I first saw the Tea Party Express down at the docks. I was drawn to that odd vessel by all those flags waving about overhead. That boat was a strange sight indeed. First, there was the hull itself which looked hurriedly cobbled together - and not very expertly either - seemingly out of discarded railroad boxcars, re-cycled army tanks, church steeples and a lot of other unidentifiable material. Lying at the dock, the boat seemed to list impossibly far to the right. In fact, the strange craft looked entirely hard aground and near capsizing.
There were all those flags and banners of course. First, there was a huge American flag flying from the masthead, which itself seemed to be made from an extra high church steeple. Flying from the crossbars of the cross on top were other flags. One had ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ boldly written beneath the image of a rattlesnake on a yellow background. Another small one showed a tree with the words “It’s Time to Water the Tree of Liberty with Blood”. Still other smaller ones here and there had pictures of guns, and some had images and words which would guarantee a desperate life-or-death fight if unwisely waved in the Watts neighborhood of LA for example.
Still and all it was a colorful sight. I spotted an oddly dressed man striding importantly about on deck. He wore camouflage trousers and a shirt seemingly made out of the United States flag. On his head appeared to be some sort of floppy olive drab military campaign hat. A large, oval silver belt buckle with an American eagle set in gold was at his waist, and a large silver cross hung conspicuously from a chain around his neck. “I (heart) Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck” was tattooed on his right arm. Taking him for some sort of comic icon I asked if he knew where the captain might be found.
“I am the captain!” he informed me importantly. I introduced myself and said my newspaper sent me to write an article on the ship and that I’d like to interview him.
“Fire away.” he said. I had noticed that he seemed very militant and had sort of belligerent in-your-face attitude, so first, I asked him about his military experience.
“Unfortunately, to my great regret, I never had the opportunity to serve my country in the military.” he answered.
I asked why not since his apparent age seemed about right for the Vietnam years.
“Well at the time I was seeking a critical civilian occupation and felt my services were far more important to the war effort through that there here at home.” he replied, not looking me in the eye.
I wondered out loud what that critical civilian occupation might have been.
“Well, to be honest, I was between jobs but looking for work of a critical civilian nature so to speak. So I could offer my expertise you know. But unfortunately, it was very hard to find the right kind of work and since I had a high draft number, I just was never called up during those times.”
“Did you ever find your critical civilian job, or think about volunteering for the military?” I asked.
“No.” he said tersely, looking up at the huge American flag flying at the steeple-mast. “I spent most of that time working in construction, which you really should consider critical work couldn’t you? I just never thought of it that way until just now.”
I sensed he wished to be off this particular subject. “So, tell me about your boat.” I said to him.
“Well, first of all,” he said rather stuffily, “this here is not a boat. This here is a ship, and a powerful ship of state to be precise. This here ship will be used to bring about critically needed political change to a nation in great peril. Namely ours.”
He went on, “This here ship is very strong. A lot of people don’t know this, but we’ve got a pretty much unlimited budget to make sure the ship is as strong as we want. For example, our powerful engines have been provided to us by wealthy patriots like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdock who are vitally and unselfishly concerned about this here country. Other money and all our fuel is provided by big oil and energy companies who care about the direction our country is headed and want to dispel any and all ridiculous climate change myths. The hull and many other important parts were donated by Christian patriots who only want to make sure God’s will is followed by the leaders of our country to guarantee abortionists and homosexuals aren’t able to contaminate our society any further.”
“So, where did you get the design for your ship, and who is responsible for that?” I asked, a burning question I had in mind ever since I first saw the thing.
“God provided the design.” he said. “This here ship was built and guided by the hand of God. All the input, every part, every screw and bolt and welded seam was directed by God, every paint brush stroke. In fact, I think this here ship should be considered holy. All we did when we built the ship was put the pieces where it seemed like God wanted them.”
“Which God is that?” I wondered. “Would that be a Jewish god, or Buddhist god, or a combination of a lot of different kinds of gods?”
“Of course not you idiot! I mean the one and only Christian God, Jesus Christ our savior, the Holy Trinity and our country’s salvation!”
I protested at once, “But, our country was founded on freedom of religion or no religion at all. It wasn’t based on any Christian god and neither was the US Constitution.”
The captain instantly swelled up at that and got red in the face. “Well, that’s where you’re absolutely and completely 100% wrong, by God!” he shouted loudly. “Everyone knows this here is a Christian nation, founded by Christians and on solid Christian principles! Maybe they just made a mistake in not pointing that out in the Constitution in the first place, I don’t know. But, that’s one of the things we aim to fix. We’re gonna put Christ back in the schools where he belongs, and put the Ten Commandments in every courthouse in this here country! What are you some kind of heathen atheist communist or traitor or something?”
“No, not at all.” I answered. “Actually I was raised as a Catholic, though probably not a very good one.”
“Well, there you are then. That’s different. Catholics are actually Christians too in their own way I’ve been told.” he said. “Although I don’t know all that much about you Mackerel Smackers myself.”
“Thanks.” I said. “Glad to know I will be allowed to get along in your world once you take over.’ I said somewhat sarcastically. The captain looked at me sharply.
“You ain’t trying to be a smart ass or anything are you?” he snorted.
“Nosirree, not me.” I replied. “So, tell me about the ships’s navigation equipment, the compass and electronics and things like that.”
He smiled as if here he knew to be on solid ground. “Well, we have all the latest there is. All the radars and radios and GPS’s and stuff like that. We didn’t need to spend no money on anything like a compass, now with all the fancy electronics and all, so we didn’t.”
“What if you have a power failure or something?” I asked. “Besides a compass being required by law, power failures do happen on ships fairly often, you know.”
“Law, schmaw. Ridiculous laws ain’t meant to be followed, at least by real Americans. If it’s God will we don’t need no particular law, we don’t pay no attention to it at all. Anyway, God’s hand will guide us if anything happens. Just like he guided Moses in the wilderness, and like he’s guided us so far.” he gave a superior grin. “We have no fear or worries about any of that being Christians. Ain’t you been listening to what I been telling you?”
“Oh, yes, I’ve been hearing you.” I said.
He went on. “Through this here ship we aim to take our country back, and set things right. We’ll fix the excessive taxation, and the runaway budget, and do away with all that social welfare stuff. If folks can’t make it, well, just let them go somewhere else where they believe in and have all that socialism stuff. We ain’t gonna allow that crap here. This country is for God-fearing, hardworking, Christian Americans only. No one else need apply. And that means all those wetbacks too. We’re gonna round ‘em up and send ‘em back where they belong. We’re gonna save America for us Americans!”
“You do know this country was founded almost 100% by immigrants from other countries don’t you?” I asked. “Plus the country was already inhabited by native people who weren’t Christians when our ancestors got here.”
“Well yes, that’s so. But THOSE immigrants were good Christians, and those Indians had to turn over their country to us because they WEREN’T Christians! That was God’s will!” the captain retorted. “Now, it’s our job to keep any more damned dark-skinned heathens out.”
“Most all Mexicans and Central Americans are good and faithful Catholics.” I pointed out.
“Yes, but they are mostly from the brown races which the Europeans brought religion to, just to save their souls from hell and damnation. But they ain’t exactly perfected as Christians yet neither in my opinion. I’ve always suspected that holy Catholic stuff was just a cover for them anyway. Those wetbacks ain’t got no business in our country I tell you, Catholic or not.” the good captain replied.
To change the subject I asked him, “So where is the ship ‘Tea Party Express’ headed from here and what qualifications do you have as captain?”
The captain replied. “As for my qualifications, why, I’ve got years of experience operating wheat combines on Kansas farms, which ought to qualify me enough to run just about anything you know. As to where we’re headed, why we’re headed to Washington, DC of course. We’re gonna be taking over there or ain’t you heard yet?”
“Well, I’ve certainly heard that’s your goal, but there are at least 70 percent of other Americans who don’t agree with you.” I said.
“Don’t matter.” he said. “We know what’s best for everybody. It may be a little rough for them at first, but they’ll soon see the light and be satisfied once we fix things.”
“What if they aren’t?” I asked. “What if they still disagree?”
“Too bad for them I guess. Like I said, it don’t matter if they do or not. You just can’t go against God’s will.” he replied.