Vern’s Report from the Tea Party




The MAIN reason I went to the San Juan Capistrano Tea Party on Saturday July 3 was because I heard the RINO King of Pork, Ken Calvert, would be speaking there.  This seemed like it might be an interesting story – how would the Tea Partiers react?  It seems that if Calvert is not precisely the sort of wasteful, corrupt, 20-year incumbent the Tea Party was formed to oppose, then maybe the Tea Party is nothing but a Republican Party picnic with Revolutionary War kitsch.

But I saw and heard so much at this event that was darkly fascinating that I’ve had to divide this article in two parts – Calvert will be part two.


Shawn Nelson.  I hadn’t realized that he is popularly known as the “grandfather of the Orange County Tea Party,” due to some Fullerton event he organized way back in November ’08.  His main gripes are high taxes, inflated public pensions, and hard-working businessmen being “blamed” for all society’s ills.  He didn’t seem to be on the same page as the majority of the other speakers, completely forgetting to fixate on the plague of illegal immigration.

For the first time I was able to hear assembly candidate Don Wagner speak.  His heavily Glenn Beck-influenced history lesson, centered on tough-guy Jefferson quotes and standard calls-to-arms-against-tyranny, was most notable for his innovative use of the word “encrosion” – apparently a Jabberwocky-style conflation of “encroachment” and “erosion” – as in “their encrosion of our borders.”

Or was it just, to use Gus Ayer’s term,  “Teabonics?”

One theme sounded in Don’s speech, and nearly every other one, was the eerie similarity between the circumstances which drove our Founding Fathers to rebellion against the British, and what we patriots are facing now under President Obama and Speaker Pelosi.

As I observed to my traveling companion, “That is so true!  Remember all that access to healthcare King George tried to foist on the reluctant colonists?”

Snarked he in response, “Yeah, they must have felt like right fools, having elected him after he campaigned on that issue!”

“It’s a dying thing, what a terrible thing to lose…”

I guess I expected more anger, craziness, or just plain energy, at my first Tea Party.   But what impressed me instead was an unmistakable sense of nostalgia; just sad, wistful nostalgia. These were old folks getting together to mourn some half-imagined America of their youth.  An America where things were simpler, life was more secure, and there were less people around who didn’t look and talk like them.  The philosophers and statesmen they hang up on the stage and purport to revere – Adams, Jefferson, Paine – are just symbols to them of a simpler, more innocent past.  They sure haven’t read them – their minds would be blown.

Last week Senator Lindsey Graham, a long-time bete-noir of these folks for his occasional moderation on some issues, told the Times that he believes the Tea Party is “just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.”   At Saturdays’ tea party there were some jabs back at Lindsey and his tanking numbers in South Carolina, but also the feeling that they knew he was right.

At the height of the afternoon the crowd reached a little over a hundred, plus maybe forty vendors hawking all manner of tea-party tchotchkes and memorabilia.  I don’t know if that’s considered good attendance or not.  They came from as far as LA, San Diego and the Inland Empire, this apparently being the only Tea Party around on this sunny afternoon.

The average age there was certainly over 60. There were maybe a dozen shit-kicking redneck types in their 40’s, and a few fidgety young eccentrics babbling conspiracy theories, but they were like specks in the sea of white hair.  “Sea,” no, that’s not right.  The kidney-shaped swimming pool of white hair.

And the crowd, with the exception of my little dark-skinned contingent, was 100% white.

“Hey wait, I was there too, and I saw FOUR BLACK PEOPLE!”

You’re right, and they were all in the speakers’ tent, which might make a more cynical man than I suspect them to be professional itinerant black people hired to lend some much-needed melanin to the teabag cause.

In actuality, one was a hefty woman named Cheryl Burns who was introduced as a “community organizer” from SJC.  (I listened closely but heard none of the derisive laughter that phrase drew at the 2008 Republican Convention; perhaps the calling has gained acceptance since then.)  Cheryl was powerful worried about SJC becoming a de facto “sanctuary city.” Since her main thing was immigrant-bashing, we’ll save her comments for that section of this essay.  [UPDATE – I’ve just received word that Ms. Burns likes to pretend she’s from SJC, but she’s really from Laguna Niguel, and is a long-time member of the Minutemen.]

The other three blacks were Star Parker, who is running against LA Congresswoman Laura Richardson, and her two aides.  Ms. Parker, who is a somewhat well known rightwing columnist, claims she has a 50-50 chance against the somewhat corrupt Ms. Richardson, in this 90% Dem district.  She announced right up front that she “used to be influenced by the hard left into a life of sex and drugs.

I figure she must have had quite a colorful past, if she feels compelled to announce this in her campaign speeches.  I do look forward, though, to a fuller explanation of how liberal ideology caused her to have so much sex and do so much dope.

Touchy, touchy…

Another thing we kept hearing is just how mean the Mainstream Media and we liberals are to the Tea Party.  How they are just constantly under attack from us.  We glance at each other quizzically – did we miss something?  Has the Tea Party been sued, denied permits, raided by law enforcement?  Are there incidents of roving gangs of liberals tossing Molotov cocktails into their gatherings – incidents covered up by a conspiratorial press?  Green activists strutting around the perimeter clutching semi-automatics, muttering veiled threats?

No, it turns out their feelings are hurt every time they are called “crazy” or “racist.” It’s charming that charges of racism, as fair or unfair as they may be, make them uncomfortable, and I think it’s actually a sign of progress.

At one point, one of the more strident women who had just gone on about the illegals for twenty minutes bitched, “And people call me a racist, an immigrant-basher, a lunatic, a Mexican hater, well I’ve had it, you can call me whatever you want and I DON’T CARE!”  And the whole crowd erupted in one of their largest bursts of applause, as though in a great catharsis.  Catharsis over the feeling of briefly not caring if the world thought they were racists.

And YET… this Tea Party was brought to you by SJC Americans.

Help me out here:  Is the Tea Party in general becoming more and more obsessed with immigration, or was this particular rally unusual that way, organized as it was by the SJC Americans, the proud little group whose mission is to make the lives of the Latino half of San Juan Capistrano miserable?  (I won’t link to their site, but you can read an article about them here.)

Remember Cheryl, the hefty black community organizer who is so concerned that SJC is becoming a de facto sanctuary city – which she knows because at the last Swallows’ Day Parade there were some Mexican flags waving higher than American ones?

Well, does she have some horror stories for you, about what’s in store for SJC if it continues in that direction!  It could be the next MAYWOOD.  Apparently Maywood, somewhere in LA County, is about 95% Latino (according to her) and is officially a sanctuary city.  And boy does she know how rough it is there, having gone up there to protest the city’s policies several times!  Every time the locals are rude to her, every time the police are unhelpful, and every time they raise the Mexican flag up the pole ABOVE the American one!

Well.  Um…

What the hell is this busybody from SJC doing going up to Maywood to protest their policies anyway?  I’d be rude to her too!  Hell, I’m a patriotic American, but I would raise up a Mexican flag just to mess with this lady!  Wouldn’t you?

Toward the end, there was a REALLY angry white woman, who talked about how hard she worked having bake sales just to get some SHADE for her poor white kids at their public school, and then she looked over and saw a beautiful, luxurious, brick “Title 1 School” for non-English speakers.  And from there her life’s mission was charted out – put an end to all the favoritism that our pampered illegals receive!

In the interests of space, I’ll skip most of her raving, but at one point she ticked off all the arguments made by defenders of immigrants, leading up to “They’ll say we need them to pick  our crops – well, guess what, we don’t need crops!”  Unfortunately at this point, our comrade, the one with a little Tourette’s, started chanting “FUCK CROPS!” and we had to pretend we didn’t know him.  But it was funny.

(Oh, before you get the idea that they limit their xenophobia to Mexicans, Al Rally from ACT For America was there, to expose the radicalism of the UCI Muslim Student Union, the insidious threat of favorable mentions of Islam in our children’s textbooks, and the general STEALTH JIHAD subverting America as we speak!)

Novel Interpretations of the Constitution

Apparently these events always feature several “Constitutional experts,” some of whom have some sort of degree or other, but most of whom are auto-didacts like their hero Glenn.  This particular event must have had close to a dozen “Constitutional experts” speaking.  Constitutional expertise is evidently a highly prized commodity in the Teabag world, since Teabaggers’ love-hate relationship with the founding document – which seems to stand in the way of a lot of what they want to do – puts them in constant need of new interpretations of it.

Some Irvine harridan named Lynne Shite (there being no program to consult, I am using the Irish spelling) was on hand as an expert in “birthright citizenship,” a real thorn in anti-immigrants’ side – that nasty little part of the 14th Amendment that grants citizenship to anyone born within our borders:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.

Well, Ms. Shite has figured out a way that that passage doesn’t mean what it says, in two steps:  First, the “anchor baby’s” mommy and daddy are NOT under our jurisdiction when they’re here, but under their own nation’s jurisdiction [see, told you, novel] AND, the “anchor baby” owes its allegiance not to its new country but to its parents.  Got that?  That dragon slain, Ms. Shite moved on to spew other vile nonsense.

[Ms. Shite, if you are reading this:  Have I got your argument RIGHT?  SHITE?]

But there was an even greater Constitutional expert on hand, some disciple of failed attorney general candidate John Eastman.  And he has determined that the Federal Government has very little authority, very little authority indeed, to meddle in our state’s affairs.

  • For one thing they have absolutely no right to interfere with our inhumane, overcrowded prison system, and just need to be told to butt out by some attorney general or Governor with brass balls;
  • The commerce clause has been interpreted WAY too broadly by Court after Court; and in particular the Endangered Species Act cannot be used to protect the Delta Smelt or any other miserable little species;
  • Most wonderful of all, the Feds had no right to declare Proposition 187 – California’s last racist belch of the 90’s denying medical care and schooling to undocumented children – unconstitutional, so guess what?  It’s still in effect!  YES!  Proposition 187 is still in effect! And it’s up to YOU, brave patriots, to INSIST that your local and state governments and law enforcement carry it out!

G-OPtation complete

That’s pronounced “Gee-optation,” and refers to the process by which the Republican Party gradually co-opts what was originally a proud, independent and rebellious movement partially meant to reform it.  If Mr. Wagner can invent “encrosion” then I can invent “G-OPtation,” and hope it becomes an accepted term in the “Teabonics” lexicon.

Stealthing through the crowd in my Constitution teeshirt I overheard lots of chatter, and frequently caught grumbling about how the Republicans were almost as bad as the Democrats, and how back when the GOP was in charge, remember, they didn’t do this and they didn’t do that.  But still, at least half the speeches ended with appeals to “Take back the Congress from the Democrats!”  And that always met with applause.

The Teabaggers preferred Little Poisoner, but they’re going to hold their noses and vote for Queen Meg over Jerry Brown.

They preferred Chuck DeVore, but they’re going to hold their noses and vote for Failorina over Boxer.

They preferred John Eastman for Attorney General, but they’re going to hold their noses and vote for Steve Cooley over Kamala.

They preferred True Teabagger Chris Riggs (who did very well in the district with 34% in both OC and Riverside) but they’re going to hold their noses and vote for Creepy, Corrupt Ken Calvert over Bill Hedrick.

If they’re still having Tea Parties in the Fall, some smart entrepeneur should start a Clothespin Concession.

Read chapter two:
Calvert In Extremis: The King of Pork goes a-Teabagging


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.