An interview with a guitar-playing teabagger

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By Jess Brownell

(Jess Brownell is our Voice of the Midwest, a freelance writer living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)

In the Feb. 1 issue of the New Yorker there’s a story about the Tea Party people the point of which seems to be that this is a genuine grass-roots movement rather than just a side-line activity for Fox News analysts taking a little time off from the competition to be the next Joseph Goebbels when their Adolph comes along. These Tea Partiers are just regular folks, according to the article. The actual people the New Yorker writer, Ben McGrath, interviewed seemed a little weird to me, to be honest, but if by regular he means there are a lot of them out there, I can’t argue.

After those interviews and a general discussion of the political power this group now wields, the article ends with a description of a meeting of enthusiasts in Brooklyn that concludes with the singing of a folk-style anthem about taking back America led by a gray-haired man with an acoustic guitar.

(Okay, let me ask right here: Just who the hell are these people who claim the right to “take back” America? Do they have any proof that they ever owned it in the first place? Do they have deeds? Where is their provenance? Are they really directly descended from the pioneers who stole it from the Indians or are they just the children of late-arriving immigrants like most of the rest of us? I want to see some documentation, damn it. I want to see some birth certificates.)