Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Afternoon at Tea Bag Headquarters

The group of young reporters around my office had selected me -- granted, an otherwise unlikely candidate -- to slip into the Tea Bag Headquarters and extract some useful clues about what was going on there.  I was glad to help.

The details of the Tea Bag story at first had seemed to be purposefully obscured by a carefully orchestrated series of rather professional feints and dodges.  However, when conclusion after conclusion had simply collapsed at our editorial desk, it became clear that the mysterious phenomenon, although certainly a news item, was so chaotic that not even the most perceptive commentator could actually weave it into any kind of factual reportage.

So, here I was, a modestly overweight, heavily bespectacled, poorly dressed desk jockey being foisted into the maelstrom of the Tea Baggers.  The selection made sense.  I was unquestionably the single employee in all the office who looked the most like the folks at the Tea Bag rallies or the Glen Beck fiasco.  I would, indeed, fit into the crowd.

Off I went in a rusty old, borrowed pick up truck.  Although I had been a bit nervous on the journey across town to the industrial park, when I actually arrived, the bottom of my stomach dropped.  The lot was packed with cars. 

Streams of Tea Baggers, all quite outwardly similar to myself, were threading their way into one section of the park.    I seemed to itch uncontrollably from the four micro-video cameras mounted along my belt and the silent, high gain tape recorders strategically hidden around my clothes.

Nonchalantly, I stumbled into the nearest line.  A rather innocuous fellow next to me burped loudly, scowled at me suspiciously, then began what, I  discovered later, would pass for a "friendly conversation."

"Yew here to see the Commander showin' up t' take charge of the Command Chamber?" he grumbled.

"Yup, shore am. A'hm plumb 'cited 'bout it, too." I chortled in response.

"This here's it.  We gonna show them bastards once 'n fer all.  Thu' shock troops done hit 'em in the 'lections.  Raght now's time fer thu rest o' th' plan to git inta' gear."  he continued through a toothless grin.

As we approached the immense building, the pathos of the crowd was intimidating.  There were hundreds of Tea Baggers lumbering around uncontrollably, obviously the green recruits for the next "push."  Scattered amid them were a dozen armed "security guards" dressed all in black with some indiscernible logo stitched into their collars.

Their tiny, paranoid eyes seemed to dart back and forth over the crowd relentlessly searching for a possible assassin or other trouble maker.  Clearly,  they intended that the much anticipated arrival of the "Commander" would proceed smoothly.

Suddenly, an impressive limousine slid through the crowd to park a few feet from the door to the place.  I decided that I needed to get inside to really have a chance to register what was happening.

Surprisingly, I slipped through the open door without being challenged.  The atmosphere was, at least so far, remarkably egalitarian.  Some of the crowd were being allowed to enter the formal "Command Chamber."

The "Commander" stepped in majestic victory from the giant car with the California "Freedom Works" vanity plate at its rear.  Over each of the front fenders a tiny flag fluttered in the breeze.  Sewn from a gaudy, clashing set of olive and magenta panels, the crudely embroidered words "Don't Dreat On Me" formed an arch on each one.  Obviously, the insignia was meant to say "Don't Tread On Me," but apparently no one had noticed the misspelling in time to make a correction.

The Tea Bag Commander was a nondescript mid-forties, but the "nondescript" part ended there.  Massive, reflective sun glasses seemed to cover most of his face, and a thin mustache bravely emerged just beneath the shadow of a great Napoleonic bicorne, the tips of which jutted menacingly into the crowd of "baggers" which had now clustered around him.

He wore a cape with stars and stripes over the back of a military tunic reminescent of Muammar Gaddafi, his breast cluttered with unrecognizable medals and accented by a garrish red sash.  However, below his coat, the pant legs of worn coveralls descended to a pair of heavily worn opera slippers.  The toe of each of the tiny loafers sported a set of red, white and blue LED's which blinked in sequence.  The man wore no socks.

His feet had only touched the parking lot when a mariachi band -- each waving an American flag -- emerged from the shadows at the far side of the crowd, blaring a horn rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Once inside, the "Commander" roared into action immediately.  Pointing at a large banner with a stylized Republican elephant hung at the far end of the room, he barked an order.  "Rip that there rag down.  We done with them 'Publicans.   Don't need theeer sorry asses no more!"

The crowd in the room screamed with delight as the banner was ripped from the wall.  I quietly migrated closer to the man in charge with the hope of picking up his conversations on my microphones.  The video cameras were being blocked by the throng of Tea Baggers packing the room.  I was certain that the only video feed coming out of them was of  retreating levi's, ass cracks and giant bellies.

The "Colonel" himself acted more thuggish rather than military.  A very rotund, middle aged man, he presented -- for no particular specific reason -- the image of a farm pig in an explosive frame of mind.  He was surrounded by "staffers," and although every one of them was dressed in an ill fitted Sears suit, each one presented an individual personage suspiciously similar to that of the Commander.  I found myself close enough to be privy to almost all of the conversation.

(image source)

A furtive, uncertain sense of order soon settled in the main room of the Command Chamber.  Once the rabble who had entered from outside had withdrawn to places around the walls of the place, the organization of the Command Chamber subtly became visible.  One of the Commander's personal cronies offered him a cheezy, battery operated megaphone while another held an open cell phone aloft.  The aide with the open cell phone called over the crowd to his boss, "Boehner's on lahn one.  He wants ta' talk t' yew."

At once, the Commander screamed back, this time over his new megaphone.  "Jest tell his ass t' wait!  N' thet don't mean call back.  Thet means t' WAIT!"

Swirling around to face yet another of his close aides, the Commander demanded "Whar's them experts on governnin' thet Koch sent us?  DeMint sez we gotta' cook up some kind'a plan fer the news tonaght on Fox."

Quaking ever so slightly, the aide answered.  "We still got 'em locked up in thet bus out to thu' parkin' lot, sir."

"Well, git theeer butts in here, n' have 'em figger out how t' cut thu  dammed budget, fer Chrissake!"  the Commander boomed back.  "Whar's mah dammed 'money desk' in this outfit?"

His aide answered, pointing across the mayhem once again growing in the room. "We got yer Uncle Hiram from off his farm.  He's settin' raght over thea' at thu' Money Desk." 

The restive crowd of baggers had parted enough for a video shot of an older man sitting at an empty table with an ancient ten key calculator.  Scotch taped to the front of the table was a doggerel sign saying "Money Desk."  The word "Money" had been misspelled, but then crossed out and replaced in smaller letters.

"N' zackly whar's them corporate check writers?  We gonna hef ta' git them mixed in with the govment experts to figger out how we gonna divahd everthin' -- ooops, Ah' mean cut thu budget!"  The Commander muttered to his aide.

"Them guys ain't done nuthin' but bitch since they got here.  Ah had securrity lock 'em up in the back room."  the aide responded.

"Thet's good!  Them billyonaires need t' lean thet they ain't in charge no more.  We're here 'cause the voice of the people done spoke, 'n we heeard 'em loud 'n clear!"  By this time the Commander was beginning to slobber a bit.  Another aide quietly offered him a flask of bourbon.

"Now, git them TV camras goin' -- A'hm 'bout reddy to 'dress thu nashun.  Whar's mah medya guy?"  the Commander boomed.

The Fox cameraman sheepishly rose from his seat, offering a few protocol suggestions.  "Will you be wanting the teleprompter?  We haven't got a copy of your speech yet."

The Commander's head turned threateningly to face the Fox man.  "Ah don't need no damned writ out speech, 'n Ah shore as hell don't need no tellprempter." he roared.  Immediately the crowd of tea baggers in the room cheered again.

"It don't matter whut Ah say now." the Commander continued.  "Mah fellow citzens so terrifahd alreddy, they gonna jest go with thu flow."  As the camera lights went on,  he growled to his aide.  "S'bout tahm them losers figgered out jest who's in charge!"

 (image source )

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