In Rhode Island the Bristol Fourth of July Committee, members found here, has banned the Rhode Island Tea Party folks from the Bristol Independence Day parade – forever.
The Tea Partiers’ offense was
wiping their feet on an American flag, no wait, that was Obama’s associate Bill Ayers that some sympathizers, who were independent citizens and not part of the Tea Party parade contingent, passed out copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence while walking alongside the float.
The Bristol parade czars determined, several days after the parade, that the Constitution and the Declaration are “fliers.” Apparently, unless you pay $200 or $300 dollars per “runner,” passing out fliers is against the rules, which state:
There will be no distributions or fundraising by any float applicant. No objects of any kind may be thrown, sprayed or otherwise distributed to spectators from any entry (i.e., candy, silly string, snappers, advertisements, etc.) Failure to comply will result in immediate removal from the parade.
Immediate removal did not occur, despite the fact that Jim Tavares, chairman of the parade’s float committee, claims to have “confiscated” several copies of the
subversive offending Founding documents himself. I do not think he would claim not to have recognized them. This decision, then, seems the result of deliberation – probably political deliberation – because it’s hard to believe the parade committee would claim they were owed an advertising fee in this case.
I can understand wanting to to charge local businesses an advertising fee to hand out offers to deliver milk and eggs (which were handed out, without approbation, so we assume the fee was paid), but I cannot figure out where copies of the Constitution are advertising for anything but liberty, or how they could be considered on the same level as candy and silly string. Apparently, a majority of the 109 members of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee do think one or the other of these characterizations is accurate.
Governor Carcieri is wondering about this decision, as is the Providence Journal.
Visit the Rhode Island Tea Party site for updates. Good luck to them.
Were I a RITP member, I’d consider legal action absent an apology. And though I am not an RITP member, I would contribute to a fund for the purpose should such a challenge be pressed.