Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Our Tea Party was a HUGE success! Our organizers were totally on the ball; so much so that they are already planning the July 4 event!
I arrived about an hour early to see what I could do to help and was able to watch the crowd gather. What a site that was. Thirty minutes before kickoff we had over 200 people easily.
We had picture perfect weather with a nice, cool breeze, and that certainly helped. With rain over many of the protests today, I was glad we didn't have that. Almost everyone brought signs and many also brought canned goods for the Food Bank.
I spent 45 minutes or so wandering the crowd and taking pictures of the great signs. There were so many that were very creative. You can go to my Flickr page to see them all and the shots I don't have space to put here. LOTS of 'em. The Shreveport Times gallery is here.
The La. Outlaws kicked off at 5:00, starting with the National Anthem, beautifully done I might add. They played a mix of songs through the afternoon; of course they played the Martina McBride song "Independence Day." The crowd was a wonderful, diverse bunch. Old, young, black, white, veterans, children, dogs, handicapped, politically active, not-normally-politically active; I saw some people I work with, I saw people I haven't seen in ages....our final estimate was about 5,000 people (that's what we were told from the stage; I'm reserving the right to amend that when the final number comes in!).
Local attorney Royal Alexander was the emcee; he was in costume, of course. He introduced La. Rep. Jane Smith who led the invocation and then La. Sen. Buddy Shaw spoke. He was great and quoted Thomas Jefferson: "America has no greater enemy than national debt." Amen to that.
Another powerful speaker was C. L. Bryant (right) - a pastor from DeSoto Parish. He was loud, fired up and got things moving!
The keynote speaker was Congressman John Fleming. He had some not so nice things to say about what he has seen his first term in Washington and pointed specifically to the all powerful, dictatorial style of Nancy Pelosi. Fleming is an advocate for the Fair Tax and spoke quite a bit on that to a very receptive crowd.
We also heard from Shreveport attorney Craig Smith and some small business owners.
The crowd was respectful, polite, engaged and angry at the wasteful spending coming out of Washington. I talked to both Republicans and Democrats and I talked to people that voted for Obama and for McCain. Across the board, people are angry at the pork and the bailouts. This goes across party lines; it is not a protest against Obama specifically, despite what some may think. It's a protest against stupid, wasteful, irresponsible spending that we never got a chance to speak out about before it was voted into action.
One of the things Royal Alexander did in his opening remarks was to read off a list of some of the items in the Porkulus bill and the Omnibus bill - the honeybee research, the swine odor research, the genetics-for-grapes research project.... The crowd responded with loud "Boo"s to each of them.
So let PMS-NBC call us "whiners" and write this off as "nonsense." What we've seen all across this nation today is that a lot of Americans are pissed off at the representation they are getting in Washington, and these people will remember in 2010.
The worm will turn.
Update: The 5,000 number stands, as per The Shreveport Times. There's also a video here.