Memphis Tea Party Blues

P1010006 Memphis The lecture was the 2nd in a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of city planning in America, so 40 years in hundreds of city streets and Citizen Wealth and its themes were perfectly suited to the interests of students and civilians at the University of Memphis.  I had warned my hosts that some of the excitement that came with me was unpredictable, but there was no reason to expect that there would be problems.  Sunday night had been special and there were few clouds on the horizon other than some snarky comments on the Commercial Appeal site that carried an announcement that I was speaking.

By early Monday morning there signs of stirring in the hinterlands.  A couple of alumni emails and some phone calls hit the university president’s office and were referred over for handling.  The press office was drafting various responses.  The campus police were mentioning they had a SWAT team.  There were two interviews with local TV stations and the local paper, so who knew what to expect.

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TV with the Tea Party

P1010009Palmer, MA Bill Gunn, the leader of the Western Massachusetts and Tea Party protestors at my presentations at Springfield College and UMass at Amherst, had written me an email and invited (challenged?) me to be interviewed by him and some of his friends at the local cable access station for Comcast in the Palmer and Wilbraham areas not far east of Springfield.  I had told him that “sure,” if we can schedule it, I would be glad to create a dialogue between us.  Billy had also been the primary disrupter who had jumped up as I had walked to the lectern, so although we had never been formally introduced, we certainly knew a little about each other.  Regardless, I found myself at 4 PM navigating the directions to the studio in this faded old railroad depot town not far off the Mass Pike.

Bill had a co-host named Dave, who had been one of my interlocutors at Springfield College as well, who heads up something I believe he called the Liberty Party.  There were a couple of guests in the studio who were also veterans of their Springfield College affair, so we were all fast friends, and so we began.

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