Monday, July 6, 2009

Independence Day Tea Party on Long Island

By Joseph Kellard

“Oh, I love Ayn Rand! I’m a member of an Objectivist Club at my school,” the college-aged woman told me. What a welcoming reaction from the first person I handed a free Ayn Rand sampler to at the tea party I attended on Independence Day.

Inside each sampler, I slipped in copies of ARC flyers “The Significance of Atlas Shrugged” and “What the Tea Party Movement Must Stand For,” along with The Undercurrent’s special tea party edition and my recent newspaper column “A Russian Immigrant’s Lesson in American Patriotism.” That column caught the eye of one party-goer, who told me she too was a Russian immigrant. While ignorant of Rand, she readily accepted my packet of literature.

Both women were among some 115 people who showed up at the morning tea party in the middle of a busy intersection in Huntington, a town on Long Island’s north shore. Party-goers held signs and waved American flags on all four corners. There were no speakers, and one party organizer conducted mostly unimaginative chants (e.g., “Obama must go!” “Throw the bums out!” “No socialism!”), as some passers-by honked their car horns in solidarity.

Meanwhile, I handed out about 75 packets. Virtually everyone I selectively approached was receptive, as I described Rand as “a great American patriot.” About a third of the party-goers told me that they had either already read Ayn Rand or had at least heard of her. One woman started to tell me about the “aristocracy of land” in Old Europe and compared it to today’s political environment. I pointed out that a chapter in Atlas Shrugged is titled “The Aristocracy of Pull,” and she reacted with an agreeable raised eyebrow, smile and nod.

Unfortunately, the party organizers passed out literature that dismissed the principle of church-state separation and lamented “attacks on religion,” as one of them held a sign that read “Faith, family and freedom” — or some similar trio of conservative tripe. Another woman went around promoting Ron Paul’s politics, while others handing out voter registration forms and bumper stickers that read: “Spread my work ethic, not my wealth!”

While certainly not an intellectual crowd, the people I chose to give packets seemed at least receptive to reading the literature. I drove away satisfied and happy that I’d helped spread Ayn Rand’s word and, hopefully, further softened the culture a bit more toward Objectivism.

Joseph Kellard is a journalist living in New York. Visit his journalism website at

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