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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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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