Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea Partier for a Day

Under the penalty of perjury you sign the 19 pages that make up your tax return, and channel Sarah Palin just a little bit. The weight of the document and its solemnity might be justified if you actually made a lot of money, or had sophisticated off-shore investments to report, but you didn't. What brings your Tea Party chi to the surface is perplexity about the return's actual meaning, and certainty the annual ritual of its preparation will cost you more than a thousand bucks.

The thick year-end package from the payroll company for your one part-time employee was startling, but the 29 page "how to file your tax return as a state legislator" memo on account of a $13,000 salary was the kicker that launched the day dream. There you are, standing at a podium in a rent-a-Chanel suit, waving your tax return while sounding off about the federal government takeover of our lives. One particularly flip and snarky sound bite, "the IRS is a gangster!" earns you passionate cheering from the crowd and a reference in Bill Clinton's speech. A parody on Saturday Night Live is imminent.

You are awakened from the dream by the CBS News/New York Times report about real Tea Partiers.

You are not invited to the party after all. Being white and miffed on tax day doesn't cut it. You're not angry enough, you believe President Obama was born in Hawaii, you don't carry a gun and, most importantly, you don't make enough money.

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