On Saturday, Aug. 27, Napa residents can choose between two competing rallies: the Tea Party rally, trotting out promised presidential candidates at the Napa Valley Expo, or the Green Party counter-rally, across the Napa River in Veterans Park. Both venues border Third Street, but there the similarities stop.
Tea Party flyers describe the Napa event as a kickoff rally for a coast-to-coast presidential debate tour (one suspects they are using the word "debate" very loosely). Organizers say that GOP candidates will appear, but at press time have not revealed any names.
The counter-rally, called the "Green Tea Party," is a grassroots event with no flyers yet—the organizers had to fight Napa Parks and Recreation to get a park use permit, which set plans back a bit.
I asked 23-year-old co-organizer Alex Shantz what he expects to accomplish by counter-rallying.
"We don't see a lot of people standing up and opposing them. A lot of people on the left don't want to take them seriously, but the Tea Party has put people into office, candidates who share their views. We want to not only show our opposition to the Tea Party," says Shantz, "but also affirm our positive values. We're going to have speakers, music and organizations including a booth by Food Not Bombs."
Shantz believes the Tea Party is a reactionary movement promoting a far-right-wing agenda. "We see their agenda as being anti-worker, anti-diversity, anti-immigration to the point of being xenophobic, and they scapegoat Muslims and the LGBT community." Shantz feels the Tea Party agenda is also anti-sustainability: "They try to undermine the legislation that regulates corporations. And we see that as harmful to the environment."
The event is scheduled to include Green Party gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells and Fairfax mayor Larry Bragman as speakers. A "progressive solidarity march" from Veterans Park to the Napa Fairgrounds will start about 2pm.
The 'Green Tea Party' event kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Veterans Memorial Park. Third and Main streets, Napa. 10:30am. Free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.