Friday, April 16, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Party gathering on Boston Common, 4/14

To preface the following images, I would like to state that I have no affiliation with any particular Tea Parties, but have read a fair amount of commentary on the Tea Party concept and some of the ideas that it has brought to the table. I like the fact that this idea has motivated people to come out to public gatherings to discuss issues they have with the system of governance and those responsible for maintaining it. I would also say that from my outside observations, I feel that there is a strong effort being made by well funded Republican spokespeople to attempt to convince the Tea Partiers that they are needed to save the conservative stranglehold of the GOP. Being of a more Green persuasion myself, I don't think that the Republican's track record shows them to be deserving of the reins of conservativeness, and would like to see it's directions steered by those who have had to spend little because they have been paid little, rather than those who have spent little on paying their employees so that they could conserve their funds for themselves. Some folks in the crowd definitely seemed to be narrow-mindedly dedicated to the "Save the Republican party in MA" strategy, but fortunately most of them huddled as close to the stage as they could acting like the background for a photo op. This left plenty of room for attendees more interested in liberty to walk around and discuss what's really going on with the parties and the economy. Although most of what I heard coming from the stage sounded like generic slogans, or interwoven talking points, there were a good amount of people in the crowd who seemed to feel that the current system is obsolete, and recognized that it was built up by both of the established parties together. It's a shame that many in the crowd fell into the rhetorical patterns mocking change, because from what some of these folks had to say, it seemed like they were more ready for real change than most.

The crowd was a mix of ages, styles, and although it was a smaller percentage than an other event in this size I had been to, there were some people of color. When I arrived with my sign stating that "PATRIOT and MINUTEMAN used to mean more than just Missles" some old guy with a black beard and general demeanor that made me imagine him having an eye-patch and peg leg snarled at me "You must be with them!" Being quite fond of conspiracy theories myself, I asked him who the them was this time, because I really wanted to know. He kind of just grunted so I stated that I thought the point of being a libertarian is being able to stand alone, and then he walked away when I asked him who he was with. Even though this early confrontation was a bit uninviting for my first Tea Party event, everyone else that took the time to talk to me after that was much more open to discussion. I eventually figured that he must have thought that the large amount of college kids with humorous signs must have been a conspiracy. I guess that's what the internet looks like to anyone outside of it who hasn't yet figured out that it provides the information you need to find out if the little people on the TV screen are telling the truth or not. I was really glad to see a lot of kids who took the time to come out and make fun of the spectacle of it all, and that the crowd was pretty tolerant and accepting of it, even if not always appreciative. I guess some like their tea parties to be more serious than others, but that's the best thing about throwing a party; you never know how it'll turn out.

I really like this sign below asking when Public Servants became Royalty. Our celebrity obessed culture really does put a few people on pedestals much too high for the health of the culture, or for the egos of the idolized individuals.

They really do need to audit that shit or get off the pot. I was glad to meet quite a few good Ron Paul supporters.
I was also glad to see that some people came out to support smoking their tea rather than just drinking it.

Well, the crowd was mostly tolerant and accepting except for one guy who didn't like peas.
I think these folks were my favorite.
I have to say all in all though, the whole Tea Party rally thing was actually a lot of fun, and I would recommend them to anyone. Even though the people on the stage obviously had little of substance to say, they kept the volume of the PA so it wasn't too loud for people in the crowd to have some good conversations, share ideas, and appreciate each others' signs. With a lot of people that I talked to, even if we didn't come to see eye to eye after getting past the biases of our first impressions, we at least tried to listen to each other and most often parted with a handshake and a "I may not agree with you, but I respect your right to hold that opinion." It wasn't like your standard "politically (in)correct" snub of "we'll agree to disagree" that you often get when someone doesn't care what you have to say. People actually listened to each other and respected the importance of the liberty we live under and the freedom it gives each of us to have our own ideas. It was actually quite comforting, like the America they told me about when I was in elementary school.

One of my favorite moments was when the guy above gave a pretty good rallying cry about looking past ideologies, and then some music started playing and everyone on stage started dancing along. They all looked like a bunch of people on a cruise trying to improvise the electric slide to some random karaoke song, and I bet half of them didn't even realize that the music that they were dancing to was hip-hop. They were having fun with it though, and that's all that matters.
This guy knew the hip-hop right away when he heard it though, and I was lucky to get this shot before he started dancing for joy through crowd. I thought his sign was a completely absurd joke at first, but found out later that Lil Wayne is actually in jail for having issues with restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. FREE LIL WAYNE!!!

One thing that really concerned me was talk I heard repeated about public education as if it somehow controls the minds of children rather than expanding them. This is such disinformation, because it was coming from people where probably convinced to support Bush's No Child Left Behind, which actually restricted what teachers could teach, thus heading more in the direction of streamlined brainwash control. Public education isn't the problem; giving the teachers requirements instead of resources is. Having things public actually prevents the monopolization of their control because they are safeguarded by the watchful eye of the people implementing the teaching. Privatizing education will actually lead in the direction that all these folks were complaining public education would go. It's sad how easily people repeat things heard from a loudspeaker without actually thinking through the logistics.
Again, as much as I disagree with some of the commentary and repetitive negative diatribes, I do like the fact that people are at least getting out and talking about the complaints that they have. It's only by coming together and talking to each other that we can work this all out. I am sure that no one party will be able to solve this all, but perhaps lots more conversations will help, over cups of tea, or any beverage, food product, or pleasant imbibed substance.
And then, even though it was elsewhere and completely unrelated to the Tea Party thing, I just had to share this picture because it's pretty ridiculous and seemed to fit well with the rest of my day.