Scene: A teabagger looks back

by Brian Clarey

October 2040, interior: A dark bar, empty save for the BARTENDER, an OLD MAN hunched over a small rocks glass and a YOUNG MAN sitting next to him with glasses and a flat-screen notebook.

The OLD MAN wears sweatpants, socks with sandals and a freebie casino sweatshirt, along with a visor that says “NO-BAMA,” to which is affixed a button with a picture of an American flag coffee cup and the slogan “revolution is brewing.”

YOUNG MAN: Thanks for meeting me. I didn’t know they still had places like this.

OLD MAN: Ain’t too many left since they legalized the weed and the co-caine. Most of the places you can get a beer they make you eat half a dozen chicken wings before they’ll give it to you. [To the bartender] Hey, pal, let’s get another over here.

BARTENDER: Sorry sir, but like I told you before, I can’t serve you more than two drinks an hour based on your weight and age and that blood test you took when you came in.

OLD MAN: Dagnabbit!

YOUNG MAN: So things were different before the Great Federal Government Takeover of 2010?

OLD MAN: Different? Kid, you have no idea. This is exactly the kind of thing we were trying to prevent.

YOUNG MAN: So you were a teabagger?

OLD MAN: [Wincing] That’s not what we called ourselves, no, but I guess history is written by the victors. And yeah, we were against big socialized government, the growing deficit. The Tea Party was about government spending run amok.

YOUNG MAN: I’m confused about that, because according to my text, the last president to balance the budget and eliminate the deficit was Bill Clinton. Was Bill Clinton part of the Tea Party?

OLD MAN: Bill Clinton? Hell no!

YOUNG MAN: And George W. Bush came next, who not only expanded the powers of the federal government exponentially but ran up a huge deficit. But it wasn’t until after eight years of Bush that the Tea Party came to prominence, almost immediately after he left office. Why was that?

OLD MAN: Nobody wants to talk about George Bush! That man didn’t have nothing to do with nothing.

YOUNG MAN: But wasn’t it Bush’s policies — lax banking regulations and an expensive war — that necessitated all that government spending in the first place?

OLD MAN: Shows what you know. It was Barack Hussein Obama who bailed out the banks and insurance companies.

YOUNG MAN (pokes at his screen): No, it says right here that the first TARP program was in October 2008, before Obama was even elected.

OLD MAN: I don’t think so. Don’t matter anyway. The Tea Parties were really about lower taxes. We were just sick to death of giving up our hard-earned money so that Communist Barack Hussein Obama could up and give it to welfare mothers and their crack babies. We were fighting against the redistribution of wealth! YOUNG MAN: But… but… didn’t most Americans pay less in taxes after Obama’s policies came into play?

OLD MAN: Well —.

YOUNG MAN: And didn’t a lot of teabaggers —

OLD MAN: We never called ourselves teabaggers!

YOUNG MAN: Didn’t a lot of them collect Social Security and Medicare?

OLD MAN: You media types haven’t changed one bit in all these years, trying to put everything in a box. Well the Tea Party didn’t fit in a box. Yeah, some of us were old, and yeah, maybe some of us didn’t understand the issues so good, and some of us may have been just a little bit racist. But we were angry! We felt the country was slipping away from us! We didn’t trust our leaders!

YOUNG MAN: But what did you folks do about it?

OLD MAN: Well, we marched! And we protested. We started blogs and wrote angry letters. But then things got so convoluted — like we were against anything that Barack Hussein Obama wanted to do, so we found ourselves arguing in favor of the big banks and insurance companies. And then everybody started running off in all different directions and we never could nail down a consistent message. Some people thought the Tea Party was about lower taxes, some thought it was about big government, some thought it was about keeping church and state separate, some thought it was about keeping church and state closer together. Some people thought it was about armed revolution. We even had folks who thought the Tea Party was about abortion. But really, it wasn’t about any of that.

YOUNG MAN: I don’t understand.

OLD MAN: Yeah, when you look at it so many years later it is sort of confusing. But I’ll tell you, for those few shining moments we were out there, with our signs. We were wearing powdered wigs and marching. We were mad as hell and we were taking our country back!

YOUNG MAN: I guess you had to be there.

OLD MAN: You did. You really did.