Who would've thought that loud, rambunctious, tax-protesting, Obama-hating members of the Tea Party weren't actually prone to sit down and have a cup of tea with actual enthusiasts of hot, herbal liquid and the socialization surrounding it?
A steaming cup of soothing chamomile tea would surely calm this naysayer down. Probably.
We went to the Queen Mary Tea Room in Bryant on one of its busiest days, Sunday, to see if the Tea Party really lives up to its name. As it turns out, an exhaustive survey of the afternoon tea party proved that not a single Tea Party member was in the house.
Instead, bursts of laughter and quick shakes of the head broke out anytime a knowledgeable tea drinker was asked if she was, in fact, a Tea Party member. One patron, after insisting that she had absolutely no ties to the T.P., even went so far as to jokingly exclaim, "Only Seattle Weekly would ask this question!"Queen Mary boasts well over 40 different types of tea, along with various bite-size tea treats, all presented in delicate teaware. The product of an afternoon here: one hell of a calm, collected, all-warm-inside person. Lord knows, that's the type of person the Tea Party could use more of, to balance itself out a bit.
At the Queen Mary, loudness is strongly discouraged, roughness is completely inappropriate, and the tea room's cozy 40-person setup leaves no space for large, misspelled picket signs. So even if Tea Partiers wanted to take advantage of an actual tea party, places like Queen Mary probably won't be opening their doors to them anytime soon.
To get some insight from a political Tea Party member, we got in touch with Kirk Groenig, the self-proclaimed original organizer of the Central Washington T.P. He explained that, as the party name comes from the historical Boston Tea Party, at their first junction they did, in fact, have a mock tea party of their own. They filled a bucket with tea bags and "sent it off." He did also admit to sometimes making sure to serve tea instead of coffee at their get-togethers. But in response to whether he would bring his members to places like Queen Mary, he simply said, "Oh, no."