October 21, 2010 | by Juliette Ebner
Beware the Tea Party

‘Dangerous Brew’ book signing

Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Busboys and Poets

5th and K streets, N.W.

Buy it here.

Author Adele Stan says progressives, particularly LGBT people, should be wary of Tea Party conservatives. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

While economic issues dominate most Tea Party discussions, a local author warns in a new collection of essays that the movement is a menace to the LGBT community.

Busboys and Poets will host Adele Stan, who’s bi, as she signs and discusses a new anthology, “Dangerous Brew: Exposing the Tea Party’s Agenda to Take Over America” on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at its 5th and K streets location.

“Dangerous Brew” is an anthology of pieces published on AlterNet.org over the past year that deal with the Tea Party and is co-edited by Stan and Don Hazen, executive editor of AlterNet.

The anthology includes original coverage by AlterNet staff as well as contributors from other news organizations.

“The progressive movement has taken a while to take the Tea Party movement seriously,” Stan, Washington bureau chief of AlterNet, says. “And what I mean is take it as the threat that it poses.”

According to Stan, the book is designed to show how big the movement has become and just who is funding it.

One piece in the book, “Tea Party Inc.,” written by Stan, has not been published on AlterNet and was written for the book.

The piece looks at the “big money interests,” Rupert Murdoch and David Koch, who, according to Stan, are funding the Tea Party.

Stan is especially concerned with what she sees in the community concerning the Tea Party movement, saying people are taking their claims at face value.

“Yes, the rhetoric of the Tea Party focuses primarily on fiscal issues, not social ones,” Stan says. “But that only serves to obscure the strong anti-gay sentiment that exists in this movement.”

She brought up the example of Ken Buck, a Colorado Senate candidate, who recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

“This movement is not friendly to LGBT people,” Stan says.

Hazen, who’s straight, says the ramifications of the Tea Party’s success could be immense.

“Progressives should care about the Tea Party because their main goal is nothing short of dismantling the government, privatizing and reducing Social Security and putting corporations in charge, a frightening prospect,” Hazen says. “In addition, because Tea Party candidates are aligned with the religious right, they pose a major threat to the LGBT community.”

What does Stan think is going to happen come next month?

“They’re likely to win big in the November election,” Stan said about Tea Party candidates.

Stan says there are some things she’d suggest people do to counter the Tea Party movement, and making fun of them is not one of them.

“There are a lot of ridiculous things people in that movement have said, and then the crazy signs. It’s very easy to make fun of them, and I’ve been known to do so from time to time myself,” Stan says. ”But my overall message is that ridicule is not activism.”

Stan hopes this event will bring more people to together and inspire ways to successfully counter the Tea Party movement.

“I don’t have a direct prescription,” Stan says. “I really want to hear people’s ideas.”

Stan hopes the book resonates beyond the LGBT community.

“I’m hoping that we get a really good cross-section of people there,” Stan says. “I want to see regular people with regular jobs … some activists … some folks who are musicians and some poets. I think that we really need a lot of creativity.”

Stan has been covering the extreme right for 15 years.  She started out on the staff of Ms. magazine. She’s written for the Advocate, Mother Jones magazine and others.

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