How a teenager duped a powerful Texas Republican into posing with an ‘Abolish ICE’ painting

By Eli Rosenberg | The Washington Post

Caleb Brock is a budding activist who says he’s already taken part in several protests, though he is just 17.

But the high school senior took a different political tack for an event hosted by a local tea party group after finding out that Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick would be in attendance. Brock turned on the charm. He told organizers that he was a “huge fan” of Patrick — and brought a painting that he wanted to give him, that he had covered in a GOP flag.

“I was just like, I want to get a picture with Dan Patrick,” Brock said in an interview.

Patrick eventually came by and told him how much he liked the painting, Brock said.

“I told him, I want you to run for 2020,” Brock said.

According to video of the event published by the Young Turks YouTube channel, Patrick did seem pleased with the gift. He stood holding it as another speaker introduced him — and then brought it onto the stage when he went up to speak. Caleb stood a few paces away.

“I walk in the door, and Caleb, delightful fellow, just met him tonight,” Patrick said. “He traveled an hour here, and he brought me a painting, he did. And so I want to show you this, it’s pretty cool.”

Patrick turned the painting around to show it to the audience. It is a messy mix of colors and words; “Dan 2020,” it says on one side, along with “principled” and “conservative leadership” elsewhere.

“This is all of the things, like conservative, principled conservative, it’s kind of abstract,” Patrick said, making a joke about running for president of his homeowner’s association. Patrick said he planned to bring the painting on the plane back home.

But the painting was embedded with two hidden messages: “Abolish ICE” and “Impeach Trump,” two rallying cries for the far left, were written across its top, visible but hazy, and written backward and thus legible clearly only in a mirror. ICE refers to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The lieutenant governor had been duped. Brock is not a Patrick fan.

Political pranks — satire brought to life — are a time-honed tradition in the emotional world of politics, made famous by groups such as the Yes Men and others. Richard Tuck, a longtime Democratic strategist and trickster, was famous for many of these stunts, perhaps foremost among them booking Richard M. Nixon during Nixon’s Senate campaign in 1950 to an empty auditorium. Groups such as the Yippies, a counterculture consortium of pranksters, made waves in the 1960s — for pranks like when they rained small-denomination bills onto the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, brokers making a mad dash to pick them up in what made for an effective portrait of greed. In the late 1990s and 2000s, the Yes Men targeted corporations such as Dow Chemical and Halliburton.

But pranks, which can quickly bleed into the world of hoaxes, misinformation campaigns and other less-savory and underhanded political …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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