To answer your first question: What is a tea party? Of course, you remember your history lessons about the Boston Tea Party which was a protest about taxation without representation. Last year as the country voted in an administration that promised change many were still surprised at how expensive “change” would be. Bank and auto bailouts, a huge stimulus plan followed by an even bigger budget got people’s attention. Thank the internet for the speed of the modern day tea party grassroots formation. Bloggers and, yes, tweeters found like minded people who were concerned about the huge increase of federal spending in such a short time and in such a weak economy. In the spring, leading up to tax day the Tea Parties grew becoming a voice for people upset with what they saw as fiscal irresponsibility.
The “anti-tax day” tea parties have expanded to cover other areas where citizens are concerned including Second Amendment Rights, Health Care Reform, States’ Rights and the like. You might remember I attended a town hall meeting last week. We were looking for the “Angry Mob” and the “Organized Protesters” that we had heard about from some of the Democratic leadership. And if you watched John McCain’s town hall…well…you saw Matthew and me… Hardly fitting of a mob and especially not very organized.
So when my mom told me about the Tea Party Express traveling from Sacramento to DC I thought this might be my chance to see some of these radicals. We decided to make the drive to Flagstaff. Now this time you might say we were organized, as we planned enough to pick up my mom on the way. But we weren’t organized enough to think about taking long sleeved shirts for the cool Flagstaff evening. (Lucky they have stores there…) And we certainly weren’t angry (Matthew is never mad when his portable DVD player is working.) Anyway, the event was scheduled to start at 6pm but we thought we should be there early and good thing because the crowd was already gathering when we drove in shortly after 4.
As you might guess Fox news was there following the Tea Party Express, but also “embedded” on the bus and reporting in were reporters from the likes of CNN and NPR. I know you’re thinking, “Okay, out with it. Did you see any angry mobs? Did they appear to be professionally organized?” And the answer is pretty simple. I saw lots of ordinary people dressed like me. Some wearing jeans, some wearing Docker’s and one guy in a Daniel Boone outfit right down to his boots. I saw several pro Second Amendment people–it was easy to spot the ones with their revolvers strapped to their waist–no surprise as there are a lot of Libertarians in the state. I did not see anyone with an AK-47 or any other big gun for that matter. People carried homemade signs, some pretty funny. Generally there were a lot of flags and red, white and blue.
When the Tea Party Busses arrived the crowd grew. I’m guessing a couple thousand were there. It seemed like a lot. The event was much more than I expected. There were some great singers, some short speeches, assorted politicians and lots of cheering. Kind of like a pep rally. We waved our flag and clapped when they talked about the Constitution and how great the United States of America is. They wrapped up with a tribute to the soldiers and invited all the active duty and veterans to come up front. I was amazed at how long the line was. There was even a soldier from WWII there. Of course everyone teared up when a mom of a fallen Marine was introduced. Freedom isn’t free.
The Tea Party Express is travelling across the country for the next two weeks. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend you go. We need to stand up for America. We are still the greatest country in the world.
Oh, and your second question? If you are like Rebecca you might not remember learning about the Gadsden flag that Matthew is holdin and it’s history. But I’m not going to go into Ben Franklin’s comments. I’ll let you read up on it yourself. Don’t Tread on Me
PS I haven’t figured out how to label pictures so here they are:
1. Is that an angry mob I see? No, it’s Matthew and Grandma hours before start time…
2. Matthew and his new friend Griff Jenkins–yes, from Fox news. Ignore the Transformer in Matthew’s hand…
3. A couple of hand made posters. Those weren’t mass produced…
4. Recently retired Sheriff Joe Richards (Dem) from Coconino County. Plain spoken man, obviously loved by all.