Congratulations, Egypt! I see you’ve learned a thing or two from my example. By “my example,” I’m taking about my group. Yes, I’m a proud member of the Tea Party — but not a “tea bagger,” thank you, because I’ve recently discovered what that means, and I’m not interested — and a conservative Islamic society wouldn’t be either. But back to the point: Egypt, I see that you’ve decided to start shaking things up with some anti-government protests.
Good for you! Really, you guys are doing great. You’ve got the whole world media talking about you, praising your commitment to democratic freedom, and guessing how you’re going to alter Middle-Eastern power dynamics. In other words, you’ve already nailed Tea Party Rule #1: Always make sure there are cameras around when you get mad at the government.
This is an important rule. I can’t tell you how many times, early on, when we’d all get together and shout “Socialism!” and “Boo!” and wave yellow flags with snakes on them, there would be nobody there to take our picture. What a waste. Don’t get me wrong: Comparing Democrats to Nazis and listening to Toby Keith is fun whether there’s press around or not. But take it from me, don’t spring for an outdoor podium or an oversized Obama effigy unless there’s a chance you’ll see it in the paper the next morning.
So yes, Egypt, good work so far. But if you want to take your anti-government protests to the next level, there are some more Tea Party rules you’ll need to follow. For example, it looks like you’ve been doing a lot of rallying in the streets, throwing rocks and clashing with police. These are all good for getting attention, but they’re not going to get you the reform you want. Now forgive me, but I’m not sure why exactly you’re protesting President … Mubarak? Mubarak. Anyway, I’m not sure what he did to get on your bad side. I can only assume he tried to give you affordable health care. But that’s not the point; the point is, whatever you want, we Tea Partiers can teach you how to get it.
First off, you need a catchy slogan for your protest. I hear you’ve been yelling things like “Dignity!” and “Welcome to a free Egypt.” These won’t do. You need something punchier. Try “Mubarak is a Socialist” or “Mubarak is a Nazi.” Look, I’m just spit-balling, but you’re going to want to use one of those terms. Actually, go with both. I’m pretty sure they mean the same thing.
Another important Tea Party lesson: You need a prominent leader. It looks like you’ve got a few big names already, like the Nobel laureate Mohamad El-Baradei. Now he’s good, but does he have a radio program? Does he have a chalkboard that he can write things on as he teaches you parts of American history that your government doesn’t want you to know? Basically, is he Glenn Beck?
You need Glenn Beck. No anti-government protest is complete without him.
The last Tea Party rule is the most important: You’ve got to have some kind of legislative goal for when your protest succeeds. Think about it, Egypt. What’s your version of wanting your country to completely get rid of taxes and brown people? You’ve got to figure this out, because soon enough you’ll be in charge. What will you look like then? Will you finally allow a loyal political opposition? Will you make room in the public arena for reasoned debate? Will you put protections in place for the least well-off among you?
You will? I knew it. Socialist Nazis, all of you.
River Clegg is a senior in Davenport College.