A Tea Party X-mas

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While the media and liberal politicians have often portayed the tea party movement as a monolithic angry white mob, over the past year and a half, I’ve found that tea party activists are far from a homogeneous group, even if they are mostly white. I’ve met some real characters: A Tennessee lawyer who campaigned for Congress carrying a pitchfork who doubles as a volunteer fire fighter; a Virginia safety engineer and Navy vet who owns a lot of guns and drives a German car jury-rigged to run on vegetable oil (better known as a “grease car”); and then of course, there’s Robin Stublen, a Florida activist who kills bugs and cuts grass for a living.

Usually Chrismas is a huge time of year for Stublen, because when he isn’t campaigning for Gov-elect Rick Scott, blasting his local zoning board for some sort of incompetence, or complaining about feckless Republicans, he’s generally working to cover his house with 350,000 Christmas lights. His house becomes such a major spectacle in the town of Punta Gorda that it has its own website giving directions and hours for the light show and indicating when Santa is likely to appear. The lights draw so much traffic that Stublen has been able to raise nearly $12,000 in donations in the past five years from passersby that he’s donated to local Kiwanis clubs. It’s an unusual hobby, and one you might not expect from your sterotypical tea partier, but Stublen is obsessed with what he calls “extreme lighting.”

This year, however, he was supposed to have knee surgery, so he skipped the annual light production. But for those of us who won’t be able to see the tea partier in his Santa suit, Stublen has put some of his display on video and posted it on YouTube.  For an entirely different perspective on the tea party movement, you can check it out here:

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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