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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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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