Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Tea Party, Colorado Springs 

Update- first ever Instalanche!  Thanks, Glenn.

I was at the April 15th Tea Party in Colorado Springs in Acacia Park. We had a great time. A friend of mine, Rick Carducci, came with me, and we met up with my mom and dad at the rally too.

We were there at about 10:30 and the rally officially began at 11. I am not confident of my ability to estimate numbers, but several people said they thought there were in excess of a thousand people there and that seems right to me. We heard from a few candidates- Ken Buck and Dan Maes were there and gave great speeches.

I was actively on the lookout for any racism or anything like that, and saw none of it.  I was kind of hoping there was some, so I could take his picture and out him as a Tea Party crasher, but there wasn't any at all to be seen.  There was a little bit of birtherism which I don't think is particularly productive, but I can't blame people for wondering.

My favorite part of the rally though were conversations I had with a number of high school students that had been brought by their teacher to observe the rally. They were all predictably liberal, opposed to the Tea Party and in favor of Obamacare. I was able to engage a few of them in conversation, to try to show them what our concerns were. Who knows how successful it was, but it was fun nonetheless.

Some pics-

I was there too!

I was there too. I'm pretty good at estimating. There were well over 1,000, but almost certainly less than 2,000. Though I am a Ken Buck for Senate kind of guy, Jane Norton was there and gave a good speech as well. I think she has read the tea leaves correctly, so to speak.
I saw a couple marginal signs, but nothing offensive. And there we lots of original signs. My favorite: If Obama is the answer, then it was a stupid question.
I was there as well; I'd guesstimate 1500-2000 people.

Did you not see the one high school kid parading around with a "SUCK ON THIS" sign, which also had a large, crudely drawn erect penis on it? Underneath in smaller letters it said "Tea Party". He quickly drew the ire of several of the tea party attendees; a uniformed policeman placed himself at the kid's side. He appeared to be giving the kid a stiff lecture, but the kid just stood there smirking, holding up the sign. The cop finally walked off with the kid, I wonder what happened to him. I'd call that incitement to riot.
I was there as well and I also saw the dumb kid with the obscene "Suck on This" sign. Later on another high school kid drew himself a similar sign and skateboarded around the crowd yelling "Obama!" So the anti-Tea Party people can accurately be called both children and childish. The only pro-Tea party sign which even hinted of violence read "Save America -- Spay or Neuter a Democrat." There were only a few anti-Tea Party people outside of the high school kids. I saw one holding a small sign that said "Paying Taxes is Patriotic." The media made sure to interview him.
I missed the HS kids. I must have been too far forward. I wonder if they were encouraged by their teacher? It was during school hours.
A comment -- I don't know if the highschool kids were specifically brought there. My kid attends it, and they go through the park to the subway shop on the corner. In fact, my kid crossed the park but couldn't stay because he was making up a test he'd missed. (He attended last year.) If they told you they were brought there, perhaps they were, however the vast majority were passing through. And some stayed a while.
Darrell- yeah, I saw that sign, and was over there talking to that group of kids when the cop was talking to the kid with the crude sign. It was pretty funny- the cop was just making fun of the kid, making him look stupid, and keeping him from causing any trouble. The cop asked him if he thought he was going to score with chicks with a sign like that.
I was there from about 11:10 to about 11:55. It was a sedate crowd. I recognized a lot of people, none of them bomb-throwing extremists. A urologist. A retired orthopedist. A rancher. A retired histotechnologist. All very ordinary people I've known for many years, and until today, did not have any idea about their politics. The idea that these folks pose any risk of violence to anyone is absurd. The tone was about that of the annual Veterans Day parade, with many of the same folks out, carrying flags. Of course, no one really believes that Tea Party people are potentially violent, this is just a canard manufactured to discredit and silence the Tea Partiers. My retired orthopedist friend is typical. He may be pissed off about what the left is doing to the country, but he's not about to punch anybody out.

What seemed like about 500 Palmer high school students walked through the crowd on their way to lunch. Most were perfectly polite as they walked over to lunch at the various restaurants that surround Acacia Park. A few stopped to shout insults (often laced with obscenities) at the crowd. To their credit, the crowd did not respond in kind, and generally ignored these people. The fact that a small handful of people felt safe walking into the crowd and shouting obscenities at the crowd gives the lie to the idea that there is any potential for violence in these people. Of course, as I said, I recognized a lot of them, and they are all ordinary folks, not about to punch anybody out, even folks shouting obscenities at them. But, there was very little of this. The only organized pro-Statist folks were a group of maybe ten students who wended their way through the crowd for a few minutes shouting, "We love Obama!" a few times. In response, the Tea Partiers shouted USA! USA! USA!. The hecklers were effective in the sense that for a few minutes, no one could hear the speakers. Not sure how best to respond to this sort of thing.

It is good to see that there are still quite a few people who are willing to stand up for the idea of limited government, though it is discouraging to observe that this idea has become controversial in this country. What is it about authoritarian statism that makes it so attractive to so many people?
Young people are natural elitists, thinking they know better than everyone else. I remember when I turned 14 and started to develop the capacity for rational thought without all the balancing effect of actual experience. So their elitist teachers play on their natural elitism in order to encourage them into little authoritarians.

The Apostle Paul tells Timothy not to put a novice in a position of authority, "lest he be lifted up with pride". I think that's the operative principle here. Young people should not be given positions of influence because it just encourages arrogance. We hear the opposite today all the time, how wonderful the little dears are and we must listen to them. I think the authoritarians among us are deliberately manipulating the natural arrogance and gullibility of children to further their authoritarian ends.
Your protest is unproductive and stupid. Why would I take the time to counter with a productive and intelligent sign, if I already hold the opinion that you are all not worth my time and effort? I'm paying your Social Security, and your Medicare. So shut up, and suck it. The cop and I had several discussions. He told me that I was technically within the law, and that I was being very offensive. I told him I knew.
I can understand your reluctance to change any of your opinions. It is a common, though unfortunate, instinct. But you clearly felt a need to engage, though unfortunately in a hostile manner. What you did was the equivalent of a punch in the face, and gives further support for growing suspicion that our political differences may be unbridgeable.

Are you so certain that you are absolutely correct that you feel no need at all to hear any differing opinion? Are you certain that our current spending levels are sustainable, that a debt level approaching 90% of our GDP is a good idea, that your leaders have been entirely honest with you in the true nature of the legislation they have passed? Are you so certain at the ripe age of 16 or however old you are, that you know better than everyone else?

This is probably pointless, I know. You're clearly convinced of your own rightness. I'm curious though- you said you're paying my social security and medicare, despite the fact that I'm 36. So- how much do you actually pay in taxes each year then?
To Penis sign guy,

Let's see, you think that because you pay social security and medicare taxes, that those who receive these benefits should just shut up and accept whatever you say?

That doesn't seem like a very progressive attitude. What you are saying is that a citizen's influence in government policy should be proportional to the taxes they pay. Extremely unprogressive. Even by 18th century standards, you'd be considered a reactionary. Get with it, dude, you are several centuries out of step.
I go to Palmer, and no teacher would encourage someone to hold up a sign with a peis that says: "SUCK ON THIS." It was during school hours, but during Palmer's lunch. He was trying to make a point, and he has the right to freedom of speech.
Hi Anonymous,
I didn't think anyone encouraged him to put that sign up. I thought I heard one of the students say that their history teacher had brought them to the rally, but I may have been mistaken.

Certainly he has the right to free speech. I didn't advocate that he be thrown in jail for doing it. Nobody did. But I also have the right to free speech, to say for example that someone with a sign like that is behaving irresponsibly and immaturely, and mostly just makes himself look like a moron.

Most of the Palmer students were not rude or disrespectful. A few were. The ones I talked with (and I had substantial discussions with several) were articulate and polite, mostly, and I enjoyed my conversations with them.
To Mr Penis Sign,

I am fairly sure that if you work (doubtable) you pay FAR less in taxes than I do. But for the sake of argument let us examine your argument. You don't like people expressing their opinions in opposition to yours. I assume that is what you are trying to say with your sign? That or you were attempting to pick up prostitutes...If that is the case then you should have tried a pro-Obama rally.

But, if the former was your aim then what is your justification? because you don't like it? Because we are exercising our first amendment rights? Because you can't handle what is considered the backbone of a republic, political dissent?

I am sorry that you didn't like the rally though I believe that you had your mind (I use the term loosely) made up before you showed up. I hope you enjoyed your practical lesson in civics though I doubt you learned anything.
I go to Palmer High School as well and I'm interested in hearing the name of the teacher that encouraged student involvement in the rally.
Miss Katie,
I thought I heard some of the students say that their history teacher brought them, but I could be mistaken. And just to make it clear, I don't think the teacher would have been doing anything wrong by doing so. I think it would have been a great part of a history or civics lesson to observe the protest. If he / she encouraged them to be vulgar and disrespectful, obviously that would be a problem.

But most of the students weren't vulgar or disrespectful. Only a few were. And some of the ones that started out pretty loud and disruptive, once I engaged them in conversation, settled down, and we had a nice talk.

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Google Analytics Alternative