Rhode Island Tea Partiers Banned From 4th Of July Parade For Life Several Days

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If you’re thinking TPMDC hasn’t written enough about tea parties this week, you’re in luck. One of the overlooked anecdotes from the July 4 tea bagging bonanza came out of Bristol, Rhode Island, a town of about 20,000 people which every year draws over 100,000 people to a weeks-long Independence Day festival.

This year, though, a group of tea party tax protesters entered a float into the fourth of July parade and things quickly became controversial. In violation of parade bylaws, a number of teabaggers, clad in yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” T-Shirts, took to the parade route to distribute pocket-sized Constitutions, setting off a bit of a ruckus. From all accounts it doesn’t seem like anything bad happened, but it was enough of a nuisance that the parade committee banned the protesters from all future parades.

That set off a bit of a firestorm. One of the tea party organizers–whose email handle is “Galt”–fired off an email to several hundred fellow party-people, informing them of the penalty. “Today, we received news from the Bristol Parade Committee that the RI Tea Party is to NEVER apply to appear in the Bristol Parade again,” wrote Marina Peterson. “We were told unequivocally that our group was ‘horrible’, ‘not to waste the stamp to send in an application in the future’, and that the Committee never wanted ‘those people’ of the RI Tea Party to participate in the parade in the first place….”

We encourage you to contact the Bristol Parade Committee…and let them know how you feel about their discriminatory behavior towards a group which represents Liberty, particularly in celebration of an event dedicated to our country’s freedom….

They will not squelch our voices! We have only just begun!

Yours in Liberty

The state’s Republican governor, Donald Carcieri, waded into the controversy this week, with an insinuative statement about the parade organizers. “The RI Tea Party movement has energized the citizenship of many Rhode Islanders as they call for more responsible government.”

It seems that the Parade Committee has singled them out for punishment. How ironic that a movement that draws from American patriotic spirit would be excluded from an Independence Day parade. Sadly, they are being sanctioned for distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution. One wonders about the forces behind such a decision.

That may have had its intended impact. Yesterday, the overexcited tea baggers got word that the lifetime ban had been lifted. Now the balls are back in the teabagger’s court–it seems they’ll have a second chance to make a first impression next Independence Day.

Hello!

As we informed you this week, the RI Tea Party float in the Bristol Fourth of July Parade was a HUGE success, with people in the crowd showing overwhelming support and enthusiasm for our cause. Although we expected a positive reception, the response of the parade watchers was beyond our wildest imaginations. We were proud to represent the freedom loving people of Rhode Island to celebrate our country’s Independence!

Today, we received news from the Bristol Parade Committee that the RI Tea Party is to NEVER apply to appear in the Bristol Parade again. We were told unequivocally that our group was “horrible”, “not to waste the stamp to send in an application in the future”, and that the Committee never wanted “those people” of the RI Tea Party to participate in the parade in the first place.

Why would the Bristol Parade Committee have such a negative response to our float when the crowd was so overwhelmingly positive? We are told it is because some members of the RI Tea Party passed out US Constitutions to the crowd. Apparently passing out the US Constitution on Independence Day is an egregious violation of parade rules. This is despite the fact that other floats passed out solicitations for their businesses, which is against the Parade guidelines, and these businesses have NOT been told that they are banned from participating in the future.

This clear discrimination by the Parade Committee was also evident as the RI Tea Party was rejected for sound on the float and was told the morning of the Parade by one of the parade committee inspectors that she “never heard of someone being rejected for sound” before and they were “probably afraid you would say something politically incorrect.”

We encourage you to contact the Bristol Parade Committee at xxx-xxx-xxxx (Jim Tavares) or by mail to the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, P.O. Box 561, Bristol, RI 02809, and let them know how you feel about their discriminatory behavior towards a group which represents Liberty, particularly in celebration of an event dedicated to our country’s freedom. Letters to the editor of the Bristol Phoenix can be written to Scott Pickering, at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com

They will not squelch our voices! We have only just begun!

Yours in Liberty,

Marina Peterson

RI Tea Party

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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