Tea Parties and Town Hall Meetings

There were Tea Parties beginning in February of this year.  They were largely ignored by the press.  There were large Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15 of this year.  They were largely ignored by the press, except for FOX news.

Mainstream media coverage on the Tax Day Tea Parties mainly centered on the Tea Parties being a phenomenon created by FOX news, consequently reported on by CNN as being “anti-CNN.”  Police departments were put on notice that there were right wing extremists on the prowl.  People who only watched mainstream media were scared about the radicals participating in these events.

There were large Tea Parties on July 4 of this year.  They were largely ignored by all of the press at the national level.  I googled “July 4 Tea Party” to read about them.  I had to go to the 11th page of the results to find an actual entry from a national cable or network station.  On page 11, CBS had a 1 minute 40 story from Boston that played on the evening news July 4.  In it, the reporter notes that “thousands” of people were gathering at “hundreds” of places across the country to protest “big government and big government spending.”

In the 11 pages of google results that I looked at, a lot of the entries in the results were snippets from local papers or blogs.  There were quite a few about how white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and anti-Semites were going to recruit at the Tea Parties.  Some were about how the Tea Parties were just Obama hate fests, i.e., conducted by racists.  Most articles written after the fact mentioned crowd sizes as being in the hundreds.  Even the blogs talked about “them” not “us” at events they criticized but did not attend.

I went to the Tea Party for Dallas at Southfork Ranch.  The next day, a local paper estimated attendance at 35,000.  A local radio station estimated the attendance at 25,000.  (I’m guessing that there were between 25,000 and 35,000 people.)  It got up to 101 degrees that day, so most people came in the evening.  I went in the afternoon.  Despite the heat, everyone seemed to be celebrating our country by having a good time.  There was music, there were speakers (one in Spanish), and there were lots of petitions to sign.

When I was there, I saw blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, young, and old.  I spoke with Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, and Republicans.  I did not see Janine Garofalo, who was personally invited so that she could educate herself about who really went to tea parties and what they were really protesting.  People did carry signs, but the main uniting idea was that the Federal Government is out of control; it no longer represents the people.

This was not a single person hate fest (i.e., Obama) or a single party hate fest (i.e., anti Democratic Party).  Everyone seems to understand that this problem that we have is bigger than that.  No one was spouting hatred for anyone, and if I saw a white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or anti-Semite, they didn’t try to recruit me or anyone else that I saw.

There was a Tea Party in Columbus, Ohio on August 1.  MSNBC reported that it was attended by 300 people.  The police told the keynote speaker, Judge Andrew Napolitano, that there were 8,000-10,000 people in attendance.  It was largely ignored.

Therein lies the recipe for angry “mobs” at town hall meetings.  People turned out at over 1000 places on July 4 in crowds ranging from probably hundreds to at least around 30,000.  A crowd of over 8,000 turned out on a hot, muggy August Saturday afternoon in Ohio.

NO ONE LISTENED.

No one carried the message to the nation or to our government in Washington.  No one tried to figure out what the real complaint is to report on it.  Instead, there has been a lot of speculation and extrapolation by people who have never even seen a Tea Party.  “Tea baggers” have been represented as a small, radical fringe group with nothing important to say.  Reactions of elected representatives that have been reported have involved scorn, ridicule, and/or vilification of the “tea baggers.”

Now, Health Care Legislation is being considered and Town Hall meetings are being held.  A lot of the same people that went to Tea Parties are showing up, and for the same reasons.  In a nutshell, as CBS reported, we are upset with big government and big government spending.  We are angry—with real anger, despite what Nancy Pelosi and Robert Gibbs and Barrack Hussein Obama are saying.  We are also afraid that our country as a whole is ignoring the basic concepts upon which our country was formed, and as a consequence we will lose our freedom.  We are desperate because no one is listening.

Anger, fear, desperation:  Isn’t it understandable that yelling is going on?  Less civilized citizens would not be yelling, they would be reaching for guns.  There have probably been a lot fewer people at all of the Health Care Reform Town Hall Meetings in the entire United States so far as there were at the Dallas Tea Party on July 4, but look at the difference in the hours of coverage.

Nice or loud, we are vilified, mischaracterized, and second guessed. Asking nicely by showing up and making a statement with a peaceful protest doesn’t get reported.  Showing up and making a lot of noise does get reported.  It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that negative attention is better than no attention at all.

I don’t know where this is going, or how it will end.  I do know that if the press doesn’t start doing its job, things will most likely get uglier before they gets better.  We feel that our very lives are at stake.  WE WANT TO BE HEARD.  If our representatives don’t start doing their job, which is listening to us and representing us, things will get uglier before they get better.  This is not by coordinated design, it is by genuinely reacting to basic human emotions.  Anger can turn into rage, even blind rage.

Congress:  Look at the polls—every single major poll, even those with a liberal bias, show that we want Health Care Reform but that we don’t want the PROPOSED Health Care Reform.  We know that you are not too stupid to understand the difference.  Please acknowledge that we are not too stupid to know what we do not want, and represent us.

Otherwise, all that we can do is to show up and keep yelling.

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Published in: on August 7, 2009 at 2:46 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I really enjoyed this post! I hope you don’t mind that I linked to it in a recent article on my own blog. You’re a good American. Have a great week!

    • I am honored to have been linked to. I think that it’s important for us to see that others are feeling and thinking the same way that we are, that we are not alone. If we don’t take care of this for ourselves, mainstream and our elected representatives would have us feeling isolated. Thank God that Al Gore invented the internet to allow us to do that!

  2. If you don’t know who Rick Scott is then you don’t know who is duping you. This is the false prophet. Scott is the money-changer you let into your temple. Scott is a big health care CEO (whose company by the way was fined $1.7 billion for fraud) who is financing the disruption of the town hall meetings. He is the temptor who has cause you to stumble into the gospel of hatred for your fellow man. His “salvation” (money) is to get you to serve corporate profits instead of your fellow man.

    One Master said “Feed my sheep,” “As ye do to the least of these my brothers, you do unto me.” Perhaps you can appreciate how that would be served by universal health care?
    The other “master” says, “shout them down,” and “voice your anger.” Does that really serve your mission to be the spreader of the Good News?

    I truly feel sorry for good-hearted people who have been drawn into the hatred of political extremism and who honestly think they are serving Christ, when in fact they are serving corporate lobbyists. What a shame!

    Check it out: http://thinkprogress.org/2009/08/06/rick-scott-sanchez/

    • I don’t know who Rick Scott is. Where can I get in touch with him to get my fat check? When is he or someone that works with him going to send me to a town hall meeting? Or maybe I could switch sides–George Soros is less devious about supporting liberal causes and he’s a really fat cat.

      I am a Christian. I donate to causes–by choice. But the Constitution has this thing called Separation of Church and State which means that the government can’t FORCE any religion on you. One thing that is often overlooked in the “As ye do to the least of these . . .” is the “least” part. Providing for someone who can provide for themselves is not doing any good; tough love is sometimes real love. If you want to throw around scripture, “Render unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and unto God what is God’s.” Doing what the government compels you to do is not doing good works.

      Wanting a free country, by the way, is not political extremism, and I don’t hate anyone for their political views, so save your sorrow for a more worthwhile target.

      Have a good day! God loves you.


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