Earlier this morning, the first big thunderstorm ripped through the area. It was still raining pretty good at around 10am when the Tea Party started, and there was a pretty good turnout. I’m not too great at counting crowds, but estimates were around 200-250 people. (They were doing a raffle as a means of getting an accurate count, on account of the media so often dramatically under-reporting Tea Party attendance.)
There were a few speakers until the Tea Party Express buses arrived. I was not expecting them to open with music and singing. We said the pledge of allegiance and sang the national anthem, which I’m sure would have horribly offended any progressives had they shown up.
Most of the speeches were pretty straight-forward. They urged people to pay attention to local elections and candidates, vote based on principle rather than party, and criticized Obamacare and the current administration’s policies.
The people were very friendly, and despite the media narrative, there were a lot of people in their mid-20′s/early-30′s in attendance. The speakers made a point of stressing that the Tea Party was not a political party or a partisan movement, and urged Democrats to oppose far-left progressive agendas they found objectionable as well. (Of course, there weren’t too many Democrats there, but the effort was made …)
There were a lot of flags, and the signs were critical of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their policies. There were no calls for violence, no signs advocating violence. There were no racist materials present. There were some individuals of minority descent in attendance, and a few were speakers.
I took several pictures of the crowd and some signs. Many people were eager to show off their signs, most of which were hand-made. I always asked before taking pictures, and people were appreciative of that, although no one seemed to mind appearing in pictures. Unfortunately, the memory card in my phone died a horrible and unexpected death, so most of the pictures were lost — I had some saved directly on the phone, though, so I have some to share.
All in all, it had a very pleasant and open feel. The people seemed optimistic that they could do something to change the political environment. There was music and singing, and there were goodies for sale (hey, it costs a lot to fill the gas tanks on those buses!). Had it been a little bit bigger it might have easily passed for any other kind of concert or fair.
There were no counter-protesters at all.
It would have been nice if the media had shown up to cover this, but apparently actually showing what goes on at a Tea Party would damage their narrative too much. So instead, they just ignored it.
And now a few general shots of the crowd:
The event was very orderly, fairly mellow, and had a good vibe to it. I’d gladly go to another one, and would feel comfortable bringing my kids along. I didn’t see any of the violence or hatred that the mainstream media want to pretend is there, and there was none of the craziness and outlandishness present at most left-wing protests. The most aggressive things I saw were some campaign signs for Todd Tiahrt, and a guy passing out fliers blasting Sam Brownback for his pork spending. Ooooh, scary.
This was a good experience, and I had fun. Looking forward to the next one!