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.
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