Memo to Tea Party: Actually, I Want My Country Back

Want respect tea partiers? Here are five words you can lose, and five things you can do.

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Memo to the tea partiers, et al: We'll be cool—really—if you just stop using that phrase.

You know what I'm talking about. The five words that you deploy accidentally on purpose to tell the president and a whole lot of other Americans that they're not really Americans:

"I want my country back."

What's more insulting than that? It's shorthand for the way Sarah Palin described Boston tax day tea partiers as "These hard working, good, equality and liberty loving, good, everyday Americans." Shorthand for: Tea partiers are real Americans and everyone else is a socialist, atheist mongrel scrounging for handouts while "palling around with terrorists."

It's worse than "love it or leave it"—which at least had the benefit of a point of view; and worse than "show us the birth certificate"—which at least means that you've got a goal.

People don't have to don Revolutionary War costumes to prove their loyalty to the Constitution; there are better ways to demonstrate how much you love this country other than quitting your job as governor of Alaska. Tea partiers seem to feel like they've been dismissed by the federal government and the mainstream media. (Never mind that their rallies get 24/7 coverage on cable news outlets.) But they haven't done what people do when they want to be taken seriously. Want respect? Here's what you do:

Embrace Disco

Tea party events still have a whiff of those "Disco Sucks" rallies from the late ‘70s.

When tea partying, just keep in mind that there's someone out there who thinks your music sucks, too. If you display too much glee while burning BeeGee records or effigies of your congressman, what do you expect other people to think of you? Don't like being treated like a lynch mob? Stop acting like one.

Even some of President Barack Obama's supporters probably wish he'd break out his original birth certificate, just to put an end to birther madness—but it won't work. Anyone who questions the bona fides of a certified copy can question an original just as easily. If tea partiers want to be seen as spirited, engaged civil libertarians picking up where Ross Perot left off, and not fringe separatists, then they should swiftly and publicly purge their ranks of birthers and fringe separatists.