Sunday, April 19, 2009

Reading the Tea Leaves

Much has been said about the tea parties that were held on April 15th. Janeane Garofalo called the attendees racist. Several television anchors snickered about the "tea-baggers" apparently knowing the sexual meaning of the term. CNN's Susan Roesgen seemed to think that the protestors were a threat that she needed to quash herself.

Well, my husband and I attended the tea party event at the Minnesota State Capitol grounds. During the event, it was announced that there were between 8,000 - 10,000 people there. Who knows? It could have been more...or less... Almost all were pretty normal looking people. Like these:

Tea bags were a fashion accessory that were worn by men and women alike.

At the end of the event, people were invited to throw their tea bags into a large bin that was going to be presented to lawmakers at the capitol.

These two ladies don't look especially scary to me.

Are there some concerns? Sure. There did seem to be a lot of Ron Paul supporters, and so I would not want my presence to at the rally to imply support for Ron Paul if it was indeed his followers that really were behind the organization of the event. Also, there were a LOT of "Don't tread on me" flags. One has to wonder what type of folks have flags like that laying around the house.
For the most part, the crowd was quite mild. Some carried pretty creative signs. The motivation for most people's presence seemed to be out of control government spending. There were also many signs that displayed folk's feelings about guns and liberty.
Was this a historic moment? Probably not. But if the tea parties on July 4 grow by a factor of just two, they are going to be very hard to dismiss.