Lindsay Lacombe Transcript

Interview with Lindsay Lacombe — a Tea Party participant who attended the Reading Meet-up on June 1, 2010 — conducted at Slattery’s, a bar in Fitchburg, Massachusetts on June, 11, 2010. Interview Time: 53:25 A.J. Bauer: Okay Lindsay, so let’s start out with some background and bio information. So how old are you? Lindsay Lacombe: I’m 22. AB: So that would be 198... LL: 1987 AB: So are you from Fitchburg originally? LL: Yep I was born in Fitchburg. I lived here for six years and then we moved out to Orange, Mass., where we lived for a couple of years, until I turned 12 or something — but I’ve lived here for most of my life. AB: So Western Massachusetts for pretty much your whole life? LL: Yeah. AB: Have you done any traveling? LL: Yep. I’ve gone on a couple of trips — I’ve been to Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic. I had the chance to go to China for about a month, which was really neat. I was actually — I got to go to Tiananmen Square, which was really ... emotional I guess. It was pretty neat — and the Forbidden City, it was really neat. So I’ve definitely traveled a little bit. AB: You’ve traveled quite a bit, that’s amazing! So the first kind of politics question I have: What’s your first political memory? LL: My mom talking about Clinton. And I didn’t really understand exactly, but she didn’t like him. And I remember the trial — and I think I remember the news about OJ Simpson too, which isn’t quite the same at all, but I remember watching the news about OJ and Clinton. AB: So those are your earlier news memories. LL: Yeah, I can’t really remember anything before that. AB: So obviously growing up in a household that didn’t support Clinton in Massachusetts — I know when I was little we used to have mock elections in elementary school. Did you ever have anything like that? LL: I think so. I think I remember putting things [ballots] in bins, but I don’t remember what it was for. But I do remember doing something like that. ... Actually, I was home-schooled at one point, so it could have been while I was home-schooled — so that doesn’t really count. AB: Yeah, so that brings me to another question: What’s your educational background? I guess you’re in college now, and this question is usually for people who already have their degrees and things. But, you did some home-schooling? LL: We did a couple of years of home-schooling — my mom didn’t like the public school system of Orange very much. So, fourth grade to sixth grade I was home-schooled. And, you know, she didn’t share much about why I was home-schooled, but I think it had a lot to do with the health classes were very liberal and a little too, uh, open with the students about things that my mom felt parents should be sharing with their children. AB: So a few years home-schooled, but otherwise public or private? LL: Public. AB: And what were your favorite subjects? LL: I loved history and English [inaudible]. And I enjoyed every class I had really — if my teachers really enjoyed a topic, I’m easy to please when it comes to learning. But my favorites — and it had a lot to do with my teachers — were my history classes and my English classes, but it really had a lot to do with the teachers that I had. AB: A good teacher can mean a lot. LL: Oh, yeah! AB: Now you’re doing drama? LL: Theatre. AB: Right, theatre. I’m sorry. What drove you to do that as opposed to, say, history or English? LL: Um, well with English, I knew I didn’t want to teach — as inspirational as my teachers were I really could not see myself teaching an English class, however I love acting, I love film, and directing and writing and these things and I felt that this was the best option for me as far as engaging all my interests — because writing plays requires a lot of research, which has a lot to do with history. History is so related to English. So as far as communicating what you want to portray, I think theatre is a great medium — even if it’s not as popular as film. AB: And, I think I remember hearing the last time we met that you’re religious — what is your affiliation? LL: I go to a non-denominational church — the Church of the Harvest in Fitchburg — I’ve been going there all my life. I’ve been to a lot of different churches through this discipleship program I was in, so I’ve definitely seen how a lot of other churches are run and I like the smaller, non-denominational churches. I prefer them. AB: And is that the kind of church you were brought up in? LL: Yep. AB: So, what role would you say religion plays in your life? LL: It’s sort of foundation upon which everything else is built, or to put it another way, it’s what everything else revolves around. It’s pretty important. AB: Were you making a C.S. Lewis reference there? LL: Actually, you mean Mere Christianity? Yeah. AB: I had seen that quote on a subway once, and when you said that it reminded me of the quote. LL: I love C.S. Lewis. I’m actually reading Mere Christianity right now. AB: It’s on my list of things to check out. LL: It’s really good as far as apologetics go. AB: So, bridging the subject of literature — I saw you were reading Hemingway at that last meeting. Who are some of your favorite authors? What do you like to read? Not necessarily just literature, anything really. LL: I really enjoyed For Whom the Bell Tolls, that was really really good. I like the classics, I really like reading a book that challenges me, that isn’t one of those milk sap book kind of things. I like to be challenged. I like a book that when you’re done with it it’s changed you somehow, or you walk away with a principle — and I really like fiction, I read very little non-fiction. But I want to be taught something; I want to meet somebody that I’m glad I met — that type of thing. AB: Real full characters. LL: Yeah. I like Dickens a lot. I like, I’m not sure how much I like Hemingway — he’s written a lot of different stuff. I guess it’s sort of a hard question because I like so many things. AB: That’s a natural response to Hemingway. So you mentioned Lewis and the apologetics, what type of theory-type reading do you do? LL: I’m trying to read [chuckles] — I’m trying to read Democracy in America, I like trying to inform myself, because sometimes I feel like I don’t know enough to be talking to other people about what I believe, I mean on the street or going somewhere. So I feel like if I can understand my country and the principles of what we stand on, I’ll be able to communicate it better, as opposed to feeling it’s right in my heart but not understanding why it’s right in my mind. So, I like reading books like Democracy in America, the Constitution — I really want to read books by John Locke, Enlightenment period books, which a lot of today’s ... a lot of Constitution writers were influenced by those people, and that’s kind of a project I want to undertake, is to read those people — John Locke, Hobbes, those kind of people. AB: You’ll find them interesting. Mill is good too. So, you say you’re currently reading through Democracy in America, how did you hear about Tocqueville? LL: I was in a history class and I stayed after to ask some more questions — we were talking about the Constitution — and just asked her more questions about, how can I learn more. Because when you read something and something doesn’t sit well with you and you know it doesn’t, but why don’t I like that, why isn’t that right? So she pointed me to him and also to the Federalist Papers and the Antifederalist Papers by Jefferson and I think Hamilton. I need to read through those, I still haven’t. AB: I haven’t gotten all the way through them either. That’s a lot to read. LL: From what I hear it’s the kind of book you should probably read with other people, so maybe at some point I can start something at school and get people together, or find a history class that’s going to be a little more intensive and read all these books and discuss the principles in them. AB: I think that’s a good way to go. So, have you voted before? LL: I have. AB: When was the first time that you voted and what brought you out to vote? LL: I think my first election was this last one, with Obama. AB: So that was 2008? LL: Yeah. AB: And that made you 20. So was that your first election due to age reasons? LL: Yeah. AB: So what brought you out in that election? LL: Honestly, it had a lot to do with my mom and discussions in the house about what was happening. And it’s kind of our civic responsibility to vote and to participate in our government because that’s what people have died for. And whichever way you vote, it’s just so important to vote — because so many people aren’t that it could make a difference. I was watching this film and they were having a vote for a school mascot, and it ended up being something ridiculous, like the Beavers or something really stupid, because nobody voted, so whoever voted — if more people had voted it would have been something cooler. AB: And what political issues would you say are most important to you? LL: Probably first would be pro-life. I think that’s pretty foundational — just the sanctity of life. AB: What are the next couple issues down the list, if you were ranking them? LL: The size of government and the involvement of government in each of our lives and what they get to say we have to do. AB: So, in terms of party affiliation, do you consider yourself a part of any party or have you ever? LL: I’m registered as an independent but I empathize with Republican doctrines — I actually really like what, and I didn’t really hear the whole story but [pause] the new Senator that was just elected... AB: Scott Brown. LL: Scott Brown — people were upset with him because he voted Democrat on something, and he said, and I don’t even remember what it was, but he said he’s not going to vote Democrat or vote Republican, he’s going to do what’s right. And that’s kind of how I feel too. I’m going to vote for the person who adheres to the principles that I believe are the right thing. AB: So you would consider yourself someone who doesn’t vote based on party but based on ideology or beliefs. LL: Typically, a Republican is going to hold to the principles that I have, but I’m not going to refuse to look at or vote for something just because it’s not Republican — I think that’s pretty closed-minded and silly. AB: What characteristics are important to you in a political leader? LL: Honesty. Transparency. And following through on what he says he’s going to do, which is kind of like honesty, but you can be honest about something and not stand up for it. AB: I’m assuming from the last time we spoke and what we’ve been talking about — I’m assuming you’re against Obama. LL: I disagree with Obama, yeah. AB: I guess, what about Obama makes you disagree with his politics — is it purely ideological or do you think he has flaws as a leader? Is it an issue of his leadership or an issue of his policies? LL: Well, as far as leadership goes, from what I understand he has not followed through on a lot of the things that he said — like something I just heard on the radio today, he was more than willing to meet with these Arab leaders but he’s not even willing to meet with the leader of [inaudible] to talk about what’s happening. He seems to display a little bit of hypocrisy as far as what he said when he was campaigning and what he’s doing — just because what he’s been doing doesn’t match up with the decisions he’s made. He just shows a lot of, I don’t know, not disrespect — but by saying things that — he’s just not representing us by saying things like “we’re not a Christian nation”, just things he says — he’s not speaking for us, he’s in a league all his own. AB: So you said with his hypocrisy, I guess that’s one critique that could come from the left — one could say, Obama said he would include the public option but he didn’t — is it the kind of thing where you’d like to see him follow through with those kinds of things or is it something where the hypocrisy shows a lack of character? LL: The hypocrisy shows a lack of character, yeah. Like with all the taxes — he said we’re not going to raise the taxes, or we’re only going to raise them for a select few, but all he’s done is raised taxes, which, honestly I’m not 100 percent sure what I think about the taxes; but if you’re going to do something — didn’t he only speak to us one time — hasn’t he only had one state of the union address? AB: Well, he’s had more than one address before Congress — but there’s not a state of the union address the first year, because they have the inauguration. So his first one would be 2010, so he had that one. You mentioned radio, what radio stations do you listen to? LL: It was either 1280 AM, which is a Fox News station, or 580, which I think is Boston Talks, no Boston Talks is 96.9, which is FM. And 580 is AM but I don’t remember the call sign. AB: That’s fine. We’ll get to media stuff in a little while, but I just wanted to catch that before I forgot. So I know what you said in your e-mail, and I’m not asking this question to try to stump you or anything, I just kind of want to get a general sense, not a line-by-line reading, but what does the Constitution mean to you? LL: I’d say the Constitution is the basis of how — the blueprint, rather, of how this country should be run. I think they had it right when they wrote the Constitution — even though it wasn’t perfect, but they still allowed, the writers of the Constitution wrote it so that we could change things, by having amendments, so that’s the criticism I often hear about the Constitution is that it didn’t get rid of slavery, which was a horrible institution, but the writing of it made it so that they could get rid of the institution by the way it was set up. AB: So it allows for progress. LL: Exactly, exactly. AB: What would you say are its greatest elements and what would you say are its flaws? LL: I’m not sure I can answer that question very well off the top of my head. AB: That’s no problem — like I said, this isn’t a quiz game show. That’s fine. What kind of music do you like to listen to? LL: I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes. I’ve started listening to Country recently — I like a lot of hip hop and R&B and all that stuff. I really listen to the content — the content of the music really determines whether or not I want to continue listening to it. I listen to what the words say and it’s like anything else if it’s something that has a message that’s crude or vulgar, I don’t want to put that in my head. But in terms of the sound, I like all kinds of different sounds. AB: What are some artists you listen to? What’s on your most recent playlist? LL: I really enjoy a lot of Independent, I like Missy Higgins, she’s really good. I like a lot of Christian artists, I like Lacrae. I like jazz, I like all kinds of stuff. I like Frank Sinatra, I like Michael Bouble. I like classy stuff. AB: A dangerous question to ask a theatre/film student, but what kind of movies do you like? LL: I like — the best word I can think of is I like epic movies, movies that are going to tell you not just enterain you for 90 minutes but really communicate something. Braveheart, Gladiator. I wish I could think of more off the top of my head — The Village by M. Night Shamalan. I like movies that are exceptional in some way, like the writing in the village — just absolutely incredible. I really pay attention to cinematography, the ways things are shot, and the acting and directing. I pay attention to those things, so if there’s something a little different about a movie, or has a really good storyline or eludes to other things, like literature, it just makes me really excited — but I’m kind of easily excited, so. AB: Now switching gears a little bit. What does being an American mean to you? LL: [Gasp of surprise followed by a laugh] AB: It’s kind of like a fifth grade essay question, I know. LL: [long pensive pause] I think being an American represents coming out of — like how it’s called the melting pot — like people from all kinds of different nations came here to participate in something that hadn’t really been done in a while — exercising religious freedom and political freedom and it started out kind of as a sanctuary — and that means something, and how we’re all different races and different ethnicities but we also subscribe, basically, to a set of beliefs and we enjoy them and we all sort of look backwards to the men who died to give it to us. It’s a philosophical thing and it’s almost a religious thing. It’s really, it’s really... AB: When you say it’s almost a philosophical thing, it’s almost a religious thing, are you referring to the looking backwards to the men who died? LL: Yeah, for freedom. To be able to live without fear — no matter what religion you are really. AB: A term that gets thrown around a lot is ‘un-American’, what do you think is meant by un-American? What to you is un-American? LL: It’s kind of hard to answer because an American means that you have the right to voice your dissent, so even though you’re being an American by voicing your dissent, I would say that being un-American would be being unpatriotic or saying that America deserves to be burned like that guy, that pastor for Obama, Jeremiah something? AB: Jeremiah Wright. LL: His friend, Louis something? AB: Um, Louis Farrakhan? LL: Yeah, they were talking about him on the radio and he said some pretty scary things — and I think that would be un-American. The things that he said that he just sort of pisses on what everybody is trying to do. AB: When you say what everybody is trying to do what are you referring to? LL: The country united as a whole — what we’ve been doing since 1776, the forward progression of our country, for good or for bad. AB: Do you feel a stronger cultural connection to your country, your state, your religious group, your ethnic group, your class or some other kind of group? If somebody says, what are you? LL: The first thing I’d say? AB: Yeah, what identifies you? LL: I’d probably say I’m a Christian first — not knowing what they were talking about. But when you’re in a certain place, like Washington DC, or a place that has a monument — some places evoke patriotism and I think I’d be quicker to say I’m an American in those places that remind you of our heritage or remind you of the people that came before us. AB: Switching to news media — where do you get your news today? LL: I listen to the radio a lot. AB: Those stations you mentioned earlier predominantly? LL: [Shakes head affirmatively] I try to read the paper, but it’s just a hard habit to get into — plus I can’t really get the paper that I want. So I really just read the news, and I try to make a habit of watching it on the Internet, but it’s hard because I get busy, which you get to pick what clips to watch, but how do you pick which clips to watch? You know? I mainly just listen to the radio. AB: When you say you can’t really get the paper you want, what paper do you want? LL: I like the Herald — the Boston Herald. AB: They don’t distribute out this far? LL: Not at every gas station — they have the Globe, or the Times — and even though the New York Times is pretty, it’s a little more expensive, yeah. And I guess I don’t trust it as much anyway as much as the news stations, basically. AB: So a lot of radio — even more radio than online? LL: Yeah, because I like to drive and listen to music — my MP3 player has a radio, and they just put 96.9 is an FM station and 105.3 they just put on FM, so it’s awesome to listen to that. I can just do my job, or do whatever I’m doing and just listen to the radio and be informed. AB: Do you listen while you’re working? LL: Yeah, if the station comes in where I’m in, yeah I like to. It helps pass the time even more [motions her hand up and down] — this is painting by the way [laughs]. AB: It looked like painting. So when you go online, what Web site do you frequent? LL: Are we talking about the news or in general? AB: In general and then news sites. LL: In general, I’m on Facebook a lot because I have my friends that don’t live in state, I like to connect with them. So, Facebook, Gmail, Google, that’s kind of it — I’m not really on the internet too much — during the school year I’m on the library Web site so I can research stuff online, but all in all I’m not really on the Internet too much — YouTube, I like to find music and stuff like that. AB: So do you not look online for news very much then? LL: Not very much, I wish I did but I don’t. And we don’t have cable TV, we just have movies — so we can’t just click on the TV and watch stuff. Which I don’t miss. I don’t miss the TV. AB: Yeah, I don’t own a television either. It’s very nice. LL: Yeah. AB : You kind of eluded to this a little bit, but what are your general impressions of the news media? LL: I think that the media is owned by Washington, mostly. Not that I know the logistics of it, but you know Bill O’Reilly? He has this segment where he compares what all the different stations are saying about a topic — like about the Tea Partiers — and I guess that was enough for me to understand — how they would show only the crazy people, or the angry people who were at the Tea Party and not talk about the really intelligent people who are there and have something to say. I think they’re afraid to go against the liberal — well they are liberal, so I don’t really trust the media. AB: And so, what are your opinions of journalists? The individuals in particular? LL: I think they’re [long pause] I’m not really sure they think for themselves really. I think they’re fed liberal agenda, liberal media, which is really clear because even at Fitchburg State College — little Fitchburg State College — all the teachers they have very very liberal ideas. Any psychology class you go to, or any history class, it’s very liberal, very very liberal. And to voice any dissent or disagreement, or to hold teachers accountable — even at little Fitchburg State College — you feel the resistance. And I can only imagine what it must be like at Columbia, or these schools that journalists are coming out of that they’re being cultured for the liberal agenda. AB: That brings me to another question so in regards to academia in general, what are your opinions of it as a student? LL: I think it’s pretty liberal. I think the teachers — like for instance I was reading Atlas Shrugged and I can’t tell you how many comments I got from teachers who were looking down at me for reading Ayn Rand. Like, “Oh, you’re reading that? That’s just a stage.” And I was like, are you kidding? It kind of hurt my feelings. And that’s just an example, but definitely, it’s definitely, you feel that in school — and it’s just Fitchburg, so I can only imagine in the big city what it’s like. AB: What — you mentioned Ayn Rand, have you read many of her books? LL: I’ve read Atlas Shrugged, which totally changed my life. I loved Atlas Shrugged — I tried to read The Fountainhead but I didn’t like it as much. I didn’t even finish it — I tried twice to read it and I just couldn’t identify with the main character. He bothered me and I couldn’t finish it. I really liked Atlas Shrugged, I really liked Anthem — I think those are the only two I’ve read by her, but they were amazing. AB: Those were her big ones right? LL: Yeah, she also wrote We The Living, which is sort of autobiographical I guess, and I do have that I just haven’t read it yet; I need to do that I guess. They’re making a movie about it by the way — of Atlas Shrugged. AB: I heard, is Angelina Joli supposed to be in that? LL: I heard Angelina Joli, now I’m hearing Charlise Theron — I was kind of hoping for Angelina because she’s definitely Dagny Taggart. AB: So we were talking earlier about theorists and you hadn’t mentioned Ayn Rand — where is she on your list of influential authors — wait, I guess what’s your list of influential authors? I didn’t ask. LL: It’s kind of a pitiful list. I’ve read a lot of books, but like my music I’m pretty eclectic. She’s pretty high up there, just as far as — one of the things I really appreciated was the value of hard work. It kind of dissected hard work for me — when I’m working for somebody, we’re making a trade. I’m giving them my time and my skill and they’re giving me something in return, which is kind of so common sense, but that’s what you’re doing. So if you’re being lazy or if you’re not really working, it’s like you’re devaluing what you have to give. It just helped me understand something I already believed, which is the value of hard work and working for what you want and not allowing other people’s laziness to affect the way you’re working, because that’s everywhere you go. At my job it seems the trend is you want to do as little work as possible for what you’re getting paid, and I don’t think that’s right. AB: So, any more Ayn Rand or C.S. Lewis-level influences, because otherwise we’re going to get into some Tea Party stuff. LL: And the Bible. AB: What’s your favorite book [of the Bible]? LL: I really really like Ephesians and Romans — can’t get away from Romans. AB: I’m not that well versed in the books, I was raised Catholic and we don’t have to read all the various books — we read Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, that’s it. LL: Let me see, is there anything else that would be worth mentioning — I can’t really think of any other books that I could say, ‘This, this has influenced me.’ The Hardy Boys [laughter]. AB: So getting into the Tea Party — Fitchburg is a really long way from Reading. I mean maybe by Texas standards it’s not that far, but by Massachusetts standards it seems like a pretty far away place. What drove you out all the way from Fitchburg to Reading to go out to the meeting? LL: It had a lot to do with the fact that I needed to get out, I needed to go do something — kind of have an adventure. I like driving a lot, and I wanted to meet other people that shared my beliefs, but a big key was I wanted to go to learn and better understand intellectually what I know intuitively. And I’m not sure how often I’m going to drive out to Reading — but it was worth it. AB: What did you think of the meeting? Did it give you the adventure and the intellectual ... LL: Stimuli. AB: Right, that you were looking for? LL: Yeah, but I think my favorite part was talking to you and Derek and the other guy ... AB: Fred. LL: I enjoyed that part, I think, the most, just hearing what he had to say and what Derek had to say — I liked that the best. Which is kind of how I roll anyway — I like that. AB: So it sounds like for kind of camaraderie and also kind of trying to see what’s out there in terms of finding out what are these people thinking what are their arguments so you can strengthen your own? LL: Yeah, kind of political apologetics I guess. Because I kind of told you about that Boston Globe guy, and I just want to be informed so I know what to say, and I know the facts, and I know when somebody is pulling the wool over my eyes — but I don’t know enough to understand that’s what he’s doing enough. AB: Was that at the April 14 rally, with Sarah Palin? LL: Yes, yes it was. AB: What did you think about that rally? I was there as well. LL: It was the first big rally I’d ever been to, and I was pretty moved. I actually — they talked about that SEAL who died and that segment of the rally was kind of, to me, what it’s all about. It’s remembering him and remembering those like him — and it was like we were all one, we were all united there, and when she was talking — the mother — it was very moving. AB: I remember that. LL: That was my favorite part I think — it was all of us remembering him together, you know? AB: So, like you said, you were actually interviewed by the Globe reporter, is that what went on? How did that come about? LL: Yeah, he stopped me. And I should have said ‘no’ [chuckles]. AB: And he asked you? LL: He asked me about health care reform — well, he asked me why I was there and why I was angry. And I said — I wasn’t very articulate, and he asked me what I didn’t like about health care reform and I didn’t know enough to say anything intelligent. AB: Was that your first interaction with a journalist? LL: Yeah. AB: What was it like to be approached for the first time by a journalist? LL: I was kind of flattered at first, but then I realized as I started talking that I was in big trouble — and I hoped I wasn’t going to be in the paper. AB: That has less to do with my project and more to do with — I used to be a journalist and I always wondered what that must feel like. I mean, I’ve been interviewed before, but, interesting. So, in terms of affiliation with the Tea Party — is it something you tell your friends, that you affiliate with the Tea Party, or is it something you affiliate with or something you’re just interested in? LL: I’m affiliated in the sense that it’s on my — on Facebook people know. Or I’ll say I’m going to this rally if anyone wants to come, so yeah. When it comes up in conversation I’ll talk about it. But I don’t have a bumper sticker on my car or anything. AB: What was the reaction of friends? I only ask because I was speaking with a woman last night who, she’s in her 20s, and she said she’s losing Facebook friends as a result of her affiliation. I was just wondering if that’s around, if that’s happening to others. LL: No, nobody really talks to me about what they think about it. AB: So do you think you’ll be going to more meetings and all that? LL: Yeah, I want them to be a little closer, but yeah, I generally I like being a part of the group. AB: There might be some closer ones through the Worcester Tea Party. LL: Yeah, I like it. I’m not afraid to drive out there. AB: So, two more questions and then I have an open-ended thing. What would you say are the main values of the Tea Party, or the main values that attracted you to the Tea Party? LL: Going back to the traditional beliefs of the Constitution — doing what the Constitution says, which is pretty big. I mean, that covers a lot. Conservative values — that’s pretty inclusive. AB: So, at the Reading meeting and at other meetings there’s a lot of talk about Tea Party as a fiscal conservative movement, it doesn’t have to do with social issues, at the same time many of the people I speak to clearly have social values as well. As someone who clearly has social values and fiscal conservatism, do you see any problem with the Tea Party not embracing social issues — or where do you stand on that whole issue? LL: I don’t think it’s a problem. I think everybody who comes to the group is going to have social issues that they’re standing for and that’s the important thing. I think perhaps if the Tea Party stood behind a certain thing it might fragment the group, so it’s kind of good, ‘hey everybody come to this meeting and take from it what you will and then go back and affect your community — and then stand up for your issues.’ But the Tea Party I think isn’t necessarily the place to do that. It’s kind of like the vessel in which all these things are contained — but it shouldn’t be that. Do you want another? [signaling to my empty bottle of beer] AB: No, I’m good. I appreciate it. So, what do you think about the Tea Party the media consistently gets wrong? LL: That we’re all angry people, and are dumb. AB: Why do you think they have that perception? LL: Because it makes them feel better about what they are doing. They’re afraid. AB: What do you think they’re afraid of? LL: Accountability, honestly. Because in a way, conservative values mean accountability. Because we believe — I guess not everybody, but a lot of us believe that there’s a higher power, something to be accountable to and not that we come out of some primordial soup, and therefore everything is meaningless so who the heck cares what happens? I guess I can’t speak for everybody, but I believe we’re accountable to something, and that’s really uncomfortable for people who probably, maybe against their consciences, are standing for things that are wrong. AB: What do you think progressives want to do? Why do you think, for example, why do you think progressives, or Obama, want to do the kind of programs they want to do in terms of health care reform? LL: I’m not sure any of them are really thinking through it. I think they’re following the guy in front of them, and — again, it means they won’t be accountable, if they’re going with the flow and whoever is in front. ... AB: Who’s in front? LL: I think Obama, but I’m not really sure. Who’s in front of him, why is he making — there are people behind him, you know. So I’m not 100 percent sure, but the power is around him. I don’t understand — it seems self-destructive. And I’m hesitant to say they want to destroy our country, because that’s not very nice, but it seems that way. And I think everybody’s just falling all over themselves to follow the leader because then nobody will point a finger at them because they were just doing what everybody else was — maybe, I’m not really sure. AB: What are your impressions, or what were your thoughts and opinions of George W. Bush? LL: Um. [Pause] I think he made a lot of really good decisions. He received a lot of criticism because he’s not the greatest speaker. But he was — he’s an old-fashioned kind of good guy. He stood for traditional beliefs, conservative values, defending our country and he believed in right and wrong, good and evil, and that drove the media crazy. [long pause] I think people just love to hate him. AB: And, I think those are most of the questions that I had. ... Anything else about the Tea Party or other things you want people to know? LL: I can’t think of anything. AB: It’s always the hardest question, but in journalism school they tell you you have to ask it. LL: The open-ended question. Hm. I guess I will say that I think even though all these things in the news are political issues, they’re social issues, I think it would be faulty to think that there isn’t a deeper battle going on. I think it goes back, honestly, to good and evil and light and dark. I guess, to quote Ephesians, “we’re wrestling against more than just flesh and blood.” There’s something almost spiritual about what’s happening in this country. And, even thought that’s kind of stark, it kind of gives me hope too — that these people that are running our country, they think they’re doing it, but there’s a purpose behind it and even though it’s getting a little darker, I think there’s an ultimate purpose, namely, I don’t know. [inaudible] — Interview conducted by A.J. Bauer —

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