Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party Confidential; Voting "Present" on April 15th

My curiosity got the better of me and even though it was a bit of a haul and coincided with part of my odd work schedule, I decided to swing by one of the tax day Tea Party protests at the nearest (and unnamed) metropolitan area. Through the magic of this thing called the Internet, I found the location and time of one earlier today that started a few hours before I was supposed to be at work.

One of the advantages of showing up so early is that I got to park nearby. About 30 or so people were already there with hand-made placards, Gadsden Flags or star-spangled doggie sweaters for the pooches that were accompanying them. A few people were also there to circulate petitions and pass out campaign literature for the upcoming Senate race (although I reside in a different district). Earlier in the week, reports were circulating that counterdemonstrators were planning to infiltrate the Tea Parties and hold up racist or outlandish signs for the media to record. That seemed to be the case with one individual who was holding up a large sign claiming the moon landings were faked by NASA, although he was subsequently flanked by people with hand-made brightly colored arrows saying 'FAKE' that were pointing Mr. Mooninite.

It's also worth noting that the Tea Party protest took place directly in front of a Post Office, so as the crowd was growing, one of the postal workers had to wade into it with a ginormous cart to empty out all of the mailboxes [and lived to tell the tale, since to hear CNN and the Southern Poverty Law Center tell it, every last Tea Party protester hates all things from the government and will lash out violently at them with no provocation- NANESB!]. There was also a steady stream of vehicles passing by the drive-up mailboxes, many no doubt dropping off their tax forms by the midnight deadline.

When I first showed up, the crowd was predominantly old or middle-aged, which sort of made sense as this was just getting underway during what would've been a normal workday for alot of people. I tried doing the informal headcount deal-ey, but #1) I suck at that to begin with and #2) I'm easily distracted. Seriously, every time I'd try and count everybody present, my attention would wander and when I'd try and start over, there'd be a knot of people waving signs and placards where there was empty space moments ago. Alot of these newer arrivals were much younger and a few had school-age children with them. My best estimate was that it was in the 'dozens' when I showed up and well into the 'hundreds' by the time I left, with more people making their way in as I was departing. A couple of people showed up selling t-shirts, although I couldn't quite see what they said.

As for imagery, I didn't see anything as offensive as the Tennessee state flag neo-nazi insignias like certain hyperventilating bloggers or MSNBC hosts guaranteed me that I would find. Believe it or not, vexilloligy is one of my strong suits and the only flags present were the stars and stripes and variations of the Gadsden flag. There were more than a few signs that were a variation of the Obama 'O' from the 2008 Campaign that would read 'Enough Already' or 'No New Taxes' featuring the stylized O. One of the kids with the 'later' arriving families was holding up a placard depicting President Obama as a latter day Jack Sparrow-esque pirate, which I'm sure could be construed as racist by the Southern Poverty Law Center those in the professional victimocracy who have been bound and determined to find signs of 'dogwhistle' racism since January 2009. As for race, I'm not as into the 'let's count the minorities' game the mainstream media has taken to playing with the Tea Parties, but there were some older Hispanic and Asian protesters there early on- so right away it was much more ethnically diverse than the lineup of MSNBC hosts. A camera crew from one of the local TV stations was present, but at the time it looked like he was simply filming panoramic shots of the crowd.

Personally, I didn't get to do much more other than mill through the crowd [I would've taken some snapshots, but the batteries in the Fenway-cam were deader then Uday and Qusay Hussein's Iraqi Parliament campaign- NANESB!] and try to figure out where one nearby congressional district ended and the other began with some of the other gets even more convoluted when it comes to the state senate.

So after about 40 minutes or so, I had to take my leave in order to be reasonably on-time for work. At that point, more protesters were showing up and waving signs and flags on the other side of the street, which most passers by were enthusiastically honking while driving along. There was something of a police presence, but they kept their distance of about half a block away.....probably because there was nowhere else to park their patrol cars.

I left before any of the scheduled speakers arrived (I'm not even sure who they were), so I couldn't offer any informed commentary on that. There were actually some Tea Parties scheduled in towns alot closer to where I live, but they were scheduled to start when I was supposed to be at work.

Overall, I'd say it left me with a good first impression, but that was only after some 40 minutes. Certain snide, hypercondescending TV 'personalities' and bloggers would leave their dwindling viewer/readership with the impression that the Tea party was comprised exclusively of racists, birthers and Westboro Baptist-caliber fundies. By and large, they struck me as rational people who are concerned about an ever-expanding and increasingly tone-deaf and unaccountable Congress and Administration cramming through entitlement program after entitlement program- and correct me if I'm wrong, you 'where-were-these-racist-hypocrites-when-Bush-was-running-up-the-deficit' concern trolls waiting in the wings, but President Obama is on par to triple the Bush-era deficit in one year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Charles Johnson of Little Unseen Footballs. Napoleon Charles, I just wanted to say that if it wasn't for your sneering, intellectually dishonest broadbrusing of Americans practicing their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech expressing the same concerns that at least half the country shares about the economy as foaming-at-the-mouth racists coupled with your blocking the accounts of the lions share of veterans, Jews and conservatives at your blog, I would be less inspired to find out about the whole Tea Party phenomena firsthand. Your abrupt and contrived ideological pivot has cost you far better posters than myself, but your actions have shown you to be nothing more than a lazy hack who's blog has devolved into a reptilian MSNBC, only without intellectual heavyweights like Keith Olberman and Dylan Ratigan. Thank you and don't forget to hit the tip jar!

1 comment:

  1. I'm almost scared to see what the MSM and the ponytailed husky blogger world will do to discredit their fellow Americans between now and November.