Placed strategically in one of New York's busiest squares, the leftist radicals' banners and speeches could be seen and heard from far and wide. That might not be enough to gain converts, but quite sufficient to plant the seeds of distrust and uncertainty about the American system in the minds of innocent bystanders.
Likewise, by inserting our mockery right into the heart of leftist activism, we most certainly provoked people to re-examine their own received opinions and to start questioning the righteousness of leftist causes. And it definitely was a morale boost to those already on our side.
Jason called our showings "Revolutions," and we documented them with pictures and captions on our website:
Despite the uneven playing field, Communists For Kerry turned out funnier, more effective, and with a larger following. Our task was also more challenging: we mocked liberal snobs while surrounded by them. The snobs were not amused. Some of the "intellectually superior" elitists, however, were gullible enough to take us at face value. They approached our table to cheer us up and shake our hands. Upon hearing our foreign accents, they welcomed us as some sort of Red Dawn-style "liberators." Mission accomplished.
At one point, two DNC workers stopped by to thank us for our support of John Kerry. They thought we were totally cool and left with the conviction that both communism and Kerry were good for "the people." Says Jason:
They were quite happy to see us. I told them we needed to make sure all people stand together to defeat the imperialist Bush regime. The young lady said to me: "That's so great, it's nice to see so many diverse groups out here today supporting our candidate." I then asked them if we could take a picture for our scrapbook and they gladly participated.
Our number on Union Square also grew: during the last "revolution" our group consisted of at least thirty men and women. They were a diverse bunch of individuals of different ages, incomes, races, immigration status, and sexual preferences. What united them was the satisfaction of mocking leftist radicals by impersonating them. Not all were in character. There was, for example, one gay singer with an in-your-face handwritten sign on his shirt that read, "Fags for Bush."
We didn't limit ourselves to Union Square. When the Dan Rather controversy broke out, we staged a "takeover" of the CBS headquarters in Manhattan, establishing the "freedom zone" and posting a sign that read, "You are leaving the American sector."
At another time we staged an absurdly grotesque protest at the Fox News street-side studio on Sixth Avenue.
The high point of our theatrics was the infiltration of the large anti-Bush demonstration and protest rally during the Republican National Convention in New York on August 29, 2004. Dressed in ridiculous costumes and carrying Communists For Kerry signs, a dozen of us walked through a thousands-strong leftist crowd, from 37th Street along Seventh Ave and past Madison Square Garden.
Jason led the way. A former Marine dressed up as Che Guevara with a big cigar, a megaphone, and a deadpan look on his face, he heralded hilariously absurd slogans: We must end the two Americas! First North, then South! And then we will all move to France! (See full report here - and pay attention to the puzzled looks of the leftist protesters around us.)
Working the crowd in Che costume was not all Jason did. There probably would be no Communists For Kerry if it weren't for Jason's planning and organizing. I mostly did the web-related work: graphics, writing, photographs, and web formatting. Others had their duties too, yet Jason was the leader. He was the kind of leader anyone would want to have as a boss: open, funny, generous, determined, and easy to work with.
We celebrated Bush's victory together. Then we moved on, but remained friends. The Communists For Kerry website was turned into the "Museum of Failed Revolution." I started a sequel site named after the all red Rubik's cube we used to show in Union Square - ThePeoplesCube.com.
Jason and I stayed in touch for a few more months until he moved back to his Florida hometown. His wife Stephanie was expecting a baby, and Jason said that conservative Florida was a better place for raising children than New York. Who could argue with that?
This month, Bryan called me with the news: Jason is running for Congress in Florida. A few days later, Gene emailed me a link to a Tampa Bay Online article that described Jason as a former Protest Warrior, comparing his masquerade to the one that happened in 1773 in Boston, when some locals got dressed up as Mohawk Indians and staged the original Tea Party. I loved that analogy.*
But, according to the same great column by Tom Jackson, local Republican leaders are not happy with Jason's past. Said the head of the Hernando County GOP, Blaise Ingoglia:
Jason Sager claims this was supposed to be satirical (but) I can't see how dressing up as a communist revolutionary, who murdered hundreds of people, is funny in any way, shape or form.
If only the GOP leaders had as much scorn for actual leftists as they have for conservative activists, we wouldn't be worrying today about the country going to the dogs. What would their liberal opponents do in a similar situation? To know the answer, take a quick look at the evening lineup on Comedy Central. Or visualize Al Franken.
The liberal establishment eventually rewarded Billionaires For Bush with their own Broadway show, which was lavishly advertised if poorly attended. What did Communists For Kerry get besides moral satisfaction and great memories? Snobbish scorn.
Back to Tampa Bay Online: the alarm/spin seems to be that if Sager prevailed in his primary showdown with his moderate Republican opponent, Democrats would reap a political windfall by wallpapering the district with the now-famous photo of Sager in Che costume, needlessly converting a solid Republican district into a competitive race.
Well, writing this account of Jason's story is one way to make sure that doesn't happen. But most importantly, doesn't it sound a little bit elitist to suggest that their constituents can't tell Che from Shinola? That the "commoners" won't be able to figure out what's really going on? Come to think of it, it does sound elitist.
I'd even say it sounds a lot like "liberal ruling class" elitist.
I have only this to say to the GOP establishment: show us that you yourselves can stand up to frenzied leftist radicals while massively outnumbered, expose their absurdities, challenge their icons, unflinchingly defend the Constitution and stay cool while doing so, without apologizing or surrendering your moral high ground because you are confident in the moral superiority of your cause.
If you had that in you, you wouldn't be in the minority right now, would you? You wouldn't continue on a path of shameful compromises, which makes you an accessory to the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and the American way of life by leftist demagogues.
If anyone can stand his ground like a Spartan against the charging hordes of Washington radicals, it's Jason Sager.
As for Billionaires For Bush, they have remodeled themselves as "Billionaires for Wealthcare" and are now using the same agitprop clichés to dehumanize opponents of ObamaCare. I stumbled upon them last September in Washington, D.C., on the outskirts of the 9-12 Tea Party rally. They stood over a ditch, dressed in tuxedos and evening dresses, playing for the cameras and using the Tea Party "commoners" as a backdrop. They always do what they know best. How hard can it be, really, for elitist snobs to pretend being elitist snobs?
* Not to impugn Tom Jackson's informative and insightful article, I must clarify one thing for the record. It is true that some of us were members of Protest Warriors, and this is how we met. Yet Communists For Kerry was an independent operation, equipped and financed out of our own pockets. Like everyone else, Jason contributed to it a few hundred dollars from his family budget, which he never recovered.
Quote:Jason Sager claims this was supposed to be satirical (but) I can't see how dressing up as a communist revolutionary, who murdered hundreds of people, is funny in any way, shape or form.
Quote:Snobbish scorn. which should be worn as a badge of honor. Congratulation on a job well done by all. You make me very proud that we still have true Americans, will to do the hard, dirty work the rest of us can't or won't do.
Khruelchev(El Presidente –Just a note –Che’ did not actually kill/maim/slaughter people, just bourgeoisie!)
LeninkaIs that a party approved car? It looks too Rethuglican.
Quote:Oh that's right. Das Kapital is a made prog's Playboy.
Recovering CapitalistI'm very confused. I've been trying to stop making profit. But I read this article and temporarily relapsed into thoughts of private property, personal motivation etc. I even went so far as to donate to Mr. Sager.
Quote:Oh that's right. Das Kapital is a made prog's Playboy.
Quote:CD 5: Hernando County Sheriff Rich Nugent defeated conservative activist Jason Sager in the Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite. With more than 84,000 votes counted, Nugent pulled 62 percent. He should be a favorite against Democrat Jim Piccillo in November.
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