A Tea Party X-mas

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


While the media and liberal politicians have often portayed the tea party movement as a monolithic angry white mob, over the past year and a half, I’ve found that tea party activists are far from a homogeneous group, even if they are mostly white. I’ve met some real characters: A Tennessee lawyer who campaigned for Congress carrying a pitchfork who doubles as a volunteer fire fighter; a Virginia safety engineer and Navy vet who owns a lot of guns and drives a German car jury-rigged to run on vegetable oil (better known as a “grease car”); and then of course, there’s Robin Stublen, a Florida activist who kills bugs and cuts grass for a living.

Usually Chrismas is a huge time of year for Stublen, because when he isn’t campaigning for Gov-elect Rick Scott, blasting his local zoning board for some sort of incompetence, or complaining about feckless Republicans, he’s generally working to cover his house with 350,000 Christmas lights. His house becomes such a major spectacle in the town of Punta Gorda that it has its own website giving directions and hours for the light show and indicating when Santa is likely to appear. The lights draw so much traffic that Stublen has been able to raise nearly $12,000 in donations in the past five years from passersby that he’s donated to local Kiwanis clubs. It’s an unusual hobby, and one you might not expect from your sterotypical tea partier, but Stublen is obsessed with what he calls “extreme lighting.”

This year, however, he was supposed to have knee surgery, so he skipped the annual light production. But for those of us who won’t be able to see the tea partier in his Santa suit, Stublen has put some of his display on video and posted it on YouTube.  For an entirely different perspective on the tea party movement, you can check it out here:

 

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate