- Google Maps
By John Hendel
Reality-show star, former Alaska governor, and possible 2012 presidential candidate Sarah Palin comes to DC this Memorial Day weekend to speak at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. Her speech will take place on Sunday near the Korean memorial, from what Rolling Thunder's current schedule indicates. As if DC's transportation woes weren't already great enough this weekend, the head of Rolling Thunder predicts perhaps more than a hundred thousand people will show up, according to an interview with CNN.
Palin has also, despite falling in the polls, risen as a celebrity among the conservative Tea Party movement that's emerged across the United States. Yet the Tea Party has already revealed itself to be too scared to travel through DC. Did Palin pick a poor city to kick off her One Nation bus tour?
When Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin joined forces for a "Restoring Honor" rally in the capital last fall, TBD's Andrew Beaujon noticed a note on the Maine Tea Party's website advising its members about what neighborhoods in the city to frequent and which to avoid, given that our town is apparently "more dangerous than Baghdad."
The Tea Party visitors should, the note cautioned, stick to Arlington, Georgetown, the National Mall, and Bethesda, and steer clear of essentially everything on the Green and Yellow lines. As DCist observed at the time, this missive put most of DC into the category of unacceptable and dangerous. I remember at the time the many Tea Partiers as well as the creative signs and hats that filled the Metro at the time. These visitors saw "refugees" everywhere and feared causing offense. As the map shows, they kept their paths extraordinarily limited in a city so celebrated for its culture of diverse neighborhoods. If the Tea Party stuck to the routes suggested by the Maine chapter, then its members would have missed out on such DC traditions as a half-smoke from Ben's Chili Bowl.
Should Palin really be coming back to the city that scared her followers so badly? Thank God Rolling Thunder is sticking to northern Virginia and the National Mall!