Tempest in a tea pot: Hub City teabaggers steep in anti-tax fury
Hundreds of Acadiana residents assembled in Putnam Park across from the federal courthouse in downtown Lafayette for a TEA party, one of thousands held nationwide that kept Fox News spellbound for the better part of tax-deadline day. TEA is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already and makes allusion to the Boston Tea Party; it's a protest against government spending, burgeoning deficits, bank and auto bailouts, the roll back of the Bush tax cuts, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
Because the organizers of the Lafayette TEA event failed to secure a permit in the prescribed time, they were unable to erect a stage or use a public-address system. Instead, speakers took turns using a bull horn to address the crowd. Based on the signs carried by participants, their grievances were many: anti-stimulus spending, complaints of encroaching socialism, one branding Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel a fascist. The gathering, however, was peaceful, if not energetic, watched over at the margins by Lafayette Police officers and curious onlookers and fussed over with live coverage by local news channels.
The tea bag movement has been the object of derision and humor among many on the left, in part for its earnestness, but also because of its unintended reference to a certain sexual activity practiced by gay men. Organizers of some TEA gatherings had urged supporters to be wary of liberals with video cameras trying to capitalize on the double meaning of the term “tea bagging.” A YouTube video viewed more than 78,000 times makes reference to the entendre. Be warned: The video gets a bit salty at times.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.