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Interestingly, I had forgotten about the Tea Parties scheduled for today, but the typically liberal leaning outlets I surf from time to time were in such an uproar about them that I was reminded yesterday morning by none other than The Huffington Post AND Paul Krugman’s published scorn for it. Given the fact that the folks at Huffington and Krugman were so threatened about the Tea Party I really had no choice but to check it out.
As I write this at 4:30 PM the Observer online is reporting that there were “more than 100 protestors” assembled out there. That number is off by probably 1000. There was a huge crowd protesting. I have no idea why local media outlets may be skewing the number of participants.
My fears going in to it were that there would be too large a representation from the fringe. The first person I saw there handed me a flyer for NESARA, a bill that these folks claim was passed in secret in 2000 by congress and then-president Bill Clinton. Many NESARA supporters claim that benevolent alien beings are working to get the bill announced but that the government is trying to stifle them or something. You get the picture. Just check the Wikipedia entry if you’re interested.
The next flyer we received claims that the government’s foundation is a fundamental belief in God. It then, of course, ignores the concept of separation of church and state. While I’m not going to argue that the authors of the constitution weren’t intending to have religious faith as part of the government, I’m going to argue that a rally purporting to be against government spending is not relevant to that debate.
Finally, the “Obama is a Socialist” signs and stickers. I believe Obama has entirely the wrong idea for how to repair our economy, but he’s not a socialist. He’s not ushering in a communist government. He’s really not.
I was interested to see, but never got a chance to talk to, an individual from ACORN counter-protesting. Since they support political involvement it seemed counter-intuitive to see them protesting folks being politically involved. What ever.
The speakers were a little difficult to hear from where we were. I don’t believe they were quite as “fringe” as some of the folks handing out flyers or creating signs. We did hear a speaker say that "global warming stopped 10 years ago so it’s crazy to spend money on other energy resources"- something I totally disagree with. Maybe he cited a source and we just didn’t hear it- either way our resources are finite, so I believe it’s still in our interest to pursue other energy resources. That's not a political issue, that's just good business.
Overall, we had a pleasant time at the rally. Jane and I blew bubbles and people watched. We also picked up some mad Vitamin D standing in the sun which was nice after all the rain it seems like we’ve had lately. We got to see and meet many folks who are passionate about this country and their ideas for it. At the end, while the rally didn’t live up to my total expectations (Jane wouldn’t let me stay to hear the speaker from the Ayn Rand Institute, which was my primary reason for wanting to go), we still got to experience something uniquely American. And for that I am proud to say I went and supported the rally.
Some of the "more than 100" protesters!