Saturday, April 17, 2010
I met up with Mo in the mall parking lot. He was trying to recruit me to join the Tea Party.
"This is quite a switch from your gangsta days with the Bloods," I remarked.
"Nah, not really, Kit," he replied. "They just wear a different color, on their skin, and I even get to carry my gun in public."
I raised an eyebrow, looking at him skeptically.
"Fo' real," he added. "At the rallies. The feds don't even bother me."
"Unbelievable," I replied. "What about getting spit on?"
"The ones who don't know me see this, and they're cool."
He unbuttoned his shirt and removed it, revealing a tee shirt underneath that said, Negroes United with Tea.
"Catchy," I said dryly. "So now you're a NUT."
"Yep," he agreed proudly.
"Uh, what's your goal?", I asked. "I mean, I have an idea what theirs is, but what's yours?"
Mo looked around furtively, and whispered, "You'll have to swear to keep it a secret."
I looked around too, wondering who to look for. Allegiances change so fast nowadays that I hardly know who the designated enemy is anymore.
"Okay," I said, "tell me."
Mo came closer. He said, "The goal is infiltration. We gonna hijack the Tea Party."
"Didn't Michael Steele already try that with the GOP?"
"Hell to the no," he answered. "He was sincere."
"Poor thing," I replied. "I still don't quite quite get it. A lot of them are racist to the bone, so why join them?"
"We figured out that's the same question that the infiltrators of the Party of Lincoln grappled with. They eased on in anyway, hijacked the party, and boom, next thang ya know, they're the GOP of today, hating on civil rights, pretending that slavery didn't exist and wanting to sanitize the already bloodless history books."
"The Tea Party comes across as being even more racist," I said.
"That's 'cause they don't know us," he said. "Hardly any have ever been real friends with a black person in their lives. People fear what they don't know. People kill what they fear."
"Yeah, I get the impression in the news that a lot of them are dying to re-do the Civil War."
"That's where we come in," he said. "Our role to let them know we have a lot in common, that we're all slaves since Wall Street ripped us off. Debt slaves."
"I get the strategy," I said. "Keep them focused on the greedy rich, instead of taking out their anger on us. But still, the haters scare me."
Mo shrugged. "They hate paying for stuff the most, 'cause they some cheap mofos who don't want to pay for jack. That's why they hate taxes so much, way more than black folks. Because of this, they hate the government even more."
"But why join them? They're still a little scary."
"The Tea Party needs strength in numbers. I been networking with Bloods and Crips, and they ain't scared of nothin'. They thinking about signing on, 'cause in exchange for our membership, we'll get our agenda on the table, starting with making weed legal."
My mouth was hanging open. Before I could say a word, two cornfed white folks came over. Mo introduced us.
"Buck and Becky, meet Kit."
"Howdy!", they said in unison, greeting me as friendly as apple pie.
Mo said, "Kit's thinking 'bout joining. I can vouch for her."
Before I could say I am?, Buck spoke. "We're on our way to pick up Jamal and Jamika. Wanna ride with us?"
"Um, where y'all going?"
"To a meetup to make signs for tomorrow's rally at the Medicare building."
"Y'all not gonna bomb it, are you?"
"Now Missy," said Becky sternly, "You been watching them nasty liberal news shows. We ain't like that."
"That's what Glenn Beck says all the time," I replied. "But why Medicare, and whatchu gonna do there?"
Mo jumped in and said, "We're gonna protest all that intrusive government spending on old folk's health. All they really need to do is smoke a little weed and they won't feel sick."
Mo done lost his damn mind, I thought.
Buck agreed with him. "You betcha!"
I followed them to their car, and to be perfectly honest, I never rode in a pickup with a Confederate flag before. I was polite and didn't mention it.
A few blocks away, they picked up Jamal and Jamika.
"Jamal The Plumber!", I exclaimed. "I didn't know they was talking about you!"
"Kit, baby!", he said, hugging me, "ain't seen you since the primaries. You know, the O-man is okay, but we need real change. Glad to see you're on board."
Then he winked at me, and I knew in an instant he was an infiltrator too. Jamal don't smoke weed, so I wondered what his agenda was. I asked him.
He said, "Health care reform should have been all or nothing, but Barack made it too easy for the insurance companies. By 2014, Americans will pay $6,000 a year for insurance whether they want it or not. I'm glad for those who truly need it, but I want what the Canadians and the French have, not being forced to decide between food in the fridge or paying $500 per month when I'm healthy as a horse."
"But what if you get sick? One unexpected surgery has caused a lot of people to lose their homes."
"Well earning only minimum wage while working 40 hours per week barely covers rent. How would l look living in cardboard box by the river so I can pay for health insurance that I don't need?"
Becky piped up, "You got a point, Jamal. That's what we've been saying!"
At the meetup, I saw one of Mo's homeboyz who used to drop in at my house back in the day when my boy was gang banging.
"Waz up, Ma?", his familiar deep voice said.
The young man who always called me Ma hugged me tight.
"You the last nigga I'd expect to see here," I whispered.
"I done gone from grass, to grass roots," he said. "Strength in numbers, ya know? Ain't like black folks are still mobilizing since Obama won, so we gonna ride with the Tea Party."
"To do what?"
"To stop the government's welfare system from treating those who need it like indentured servants."
"If you need food stamps and temporary cash assistance, in a lot of cities, you have to donate your time and work for free at some place to get them."
"Yeah, I know about that and it sucks."
"Further," he said, "It breaks up families. I can't live with my baby's mama no more because I work two part time jobs, but still don't earn quite enough to pay rent and feed of all three of us. Her slick azz employer invented a reason to fire her so he wouldn't have to pay for her unemployment."
"Yeah, they do that," I said.
"Now the government ties up 40 hours each week of her time, making her work like a damned indentured servant to get food stamps and a lousy $400 per month. Work to eat. WTF is that? And that's time she doesn't have to look for another job."
In the background, country music played. Becky wandered over and offered me a Tea brownie.
"It's from my cousin in California," she said. "Baked with top grade Canadian cannabis and Green Tea. It's very healthy."
"How sweet of you," I said politely. "Thanks anyway, but I'm watching my waistline."
"Hard to do these days," she said, nodding.
I agreed, and added, "I'm not down with genetically modified foods, the high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil they put in processed foods. Big Agriculture and Big Government in bed together, allowing the poisoning the American people. Is this a Tea Party issue?", I asked.
"I hadn't thought about it," Becky replied. "I guess it could be one. I'll add it to our agenda."
Kareem was standing behind her and winked at me. He mouthed the words, "Powers in numbers."
I began to laugh.
Becky looked at me oddly, then smiled. "I love some of you colored folks. Y'all laugh so easily."
"Um, thank you," I said politely, biting my tongue. This paid off. She ran and got me a free Negros United with Tea shirt.
"Thanks!", I said.
Becky smiled and wandered closer to where a speaker was debating whether Sarah Palin is a friend or foe since she paid her taxes.
I asked Jamika what she thought of all this.
"It's a good meetup," she whispered to me, "They ain't drinking beer. That's when they start obsessing over whether Barack was born in Hawaii or Kenya, and looking at me for the answer. I just tell them I hadn't been born then and I wasn't there, so I don't know."
"Sounds like a good answer to me," I said, "since nothing else satisfies them. But why are you in it?"
"I figured out that if one-fourth of the people who show up for Tea Party rallies are black, the really racist ones who are hardcore White Nationalists will quit, and start a new group that's even more fringe. Homeland Security will take care of their evil asses, because they are domestic terrorists."
I couldn't stop laughing. I laughed harder when I noticed that now, Buck was wearing Kareem's do-rag.
Just when I thought the night couldn't get any stranger, everyone pulled out their guns. I didn't have mine, so I watched through the smoky cigarette and cannabis haze while most of them cleaned theirs. Politics and the new Great Depression was an opportunity for marginalized and ordinary people to find common ground, although this would create some very strange alliances. My souvenir tee shirt would remind me of this.
At the end of the evening, Buck and Becky pulled me over to join in for the sing-a-long. I locked arms with the group and we sang We Shall Overcome.
But overcoming Medicare?
I think not.
Posted by Kit (Keep It Trill) at 8:21 AM