Every now and again I like to check up on the activities of my local chapter of proud Gadsden flag wavers, the St. Louis Tea Party. I haven't seen them out protesting in their usual spot in front of my neighborhood Target in a fair while (I suppose Target is no longer an ideal Tea Party protest location in the wake of the whole Citizens United contribution debacle. Heavens forfend the Tea Party be mistaken as gay rights supporters) and I was starting to miss their cheerful yellow rattlesnake flags, and their signs about taking back their country from Nazi communists. So I thought I should see what my patriotic neighbors have been up to.
It turns out that members of the St. Louis Tea Party have recently published a Tea Party Coloring Book for children! A tip from a Very Famous Conservative Blogger led me to the site ColoringBook.com, where I found the following description on the site's home page:
The newest, latest and the greatest on Tea Party info for kids that's collosal fun and informative! This book is a "must have" for children and parents to learn more about The Tea Party. A very pleasant song, coloring and activity book!
I was pretty sure the publishers meant "colossal" fun. I'd like to snark, but as my readers know, I'm certainly not immune to typos, And anyway, like any overprotective liberal parent, I'm a sucker for scare quotes that tell me my child "must have" something. So I clicked through to the full product description.
And that's when I realized: these aren't just typos. The Tea Party wants to restore so much more than our Founders' vision for America -- they also apparently want to evoke simpler colonial times by restoring the nonstandard spelling and capitalization so prevalent at the time of our nation's dawn:
A wonderful book of The Tea Party for Kids! Teaches kids all about the origins of the Tea Party and what it all involves. A very pleasant song, coloring and activity book on Liberty, Faith, Freedom and so much more! Get involved, participate, self reliance, freedom of choice, work, government-of-for-by the people, Leadership, Ingenuity, Jobs and responsibilty!
Okay, okay. Nonstandard, erm, English on the coloring book website aside, I was genuinely curious about what might be inside a Tea Party Coloring Book for kids. Would it focus on American history? Outline conservative political principles? Haigiographize Sarah Palin? Was this coloring book mere political propaganda, or the sort of nonpartisan educational tome I could actually stomach buying for my own child (to better explain the people outside of Target)? So I zoomed in on the product photos for a closer look:
As you can see, as proper, entrepreneurial fiscal conservatives, the Tea Party Coloring Book children have set up a lemonade stand on the White House lawn! Where, ah, money apparently grows on trees? And piggy banks are ALIVE! Also, when not earning money, saving money, spending money, or counting money, the children on the cover of the Tea Party Coloring Book think about money! Which you can see in their thought balloons. About money.
How . . . patriotic?
Also, apparently, in pleasantly multicultural Tea Party Coloring Book land, white children own lemonade stands and White House lawn mowing businesses, and hold valuable property (maybe Pokemon cards?) for sale; children of other Crayola hues buy things, consume things, and hide their miraculous money-tree money in shoeboxes.
As for the messages inside the cover, I was only able to decipher one page of text from the online photos of the Tea Party Coloring Book. It reads:
Government for the people, by the people of the people.
The purpose of the American Government is serve and protect the American people and to also work with other governments from around the world.
The entire government is paid for by the American worker from taxes taken away from our checks. Businesses also pay taxes to the government.
By paying our taxes and supporting our government, it is required to protect our liberties and freedom, administer justice and assure safety to our society. The government has the power to keep us free from tyranny and free from those that would hurt America. The government is made up of decisions made by people. The purpose of the government is to serve its people. When the government does not do its job properly we may have a Tea Party and fire or replace the people that run the government.
Okay: as a college-educated liberal elitist writer, this is difficult for me to say, but -- ignore the grammar. Ignore the logical inconsistencies. Ignore the misquoting and mispunctuating of Abraham Lincoln. Seriously.
Just focus on that last sentence, please: "When the government does not do its job properly we may have a Tea Party and fire or replace the people that run the government."
In this constitutional democracy, when we are displeased with our government officials, how do we, traditionally, legally, remedy that situation?
We exercise the fundamental right constitutionally granted to citizens of this nation to steer its course, and we vote. We vote against politicians we disagree with. We vote for leaders who share our values and views. And in the end, the majority of voters decide the who works in our government. Of the people, by the people, for the people.
Assuming this page is not just a draft or a web mockup and is actually, factually in this book aimed at children, what, exactly, does the Tea Party Coloring Book mean when it tells children that not an election but instead a "Tea Party" should be held to "fire or replace" our democratically elected officials when they don't do what conservatives want?
Truly, I'm not sure I want to know.