II: In Search for a Beverage of Their Own
In case you don't know it, the Left has been brewing up their very own Tea Party, though I don't believe it is immediately associated with any specific beverage as of yet; I mean aside from the typical patriots' rousing mug of righteous indignation over governmental abuse. That's right, liberals apparently can still get riled up enough about governmental abuse to take to the streets too just like the big bad Tea Party, except when liberals protest, such as the recent nationwide Mad Day marches, it's really big and not really bad.
One might have forgotten that liberals are traditionally the go-to "protest about injustice" kind of crowd, with a pedigree that goes all the way back to the old "taxation without representation" days of protest history. To watch the way the media's covered since the 08 election and considering the limp push back liberals gave to Obama during his few months in the Whitehouse, one might've thought there was no "left" left. Well, those days are over, 1070 was a much-needed wake-up for the left of the massing anger and insolence on the right. In the basic dynamic of a democracy, the liberals will have to fight back to keep the social balance. Just like the populist movements of the 1880s, or the anti-establishment/anti-war movement of the 1960s, this anti-1070 movement has all the standard features of a nascent grassroots groundswell.
You can tell by going to a rally. There were all types of liberals protesting SB 1070 that morning, just like a tea party crowd ...well, at least a little like anyway, but in an absolutely opposite non-bizarro world sort of way. They have people who are screaming mad about legitimate injustices; they have people who are just shouting because they like to shout anyway. They have folks brimming with passion and articulate explications of their movement's talking point version of a world view; and they've got folks who thought up their most snide 10 word retort, scrawled it on a sign, and now have nothing else left to say. They've got elders trying to save their vision of their America and children just learning to believe; they've got folks in funny costumes and the newly politicized first-timer activists, and even a few sign makers who are still practicing their spelling.
See, just like a regular tea party except without all the aggressive racism, sexism, militarism, downright smug anti-environmentalism, and out and out self-serving greed that are the hallmarks of the stagnated conservative movement that, last month, thought it held the copyright on the idea of patriots walking together out in the street to profess one's love and image of country. Which bring to mind that when it comes to draping one's self in the flag the Tea Party has met its match.
At Tea Party events, the fashion disasters usually take flag motifs and/or colors and re-pattern them into new functional, thought wretchedly gaudy, item of clothing usually involving a hot glue gun and/or fabric paint. At the May Day Anti-SB 1070 parade, it was the flags themselves that were worn or carried. By the dozens, the US flag, the Arizona flag, wrapped like blankets around smiling faces. It sometimes looked like citizens being born before our very eyes.
But before we get lost in the esoteric of the meaning of flags as a fashion accessory, first let's address a more immediate and simpler question: What about that beverage thing? They can't call themselves the coffee party. Somebody already took that and it sounds to copy-cat to be cool anyway. So the left will have to self-identify with some other beverage if they hope to brand themselves into the public consciousness. In this modern age a movement that can't generate product placement won't amount to much more than a wiggle. So, if the nationwide liberal/ethnic hybrid movement that rose up in response to AZ's immigration follies were to actually come up with a beverage worthy of self-identification, its beverage of choice would probably have to be "water."