“Everyone ready to have some cake and hit the shit out of Pat Toomey?”
The birthday girl, Samantha Pinto, was talking about a large piñata of Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s head. She’d ordered it custom for this weekend’s party at her South Philadelphia home, a gathering of friends that doubled as a fundraiser for the Women’s Medical Fund, a local organization that provides financial assistance to low-income women seeking abortions. Pinto, an abortion care worker, is a member of a fundraising team that’s competing to raise the most for WMF.
The idea to have a Toomey effigy on deck came maybe a week and half ago, when she read on Facebook that local artist and Philly Socialists organizer Mara Henao was accepting custom requests for piñatas. Pinto reached out, and asked if Henao could make one of him.
“We thought it would be a fun thing for the party since Pat Toomey opposes abortion,” said Pinto. Henao had previously put a “Trumpiñata” up for purchase in a Philly Socialists crowdfunding drive. “She was really excited,” Pinto said. It’s no surprise that the artist was — protesting Pat Toomey is one of the most popular pursuits of the day.
It’s not just Tuesdays with Toomey, the weekly statewide protest series. The senator’s phone lines were so jammed ahead of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ confirmation vote, that he received more faxes than anyone in the Senate— 11,500 over the course of a week, roughly 10,000 more than the runner up. An app where constituents can write a letter to their congressmen launched because a PA software developer found Toomey that inaccessible. A Toomey in-person town hall is rare, and he’s never done one in Philly, which has drawn intense disdain among liberal advocates in the city. Many of them, Pinto included, easily admit though they didn’t care as much about the senator before Trump got elected. But now, as progressives live in resistance mode, the farthest-right of Toomey’s stances have become trigger points.
Of course, locals aren’t just protesting, calling, writing and faxing Toomey. And a girl only turns 25 once. Pinto recalled that her workplace sent letters of their own to Toomey, calling on him “to support abortion access.”
“We got the generic response back that said any reasonable person would agree that we should support adoption instead of abortion, which isn’t a reasonable response at all,” Pinto said in an interview. (Similar language can be found on Toomey’s website. Here’s what that says exactly: “While reasonable people may differ on the question of abortion rights, we should all be able to agree on policies that encourage adoption over abortion, that avoid taxpayer funding of abortions, and that allow more parental involvement in decisions that involve minors.”)
“At the clinic, we do support people pursuing adoption, but these politicians who [recommend that] are all talk. They’re not doing anything to help people who want adoptions,” Pinto continued. “Adoption is not an alternative to pregnancy, it’s an alternative to parenting. Putting adoption and abortion side by side like that is silly.”
After Pinto got the piñata, she filled its head with lubes, condoms and candy. The fact that Toomey proudly holds it down for Pennsylvania as the Senate’s candy man made the treats extra ironic. She also threw in some sex-themed confections from Condom Kingdom.
On a chilly but still temperate Holy Saturday night, Piñata Pat Toomey was smiling, hung up in her backyard patio. Guests had beer and Mexican food, hanging out as more friends trickled in. Pinto, as she would do throughout the night, welcomed a friend to the patio, then motioned to the special guest and explained that later in the night they’d be beating that.
“Oh my God, I hate this motherfucker,” one friend said as Pinto showed her. They instantly began discussing policies of his that they hate, with other guests chiming in. “He also refuses to meet the constituents of his own state!” the friend continued, amped up.
“Okay, so when do we get to beat the shit out of him?” one guest asked.
Another responded, “We’re waiting for Tina!”
When Tina showed up, guests were ready for their swings. Pinto signaled that it was time.
Rather than a bat, Pinto took a long wooden pole and approached Piñata Pat Toomey. The birthday girl went first. No one put a blindfold on.
This video contains foul language, of course.
When the front of Piñata Pat Toomey’s face was pretty much gone, Pinto’s friends pushed him to the side to pick among the goodies they wanted.
“Dang, y’all fucked him up, dito!” Vincent Cintron said. What’s “dito” mean? Kind of “aw,” in a you-poor-thing kind of way, like Cintron was “feeling bad” when he said it. “But I don’t. I was just joking,” he said, before turning to friends, “I want a dildo ring pop!”
His pick of NSFW treat came too late: The dildo ring pops were gone.