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by Brian Clarey

THE SMALL MATTER OF PLACE

When I get dispirited that the truth is being steamrolled on a national battlefield of moneyed interests, partisan talking points and political media combines located primarily in Washington and New York, I console myself with the thought that local reporters on the ground who find time to show up at community meetings or candidate forums still retain a measure of authority. Silly me, then, for going to the digital version of The New Yorker for some insight on the political lineage of the tea party movement, published in an article by Sean Wilentz in the Oct. 18 issue entitled, “Confounding Fathers: The Tea Party’s Cold War roots.” Either the article lost me or I found my own subject when I read that a member of a group called the Tea Party Patriots “from Cape Fear, North Carolina” pinned the advent of the nation’s troubles on President Woodrow Wilson. I’m afraid, dear media compatriots of Manhattan, that there is not a town or city in North Carolina called Cape Fear. It’s the name of a river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean near Wilmington that has one of the state’s two ports. It is also a watershed, whose headwaters are in the vicinity of Greensboro and High Point. And it is a geographical feature of our coast, jutting off of Bald Head Island into the Atlantic. If the intelligent writers and diligent copy editors at The New Yorker find themselves in doubt in the future about the distinction between municipalities and waterways, I recommend a nifty tool available on the World Wide Web called Mapquest.com. Or simply visiting the website of Cape Fear Tea Party Patriots, which identifies the group’s location as “Wilmington, North Carolina.”

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