The St. Louis Tea Party has organized a series of shopping sprees at businesses in Ferguson, Missouri ravaged by more than a week of looting and rioting. Unless you live in the St. Louis TV market, it’s a human-interest story likely to be left out of mainstream media reports from Ferguson.
The idea behind the so-called “Buycott” is simple: Tea Party followers in the St. Louis area are trying to turn out as many people as they can to shop at Ferguson businesses over the long Labor Day weekend, because, as organizers assert, “shop owners in Ferguson and Dellwood weren’t rioting. They were watching their American Dream of owning their own lives go out through broken windows.”
Here’s the full pitch from the event’s Facebook page:
We all have work to do. Ferguson businesses and families are still struggling with the effects of the riots. The demonstrations didn’t break their windows or steal their inventories. Rioters did. Looters did. And the shop owners in Ferguson and Dellwood weren’t rioting. They were watching their American Dream of owning their own lives go out through broken windows.
Everybody shops on Labor Day Weekend. All we’re asking is that you consider doing that shopping in Ferguson and Dellwood.
Bill Hennessy, one of the founders of the local Tea Party, shared on his blog last week an anecdote from one of his group’s early post-rioting forays into one of the affected stores:
We targeted the small businesses that were hit hard by violence–violence committed (mostly) by out of town agitators, criminals, vandals, and hooligans.
We drove to Ferguson to make two statements with our actons: 1) Ferguson is OUR community, and 2) Ferguson is open for business.
I met Dellena. Dellena owns the 911 Beauty Salon on West Florissant in Dellwood. Her landlord got foreclosed on, which meant she lost her home, just before the riots. So she moved all her inventory from her house to the store. Then the riots happened, and they took her inventory.
God bless Dellena.
I insisted on buying something–all the people in the salon were so happy and kind. She didn’t have much for white guy gray hair, but she took the time to pull together some gift bags. Then she didn’t want money, but I made her take it.
A gentleman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”
“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “We don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”
He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”
In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.
That moment made the whole event worthwhile.
The event has been reported locally, and the Tea Party is by no means the only local group turning out to show meaningful support to Ferguson residents left to count their losses after the looting subsided.
“To be needlessly fair to the media, the effort has gotten some positive local coverage, and there are no doubt no many, many groups – churches, fraternal organizations and the like – that are helping out Ferguson in ways we’ll never hear about,” observed BizPac Review Thursday.
“But this is the St. Louis Tea Party, a branch of a national movement of everyday Americans that the mainstream media generally treats like the Second Coming of the Klan. It’s a mostly white group working to help the mostly black businesses that were almost destroyed by mostly black rioters – and since that doesn’t fit any mainstream media narrative, most of America will never hear about it.”