I don't much like hanging around in crowds of people. It's not that I don't like people, I don't care for crowds. I don't understand them. And I am afraid of not being able to read them or anticipate when things start to get out of hand. So I tend to avoid them, as a rule.
Except for JazzFest and now this: (Jazzfest: It's hard to get riled up when the weather is fine, the music is awesome, the beer is cool and the food in abundant supply. Too bad the entry fee is so steep)
It was a beautiful day, Wednesday, April 15, 1009. It started out lovely, cool weather and ended on a high note as you can see from the photos below.
I heard in the morning on the Castner and Wallensky radio show that there was to be a "Tea Party" at the Mandeville Lakefront in the late afternoon and I decided I go check it out and take a few photos.
I arrived at 5:30 pm and wandered around shooting from different angles and listening to two speakers vent their opinions on matters of taxation and their Representatives' responsibility to the taxpayers. After all, it's US who supply the money the politicians decide to use. I think that's fair. If they can take it away from us before we've actually seen it, why can't they answer for how they choose to spend it?
Now here's the thing that makes me nuts: Some journalists on the opposite end of the spectrum take this stance that they don't get the protest. They posture that instead of it being a grassroots movements, it's all being strummed up by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and General All-Round Nutjobs at Fox News.
Think I joke?
Take our former luminous star reporter from New Orleans, Susan Roesgen. She, ace reporter that she is, takes the position that instead of actually reporting, she needs to get into a debate with the person she pretends to interview. I never attended J-School, but I did get the general memo about Who, What, Where, Why and How.
Susan R takes one guy (holding a toddler) out of a huge crowd in Chicago and askes a question. Not the most articulate man in Illinois, but hey, she chose him! But instead of letting him formulate a cohesive response, she takes matters into her own hands and confronts him with HER viewpoint and a list of "Facts" and when the crowd starts in and the guy can't get a word in edgewise, she shuts the whole thing down with a pointless jab at Fox News.
See how nicely that works? Make one guy look like a lunatic, rile up a crowd and walk away making everyone watching think you're being surrounded by an angry mob of crazies. Poor poor Susan. Just doing her job and being attacked for it. Such a victim!
I went there, in Mandeville, not to be a part of the event, but to see for myself if what I suspected was true or if it was what the OTHER side wanted people to believe.
Mandeville was anything but a crowd of crazies. They were polite, quiet (good thing too because for about 20 minutes the microphone was malfunctioning and I found it hard to hear the first speaker. PYC stepped up with a loaned mic for the rest of the time) well-mannered and well-behaved. I stayed through the first speaker, when I had difficulities hearing, a group of Youths reciting statements from the Revolution and the second speaker, a man who read from the Declaration (I think) and then broke it down into various statements that I generally support on how what we see the Federal Goverment doing today, usurping all kinds of rights that the Founders NEVER gave in the Constitution. His point was if they take it and we don't resist, we aren't exactly holding up OUR end of the contract: We the People must throw off the shackles of slavery that Government will always seek to place on our beings. Go read the "Declaration of Independence" if you think I'm kidding.
Flags on Bikes
Join or Die Flag
A view from the side:
Crowd as I was heading out:
Wallensky and Castner from WRNO radio:
I never saw anyone get ugly, it wasn't an attack on President Obama and it certainly wasn't poorly attended. I don't know the number but if pressed, I'd say 600-750 people.
And remarkably, I didn't see a single politician. I guess they knew they weren't NEEDED.