Sunday, April 4, 2010

TEA Party Egged On; Duke and The Legendary Hit Streets

Dark thirty in the garage of a suburban ranch house at
Woodway, a fashionable suburb of Waco.

Easter Eve, and two children grown old, one approaching
middle age, an auto sales executive, the other well into
maturity, a silver-haired retiree, begin to play and cut up
in a makeshift recording studio.

For mood, Duke Machado replaces the standard light bulb with
a black light, which bathes the tiny space, its walls
upholstered in carpet padding that muffles and neutralizes
sounds and their spectral abberrations, in an eerie purple
glow. Now the furnishings, a computer and a Yamaha portable
keyboard, are lit only by the deep purple tones and the glow
from the computer screen.

The Legendary Jim Parks takes up his position behind a state
of the art mike shielded by a fabric barrier to mitigate "S"
sounds in his speech, and begins to rap over a syncopated
keyboard ensemble heavily treated with echo and reverb.

"Look out, Six Shooter Junction, Jerusalem on the Brazos,
The Duke is lookin' for ya'. All you swingin' mamas, you
finger-poppin' daddy'o's, you better beware because he's got
The Legendary ridin' shotgun throughout your neighborhoods
here in Jerusalem on the Brazos to get your actions, your
reactions and your recollections of the year of decision -
2010 - that time of the knife fights between alley cats,
prelude to the full dress bayonet charge that 2012 promises
to be.

"These are the times, the times, the times, the times when
the sands run out, the tick of the tock, the rhythm of the
clock as it counts out the seconds, minutes and hours of
your lives and we're gonna be out there in the streets
amongst y'all, out in Precinct 47 and Precinct 49 and all up
and down the Valley of the Brazos in a relentless quest for
what it is and what it shall be..."

The Duke cuts in, says "We've got a really big show lined up
tonight. We've got David Saucedo calling in from the road
with the Tea Party to tell us what it's like to
get egged by the liberals at Searchlight, Nevada, by
(Senator) Harry Reid's forces..."

"Yeah, Duke, talk at us about it, man. Let's get down to
the real nitty gritty, bud..."

The regular Saturday night blog talk radio
show has gone into a "Man In The Street" phase remotely
produced between a computer program, the website and two cell phones, one manned by Janet
Jackson, training and development director of the
organization, from her Clifton home, and one borne by The
Duke as he interviews people at convenience stores,
supermarket parking lots and other high traffic areas in the
inner city of Waco.

The Legendary takes photos of the interview subjects, hands
out cards proclaiming the origins of the happening, and
ropes and steers likely prospects for the discussion from
the throngs streaming in and out of the doors of the
commercial locations they visit.

High tech, the new wrinkle would boggle the mind of our
grandfathers and fathers who knew only about wearing out
shoe and boot leather asking for that vote. This is
something else again. You can cover literally hundreds and
hundreds of precincts in one hours' time.

It would come as no surprise to Dr. Marshall McLuhan, author
of "Understanding Media" and "The Medium Is The Massage,"
about whom such luminaries and pundits as Tom Wolfe asked in
the sixties, "But what if he's right?"

He was right.

Depend on it.

He was right.

First up, David Saucedo, a rap artist and Republican
delegate from Precinct 49 near the corner of 31st and Parrot
in the area between 25th Street and New Road paralleling
Waco Drive:

"I'm dedicating my life to the conservative movement." He
tells a story about a planned demonstration of union members
at the state line straddling community near Las Vegas, home
of Senate Majority Harry Reid, a Democrat.

He's been interviewed by television and radio reporters,
even National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" as he
rides the bus cross country - ultimate destination,
Washington, D.C., on Tax Day, April 15th.

When the three buses began to pull out of Searchlight, he
tells The Duke, "They thought they would throw eggs at
us...The officers walked off without arresting anybody,"
though a member of the performing troupe had taken the
trouble to videotape the rash act, capturing the faces and
identities of those who attacked the buses with their sticky

When the two pull up in the parking lot of a bodega on the
corner of 18th and Dutton, a barrio neighborhood complete
with a chicken barbacoa stand and video poker machines,
customers avoid them like the plague, looking askance at the
video camera and digital SLR news rig The Legendary is

Finally, The Legendary attracts the attention of a young
woman named Penny. She's all dolled up to go out clubbing
with her man, her skin coated with glitter, fresh makeup and
party clothes signalling her mission to dance and get down.

From the seat of the pickup, she holds forth about her
understanding of the values Chet Edwards, the multi-term
Democratic Congressman locked in a heavily contested bid
between himself and either of two Republican challegers who
will run off for the primary nomination on April 13 for the
District 17 contest in November. They are Houston oil man
Bill Flores and Waco video tape wizard Rob Curnock, a former
sports anchorman for Channel 10 KWTX.

"He's a good family man," she says of Mr. Edwards. She saw
him at an American Heart Association shin dig at some time
in the past - maybe the 90's, as she recalls. "He's not one
of those stuck up politicians."

The Duke probes more deeply, asking about her inner fears
regarding health care, education, the kind of issues he and
his organization like to emphasize.

Regarding liberal policies, "They're putting forward a
message that the government needs to support the people," he
explains. As to health insurance, he explains, while Penny
nods in agreement, "It's not free. It's $250 a month. If
you don't pay, it's a $350 fine and if you don't pay that,
you get put in jail. Who passes the laws? The liberals."

She winds up agreeing with him and steers her pickup out of
the heavily potholed lot, enroute to a Saturday night

As they motor across town to the HEB supermarket on the
corner of Wooded Acres and Bosque, The Duke raps with Ms.
Jackson, getting her reaction to Penny's opinions about Mr.

"He's always at one occasion or another and he's always got
one of those giant two by four-foot checks he shows people."

She goes on about the theater of the presentation the sizzle
on the steak, the massage of the medium.

"Dirty tricks," she says, recalling how in the final few
days of the latest Congressiona election, the Edwards camp
began to circulate the notion that Mr. Curnock wanted to
raise taxes by 30 percent.

"That made it sound like 30 percent more than what they were
already paying. What he (Curnock) meant was a flat tax of
30 percent, which would capture peoples' taxes at 30

"Dirty tricks."

Says The Duke, "Janet, they say if you're scared, go to
church." They laugh.

The first interviewee at the teeming shopping center is Mr.
Lamar Jones.

"What do you worry about most when you go to bed at night?"
The Duke asks of the bachelor who has no wife, no kids and a
good paying job.

Mr. Jones says he worries about nothing.

What about local politics? What does he think about it?

"Not much, but it ain't for me. Too much drama."

What does he mean?

"I let some of the old cats take care of things."

Duke: "Oh, come on!" In unison they laugh at that.

It is established that he voted for President Barack Obama.
The issues?

"He's a black guy - who his preacher was and all that
stuff," Mr. Jones says. No mention of taxes or social

The Duke wishes to know if he doesn't really think that the
O-man is really pushing a socialist agenda, "Like Robin Hood
or something."

He explains that he sees a lot of danger in that. "They're
really trying to take your stuff." What if they start
coming around asking about your views, your attitudes?

"That's what they mean about that civilian police force, you

They part as friends, agreeing to disagree.

The Legendary attracts the attention of a middle-aged man in
a bright yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the single word,

An articulate, well-barbered and affable man, he is
avuncular but adamant that as a Republican, he is
"disenchanted by the times."

He never really identifies himself.

"Now we're the party of fear and the party of 'screw you'
and I can't stomach that."

The weekend of the vote on Obama care, he recalls, he
visited a restaurant in the surrounding neighborhood of fine
homes and high-earning familes.

"People were spreading so much vitriol about Chet Edwards,
who voted exactly the way our party wanted him to vote. But
it's not good enough. They were disappointed that he didn't
have more influence over his fellow Democrats; they want him
to be responsible for other peoples' votes."

Mr. Edwards voted against the passage of the health care
reform measure and the passage of the "Reconciliation Act,"
which approved the amendments made to the bill in the Senate
before they returned it to the House of Representatives.

The Legendary asks him if he feels there is anything like a
"loyal opposition" left in the nation's legislative

What is meant by that? He explains to the man that he means
the way the back benchers in the British Parliament are
willing to compromise with the Conservative and Tory parties
to get their agenda recognized, passed and enacted as law.

"I don't see any compromise whatsoever now," the man
replies. "That's what Ronald Reagan was. He was willing to
work with (House Speaker) Tip O'Neill and then sit down
after fighting all day long and have dinner with him."

The Duke characterizes the Obama Administration as a
"wrecking crew," a polarizing element in the equation that
has stymied any good will or desire to "go along to get
along," the old Democratic mantra of House Speaker Sam
Rayburn and President, once Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon

"Take a look at any socialist country. If Obama has his
way, our programs will mirror every other socialist

"We already have socialized medicine," the man points out.
An early McCain supporter who voted for the Senator in the
primary battle of 2000 when Dub-yah got the nod from the

"Medicare, Medicaid, that's what that is." He shrugs, says
that if the economy hadn't tanked at the last minute before
the elections of 2008, we would have Republicans in the
White House and the House and Senate today.

How about the prospects for the repeal of Obamacare? "It's
done. It's so done," the man says confidently.

The final interviewee of the evening is Mr. Robert Perez, a
proud father of a two-year-old daughter whose birthday was
Saturday. They had bought a cake and a bright red balloon
to prepare for her birthday party.

He chatted with The Duke while the little girl's mother
looked on proudly.

Duke quickly established that Mr. Perez voted for Mr. Obama,
that he is getting an education at a local trade training
school and that he has a strong faith in God.

"What do you think about the liberal agenda toward
secularization?" The Duke asked him while Mr. Perez's little
girl cooed and batted her new balloon aroud under the harsh
lighting of the parking lot.

"I believe you shouldn't pressure people to follow any
religion," he replied. It's private matter, one with which
the government should not concern itself. He reply and his
affect are bluff and final.

He did agree that if a Hispanic Republican organization can
give himself and his family information about how to get
grants and student loans and a way to attend a local
college, he will be there with bells on.

1 comment:

  1. What a night! Let's do it again soon...