Obama. Accordingly I brought a TEA Party sign that was intentionally apolitical and (I thought) inoffensive, which read:

Now I’ll admit I’m naive at times, but I was shocked by the hostile response to this message. Many passersby reacted negatively – mostly women and all driving late model Prius, BMWs, Mercedes, Porches, Lexus and Jaguars. (After all, it’s Lafayette and these are, without doubt, “The 1%”). I was greeted with grimaces and thumbs down, obscene hand gestures and shouts of “Obama” out of windows. Several yelled profanities. Classy.

I was struck by the fact that the sentiment on my sign evoked such a strong negative emotional reaction from Obama supporters. Do these women truly believe that prosperity, freedom and national security are bad for women? Or are they simply self-destructive and wish to drag others down with them? Or perhaps they’re just offended by street rallies by patriotic types dressed in red, white and blue.

Thankfully I also received many positive “thumbs up” responses from mostly younger women and a fair share of men. So my impression of Lafayette residents was somewhat redeemed.

Perhaps the political pundits are correct that our society has become hopelessly polarized – not to mention rude and vulgar. I’m still trying to understand how anyone could take offense at my non-controversial sign and its self-evidently true statement.

Readers, I’d appreciate any insights you have to offer, as I remain flummoxed.  Help me out here; I’d really like to understand more about what motivates human behavior — especially during this critical general election season.


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  1. Bruce R, Peterson, Lafayette says

    Bring your sign to the Lafayette candidates Q&A meeting @ 500 Saint Mary’s Road tonight @ 7:00. Mark Meuser says he will be there, meeting & greeting people outside the door. The pro-tax cowards might call the cops, but they won’t flip you off.

  2. Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette says

    I have Gary Johnson for President signs in front of my house on Saint Mary’s Road . I went to the incredibly liberal, U.C. Berkeley campus to his meet & greet. Everything was free. Many people were getting autographs & their picture taken with Gary. All for free.
    The obviously corrupt lamestream media does not want anyone to know about the Libertarian candidate for President. He is the most qualified of all. He served two terms as Governor of New Mexico as a Republican.
    When I let someone put No on tax measure signs in front of my house, they are gone within days. Since the trash remains, it wasn’t a clean up crew. People are risking their lives to be nasty. Obviously the people who are flipping you off in front of Wells Fargo Bank in Lafayette, are pro-tax morons. Not my friends & neighbors who look like they are in the 1%.
    One of my .0001%er neighbors was really ticked off because someone cut down 2 of her Pine Trees. A bit worse than the cowards who flip you off when they drive by.

  3. Pam says

    What a funny story Wendy –Thanks.
    It is shocking how a message like prosperity, freedom and security would make many Lafayette women unhinged.
    The past three years I think I have been flipped off, and yelled at by more women over the age of 50 than I can even count. Just for stating my opinion or questioning the direction our country is headed. These women seem to be enjoying prosperity, freedom and security. And, yet that makes them angry? What would their lives be like if they didn’t have the luxury of freedom?

    • Voter26 says

      You must have been talking to the 47% that are getting aid from the state. I’m not talking about social security because we pay into that. If they think they are free today, it’s only an illusion that liberals are trying to portray. If we keep printing Obama Bucks like we have this past four years they will be worth as much as monopoly money. Who will they flip off then?