Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Bellingham Tea Party

Bellingham WA was one of the more than 500 cities nationwide that scheduled a "Tea Party" on tax day -- April 15 -- to protest the fiscal irresponsibility of congress, the federal budget and the tax policy. It was to run from 4:00PM to 6:00PM, during rush hour.

We expected about 200 to 400 people, but the estimates were more like 3000 - 4000. The Bellingham Herald said "more than 1500". They were technically correct, I guess. In Bellingham, the Tea Party extended down both sides of "The Guide" (the busiest street in town), as far as the eye could see.

It occurred to me at the time, that it is fairly unlikely that we have this many "extremists" in Bellingham. I think we were a bunch of regular people who are terrified of how completely out of control our government has become in such a short time.

That's me holding the "Rage Against the Kakistocracy" sign, promoting my blog.

That's me holding the "Uncle Sam 2009 is more oppressive than King George 1776 -- Any suggestions?" sign. By the way, we took these pictures before the official 4:00PM start time. Many more people arrived later, and the place was packed by 5:00PM.

The traffic driving through was very supportive, with honks, waves and thumbs up all around. During the entire event, I only heard one drive-by heckler shout "get a life!". I shouted "get a job", but he was already too far away.

I am struck, but not surprised by the hostile and dismissive attitude of the news media covering the Tea Parties, like this one:

Incidentally, Fox News had absolutely nothing to do with the organization of this Tea Party. I find it insulting that all the work that was done by local citizens to organize and get the word out is being attributed to Fox News, even if they are more sympathetic to us than CNN and the rest of the national media.

Speaking with the police officers who were assigned to crowd control, they said they had never seen a happier group. We were not angry, but we are determined to preserve the values that made this country great.

I was on the cleanup committee, and I am pleased to report that there was practically nothing -- nothing -- left behind after this massive gathering. My family and I walked the entire length of the event site (about six blocks), and found only a handful of plastic water bottles and a couple of fliers.

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