>Today was the International Food Festival at my University. I volunteered at the Jewish Student Group booth in order to garner free admission and enjoy a nice view of the stage that our booth had been graciously granted. We sold challah and offered to write people’s names in Hebrew for free, and I enjoyed bubble tea, hummus, baklava, and souvlaki.
While we were doing our business, a very oddly dressed man came up to our booth, and pulled out some fake money from a foreign country, asking us to identify it. The woman in the booth next to us, from Uzbekistan, was able to easily identify it, and he looked confused as to why we couldn’t. “Aren’t you from Uzbekistan?” he asked us. Our booths were close together, so it was a logical enough mistake. So we corrected him politely, and said we were actually the Jewish student group. “Oh.” he said, and then remarked, “So you just want everybody’s money then!”
The three of us at the booth were a bit shocked, but we didn’t say anything. He then began to interrogate us about Montana’s constitution, and asking questions to which all the answers were “Thomas Jefferson” such as “Who made the Louisiana Purchase?” He then put some fake money with Jefferson’s face and Tea Party slogans printed on it, and then put a few Tea Party pamphlets on the table, covering our table. At this point, we were all very uncomfortable, but still weren’t saying anything, because we didn’t want him saying anything else, and hoped he would leave. Then he turned to the middle one of us, the guy writing the Hebrew for people’s names, and said, “So, how come you Jews can’t get along with the Palestinians? Why do you guys hate each other so much?” That’s a complex question; especially because between the guy and myself, neither of us are really Zionists, in fact, he’s a fluent Arabic speaker who is very close to the Arabic Professor of our school, a Palestinian man, and regularly attends meetings of groups which raise money to build playgrounds in the Palestine area. So he said, in his most firm voice, “I am a friend to Palestinians. I like them.” The guy then handed us more pamphlets on the “new” constitution of Montana, which he claimed to have written himself, declaring a fair and just world for those who valued the liberty Jefferson set down.
Thankfully then, he walked off. We told the coordinators about this, and apparently he had been harassing every booth from a non-European nation. The coordinator apologized to us deeply, and we showed him the pamphlet, which had the guy’s name scribbled all over it. Apparently he’s a well known troublemaker at local “ethnic” based events.
So, that was my first encounter with the Tea Party face-to-face. I’m deeply unimpressed.
Note: Comments which speculate on the guy’s mental health are not welcome. Neither are comments which espouse the Tea Party ideology and partake in the No True Scotsman fallacy to try and say why this guy is not representative of the Real Tea Party (TM)