It promised to be a revolution in the making. Rising up from the Astroturf, the "Don't tread on me" tsunamic swell of unknown hugeness, also known as "The Silent Majority", promised to sweep away the liberal minority in coast-to-coast Tax Day madness! Organized by Fox News and hyped up by right wing neo-fascist wing-nutters across the country, we all waited in expectant amazement as one of this country's first corporate-organized protest movements, complete with news time advertisements never enjoyed by the left, prepared to take the public stage and show us who is boss.
Throughout Tax Day, I debated with myself whether or not to come out for one of the Tea Parties. I imagined holding up a pro-socialist sign in brave defiance of the swarming mass of silence majoritarians. I knew some people from my office would be going. Someone had left a pile of filers for the Tea Party Revolution in the kitchen of our office (the left has no such luxury because political ads are prohibited from work (though it seems to be OK for right-wingers to do this, after all, their protests are advertised on TV)). From time to time, while working away at the office today, I perused the emerging Tea Party photos from around the country, hoping to get a sense of just how formidable the Silent Majority was. I found lots of close up photos of white people with signs. I've attended many protests in my life and hoped to see a photo showing a mass of protesters from a distance whereby an estimate of the enormity of the Silent Majority could be made, but none were to be found. All of the photos were of small handfuls of white people.
Finally, desperate to find out how large the protests were, I telephoned relatives in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston always has huge protests. If there would be a large turn-out anywhere, Boston would be the place. Two of my Bostonian relatives went to the protests. They did their best to enthusiastically describe the Tea Party. These relatives are true dyed in the wool Republicans. I was told, "Well, more people could have turned out, but those who were there were very enthusiastic." The estimate I got was 1000 people tops. I remember attending protests in Boston with tens of thousands of antiwar protesters. Those were protests that were not advertised on television. For all its effort, Fox News could not summon more than 1000 people in Boston (at least at one time).
Eager to know first hand, I left work early and headed to the advertised location of my local protest in Austin, Texas. I got there at 5:30 PM. The event was advertised to last until 7:30 PM. I couldn't find the protest. I went to the right location, but no one was there. Desperately, I looked about and walked around in search of the Silent Majority. Finally, I spied small groups (very small groups) of wandering white people returning from the protest. They had marched off before I arrived, all few dozen of them. One woman was carrying a sign that read, "Time for Texas to Secede." Someone else had a sign that read, "Liberty, not Debt." All were white. None were loud. The Silent Majority turned out to be an itsy bitsy minority. No wonder Nixon had to resign!
Several hours have passed and I feel like a child who has discovered that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist. This is not a bad thing. The Easter Bunny gives me the creeps. Bunnies don't lay eggs and Fox News does not create reality. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.