A Good, Useless Laugh.


Gawker yesterday posted the above picture of two men, taken at an anti-abortion rally on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. As the post's author, Brian Moylan, snarks: "Grown men dressed as George Washington and Captain America are the last people who should be telling women what to do with their bodies." I agree with the sentiment, but I just want to make a note about who those folks are.

George Washington is actually James Renwick Manship who lives in Virginia and has written books about our first president. Captain America is a man from Fort Washington, Maryland, named James Griffin. The two met at an early Tea Party rally and see each other often at these gatherings. Manship participates out of a healthy desire to self-promote, and, from what I could tell from talking to him, Griffin really believes the Tea Party rhetoric. My notes don't hint at Griffin's occupation, but I have written down that Manship believes him to be a former Marine. Griffin believes that Obama is socialist, and wants to restore a love of God and country.

I bring this up because, though these men are everywhere, you don't often see pictures of them from Tea Party rallies. They are out of step with the majority of those who come sans patriotic costume, and a young Tea-Partier at an election-night event complained to me that she felt some members of the press were talking to them out of a desire to tell the flashiest, silliest, story. I largely agreed with her. It might be a tempting target, but there's nothing about making fun of those men that tells us anything about their politics, or ours. I know women who don't support abortion in any circumstances, even if the life of the mother is at stake, because they would gladly give their life to have a baby and feel every other woman should, too. That's the size of the rift between us, and it has nothing to do with a man trying to sell his George Washington books.

-- Monica Potts

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