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Tea Party of 35 intimidates peaceful picnic of 18 elderly liberal thinkers in Oregon Sunday

From Crooks and Liars website:

“Probably the most disturbing aspect of the multifarious effects of Fox News’ right-wing propaganda machine and its Tea Party offspring is the way it has utterly taken over the lives of so many senior citizens, who lap up every word as the gospel truth and have become increasingly radicalized by talking heads like Glenn Beck.

Even as they project their own intentions onto the likes of the unions, the Fox acolytes and the Tea Partiers have effectively become a brown shirt corps of mean-spirited, vicious thugs. It’s deeply disturbing to watch people in our parents’ generation viciously attacking liberals with increasing venom and violence.

The latest example took place last weekend in the quiet little retirement town of Roseburg, Oregon. It’s a pretty little burg on the I-5 corridor in western Oregon that is mostly populated with senior citizens of various stripes. Via Carla at Blue Oregon, we happened upon this story in the local paper:

‘A small political gathering of about 18 liberal thinkers at River Forks Park Sunday afternoon erupted in conflict when about 35 members of the conservative tea party intruded upon the meeting, waving flags and holding signs accusing the rival group of being communists, Marxists and socialists.

The liberal group — organized by — decided to leave the park and move its potluck to a nearby home. Members of the conservative group followed, parking at the entrance of a private lane leading to the home to continue their protest.

Roseburg Democrats Dean and Sara Byers said Monday they told tea party members who followed that they were not welcome to drive down the lane to their home.

The Byerses said they got out of their car to stop vehicles from entering the driveway and one tea party member almost ran them over.

Sara Byers said she was so shaken she called 911. She said a Douglas County deputy called about an hour and a half later and said he had been unable to respond because of other incidents. Byers said she was still considering filing a criminal complaint against members of the tea party for harassment.

A leader of the tea party group, Rich Raynor of Roseburg, disputed the liberal group’s version of events.

“They are liars,” said Raynor, director of Douglas County Americans for Prosperity. “That is what communists do.”

Members of the smaller group said Monday they were intimidated by the tea partiers, whom they accused of violating their constitutional right to peacefully assembly.

Roseburg resident Lillen Fifield, 70, called the group’s actions an “act of domestic terrorism” and said she was appalled that a peaceful gathering — mostly of women older than 65 — was interrupted.

“It is not OK to go around and intimidate and threaten people. That is not acceptable in a polite society,” Fifield said.

Conservative organizers defended their actions and said they will continue to protest similar gatherings.

“We were there to find out what they had to say and to bring a notice to the public that this kind of thing was going on. Quite honestly, if they have it again, then we are really going to make it well known,” Raynor said.

Raynor said the group believes is a communist front and said he would not stand for America becoming a fascist nation.

Sara Byers said she could not believe the meeting was targeted for protest. She said the group supports the middle class and wants to take back the government from the stranglehold of corporations.

She laughed at the accusations of communism and said the two groups actually have more in common than people think.

“I just said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Byers said.

Tea party members posted a 2:46-minute video of the confrontation in the park and added captions.

On the video, heckling members of the larger group celebrate breaking up the meeting.

 Vodpod videos no longer available.

“That sure did it in a hurry, huh?” a man says. A woman references next year’s election year and shouts, “Sure shows who is going to win! We are!”

As one woman packs up to leave, a man in a leather jacket tauntingly offers to carry her things.

“Do you want me to help? I mean if you are leaving, I’ll help,” the man says in the video. A caption added to the video reads, “I’ll help, just leave! And take your Marxist agenda with you.”

Raynor maintained the tea party’s goal was to attend the meeting and hear what the rival group had to say.

He said the fact that they stopped the meeting and left proves they have something to hide.

Sutherlin conservative Karen Meier said she posed as a member and infiltrated the group’s meeting prior to the confrontation. She said she found many of the liberals to be pleasant.

“Obviously, they don’t really know what MoveOn is and who it entails,” Meier said.

A meeting attendee Lorna Hayden of Roseburg said the tea party mischaracterized the nature of the meeting. Still, any group, no matter what its agenda, has a right to be in the park Sunday without being harassed, she said.

Raynor said the tea party never threatened anyone with violence and said no one brought guns to the confrontation. He said he urged his group to be civil but also to stand up against a group they believe is harming America.

“It is not our fault that we outnumber them,” Raynor said. “The philosophy they espouse is not a live-and-let-live philosophy. … I am fearful for my children and my grandchildren.”

Heather Morse
The News-Review

What has America come to?  I am very disgusted… and embarrassed… by these bullying tactics.


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