Sunday Column Reprise
Note from Dan: While I’m on vacation, I’m treating you to some oldie-but-goodie columns from the past. This one appeared April 5, 2009, and the publicity from it helped launch the Roanoke Tea Party (my fault!). Since then, the local group has gradually morphed into a warmed-over rehash of the John Birch Society, only kookier. Elena DeRosa quickly dropped out and refuses to discuss her reasons for leaving, at least on the record. Sharon Nicely has told me she’s still supportive of their efforts. At their Dec. 6 meeting, the Roanoke Tea Party drew about 250 people, which was a large crowd for their monthly get together, but still less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the Roanoke Valley’s population.
Reduced to barely a trickle in a not-so-distant drought, the slender and shallow Roanoke River is a rotten substitute for Boston Harbor.
Sharon Nicely and Elena DeRosa are well aware of that. Nevertheless, they’re vowing to make do when they host a “Tax Day Tea Party” at River’s Edge Park on April 15.
It’s part of a national grass-roots movement of like events sparked by an off-hand comment from a cable news guy and spurred on by conservative bloggers.
The two women, who had never met in person before Tuesday, wouldn’t strike you as revolutionary icons.
DeRosa, 49, who lives in the Oak Grove area of Southwest Roanoke County, is a 1970s rock ‘n ‘roll-loving mom of two with a Brooklyn accent, frizzy blond hair and a razor wit she sharpens on her local blog. She’s also the owner of a Salem auto repair shop.
Nicely, 52, is an upstate New York native who moved here in her late teens with her truck-driver dad. She lives in the Wasena neighborhood, is a supervisor for Goodwill Industries and has a penchant for animals.
“I have never, ever been political before,” she says emphatically.
What they share is anger and disgust at the federal government’s spend-your-way-out-the-recession mentality.
“I really do not like the way the federal government is spending our money,” DeRosa says.
READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN HERE.