September 12, 2009
Tea Party 9-12-09 March on Washington DC
Are you Taxed Enough Already?
If not, just wait, because Obama will Tax You More!
Yes, yours truly was downtown Washington DC today for the March on Washington
Starting at 9am, people gathered at Freedom Plaza, which is about two blocks east of the White House, and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol building. Pennsylvania runs straight so you can see the beautiful dome of the Capitol building the entire route. Freedom Plaza was chosen as the start because is very close to two metro stops, and so people could just get right off the metro and then start walking down Pennsylvania Ave until they got the the Capitol. I forgot to note the time but think we got downtown at about 10:30.
Here is the scene down Pennsylvania Avenue
Yes, it was mobbed. You know, that dastardly right-wing "mob" that Nancy Pelosi and the others do dislike.
For anyone who needs it, here is a short explanation of the Tea Party Movement from Matt Kibbe, the President of FreedomWorks.org
The Tea Party Movement
April 15th was a historic day for those who love freedom. Hundreds of thousands of Americans came out to protest the massive government spending that is burdening our country with huge debt and future tax increases. From main streets in small towns, to county courthouses and state capitols, your voice was heard loud and clear. The sight of over 15,000 freedom-loving Americans protesting in downtown Atlanta was incredible. I was thrilled to be a guest at that "tea party" and was inspired by the local organizers who put it together.
People came out of their homes and into the streets to stand together and say "Enough!" But the liberal media and some pundits would have you believe only a few people showed up, and that those who did were not representative of the American people. Of course you and I know the truth and we know that April 15th, 2009 was just the beginning of something huge.
We must keep our momentum going, and keep the pressure on our elected officials as they vote on how much more of our money they will spend, and how much more of our money they will confiscate. Congress in session and the champions of big government will be working to pass a massive budget, a new national energy tax, government-run health care, and other policies that would cripple our economy even further.
Many of you have been discussing the next steps for the "tea party" movement. I've heard some great ideas about how to follow up on our historic day. I'd like to share some of those with you, and ask you to save the date for another big day: 9-12-2009.
FreedomWorks will be partnering with other like-minded grassroots organizations and local organizers to plan a massive, historic March on Washington on September 12, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol. Please sign up today, and keep checking our website for updates and travel information for the March on Washington. We have been inspired by your involvement in this cause, and we believe that we can work together to send a message to the politicians in Washington that we've had enough of the wasteful spending, trillion dollar deficits, bailouts, and taxes.
Together, we can write our own history as a people, and take our country back.
On Friday John Hood had an excellent post over at National Review's The Corner on the background of some of the organizations behind the Tea Parties.
Here are some more scenes of us marching down Pennsylvania Avenue
In this photo you can see the Capitol dome in the distance
Turning 180 degrees, here's the view back along the march
This sign summed up much of the sentiment behind the rally, and was no doubt widely shared by all participants
Although of course everyone at the event was on the right politically and would describe themselves as conservatives, many would tell you they are disgusted with both parties. This doesn't mean that they'll vote Democrat, far from it, but that they're not going to give their time or money to the Republicans until they earn their support. I saw not a small number of Ron Paul shirts and slogans in support of his point of view, so there was not universal agreement on all things foreign policy, for example.
After arriving at the area in front of the Capitol, marchers spread out to find a place to stand or sit. Many sat around the Capitol reflecting pool or stayed back on the mall field, while others gathered around base of the Capitol building itself where a stage was set up.
Here are some folks at the reflecting pool, which is just out of view in this first photo to the right
Here you can see the reflecting pool clearly
We walked around the pool a few times. Here are some photos of the stage in front of the Capitol
Formerly of National Review, Byron York of the Washington Examiner was there
I briefly said hi to him and thanked him for his work. Very cool.
Update - here's his piece in the Examiner: Inside the 9/12 protest
And here are some other photos from around the event
During all this I was even interviewed by Japanese Public Television, if you can believe it. If I'd have been thinking I'd had handed my camera to one of my friends to photograph it, but of course that's the type of thing you only think of later. He asked me why I was there and I said because it was to send a message to President Obama that he needed to change his policies, most specifically on healthcare. The interviewer asked me a series of questions and in honesty I had the facts well in hand and so gave convincing, knowledgeable answers. Which means I won't be the guy they use when it gets broadcast.
Left v Right at Rallies/Protests
Having been to a dozen or so major rallies/protests in Washington DC (see Rallies and Protests under Categories at right) I think I can make some comments regarding similarities and differences.
The biggest similarity is that all are largely peaceful. If you don't make an effort to get in someone's face you can wear an opposing Tee shirt and walk amongst the other side mostly unmolested. I've done it among the most hard-core leftists and came out unscathed.
The biggest difference is in family-friendlyness. There are of course exceptions, but you simply do not see vulgarity on the right , whereas it is endemic on the left. The left loves curse words and sexual innuendos, which you see none of on the right. A very few of the signs that I saw today (and have seen at other conservative events) went too far, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to what you see on the left.
The other difference is that all of the signs that I saw today were originals made by their owners. At protests organized by some leftist group like International ANSWER they will have hundreds if not thousands of signs pre-made that marchers pick up at the event. Often their marches are a sea of the same signs. The reason they do it, I am sure, is to control the message.
We also said the Pledge of Allegiance today. Everyone I saw had their hand over their heart and was reciting it. You certainly won't see that at a leftist event.
As stated above, I saw none of the vulgarity that is a regular feature of leftist protests. Not one F-word or sexual innuendo on a sign. I saw one sign that had a Hitler-mustache on Obama but that was it. There were several calling him a communist, and one placing him in company with Soviet leaders, but even these were few and far between.
The overwhelming majority of the signs were simply protests against Obama and the his programs. Few were inappropriate and attempts to say otherwise are just plain wrong.
How Many People?
Allahpundit over at Hot Air has surveyed some news reports and thinks it was at around 60 - 75,000, which sounds about right based on what I saw. That said, he is also surely right when he concludes that
I think using protest size as a gauge of popular sentiment is stupid -- witness the huge turnouts against the war in early 2003 when public support was in the neighborhood of 65 percent -- but it's a fun talking point, so let's have fun.
Update - There was a mistaken report by ABC News that there were 2 million people in attendance in Washington DC. This was quickly corrected, but unfortunately seems to have been taken as gospel by some on the right.
I'm also now thinking that were were more than 75,000 there based on some photos. In the end though the numbers at the rally don't mean so much as what is done afterwards. Which leads me to my next topic...
What Does It all Mean?
Following up on Allahpundit's comment above, this and other Tea Parties won't mean much if all the participants do afterward is go home and watch TV and listen to talk radio.
Get out of the house and get active in local politics, people!
Yes I know many of you have children who consume huge amounts of your time, and correctly so. And so not everyone can be terribly active. I do know lots of people though with children who still find time to do some volunteer work for their favorite candidate.
If you live in Virginia or New Jersey, please contact the candidates or the Republican Party in your state and volunteer some time or send some money.
Going back to that message from Matt Kibbe, here's some of what I left out above:
While you plan for the March on Washington on 9-12-2009, you should also remain active in this movement in your own community. Here are some ideas to do just that:
1. Stay active and organized. Don't let the momentum fade away by becoming dormant. Keep the fire lit with regular meetings, and regular online communications.
2. Get some political training. Take advantage of institutions like FreedomWorks and The Leadership Institute that offer grassroots leadership training. Read books about organizing, and apply the best practices to your own group.
3. Recruit new people to the cause. Take advantage of the national media attention and find people that want to get involved in the movement. Focus on getting all of your volunteers to bring new people to each meeting, and motivate the new members to get involved in specific activities right away.
To which I would add
1. Find a candidate for public office you can support and contact him or her 2. Find your local Republican organization and contact them
Don't complain about your politicians or the GOP unless you are involved in trying to change things.
Marching is all fine and good, but unless you go out and campaign, try and persuade others that your cause and candidates are right, the Tea Parties will have little effect.
All of my Photos for that day are on my Photobucket site. Feel free to use with attribution.
May as well post some of the videos and pics that have been going around the Internet for the record here
This is the time-lapse
And this is from the corner of 14th and E St NW
Posted by Tom at September 12, 2009 8:30 PM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Accurate description of the march on Washington, 09/12/09: A childish event with no real purpose, sort of like a tea party.
Posted by: jeanna at September 14, 2009 1:23 PM