Ah, my first Tea Party, how exciting. We started off with hurling racist insults, then we started throwing bricks through windows and rioting, and ended the night with sacrificing a hippy to Zombie Reagan and singing hymns of praise to Hitler.
In any case, a quick report of the night. The unfortunate side effect of planning your protests around a bus tour is that things can be late. Very late. The bus was about 90 minutes late, leading to a somewhat restless crowd waiting around and signing nomination forms for candidates or anti-health care amendments. My random guess on crowd size was about 1000; the LSJ claimed 800, and the Tea Party organizers said the police estimated 1500. Not quite as large as I would have expected.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the lineup. The event seemed to be focused more on entertainment and less on activism. A few politicians gave talks, most notably Mike Cox and Mike Bouchard for governor, Brian Rooney running against Mark Schauer in the 7th district, and some state rep who’s name escapes me (hey, he wasn’t in my district, so I can’t vote for him). Only a few activists spoke as well. Instead, a lot of the time was taken by musicians singing Tea Party related songs. I don’t listen to country music and tend to segregate (wait, can I say “segregate” in a post about the Tea Party, or is that racist?) my entertainment and my politics, which led to that part being somewhat boring.
But besides that, it was fun. Much of the conversation revolved around Bart Stupak, and it was obviously celebratory. He was criticized, not necessarily for voting for the health care bill, but rather for sacrificing his principles for a worthless piece of paper. Integrity and principles were some of the common themes surrounding the day. It’s not surprising to see general distrust of politicians be a major theme; it’s long been my belief that we’ve reached a tipping point between joking about how bad Congress is and now believing it (see Gallup’s polls showing record anti-incumbency fervor as an example). Some attacking of the media and it’s dismissive attitude was prevalent as well, and there was also plenty of attacking of both parties (while still clearly favoring Republicans). I would have preferred a stronger warning to Republican candidates that they better walk the walk if they do get elected, but whatever. Both national and local politics were emphasized along with local activism, which was quite useful. And thankfully, the weather was nice.
A few picks follow:
View from across the street, about 20 minutes before it was scheduled to start.
While waiting, Mike Bouchard got up and started campaigning. Which is nice since the buses were so late, but would have worked better if we could actually hear him.
The crowd just before the buses arrive.