Photogs and Brief Rport Back from Portland Tea Party
Pioneer Square was filled to over flowing this evening with citizens protesting taxes, the bailout, socialism, pork, and demanding, as on one sign among hundreds of others, that the government "redistribute freedom and not wealth." One sign even apologized for voting for Obama.
The event was started off by an individual dressed up in Revolutionary War era costume, speaking the Declaration of Independence. He was excellent, knew the entire piece by heart, and inspired the people at various times to applaud and cheer.
He was followed by various speakers, though the size of the crowd at the stage prevented my from taping much of what was going on. The signs were so numerous that even getting overhead video of the crowd from inside the crowd was impossible.
As I said the crowd filled the Square, filled the seats and overflowed over the top. This was an extremely well promoted and financed event. One speaker claimed that there were 22 of these rallies in Oregon alone, starting in Medford Oregon this morning. Before I left home for downtown, I heard Corporate news sources claim that there were about 500 Tea Party's nation wide, and Laura Ingram on her Conservative talk radio program this evening claimed there were 700 of them nationwide.
This event touched a pulse in America, and it might be the beginnings of a Conservative, if not a Republican resurgence.
Though in the lead up to this nation wide protest organizers claim it to be bipartisan, there was little evidence of any Progressive or Democratic constituency. And, towards the end of the rally, when the organizers recognized the groups who worked to make the event possible, not once was the Democratic Party or any group I could recognize as "left" even mentioned.
But the Republican and Libertarian Parties were mentioned; Glenn Beck was mentioned; KPAM radio was mentioned; various Conservative organizations were mentioned and thanked. This was not bipartisan; it was a Conservative rally, with known Conservative speakers.
And there is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that the organizers and speakers were posturing something different.
Much of what was said and the content of many of the signs would indeed get nods of approval from those on the Progressive side of the aisle. "Stop the Looting, Start Prosecuting;" "Tea Bag the Fed, Declare Oregon Sovereignty;" "Dems, Reps, Wake Up;" "When Injustice Becomes Law, Rebellion Becomes Duty;" "Banks Take Your Loses."
There is much common ground here, yet I did not feel the crowd to be in sympathy with the poor, the homeless, the undocumented immigrant. The rhetoric from the speakers emphasized the many problems which brought them all to the Square, yet few if any solutions were offered.
There was a general and overwhelming mood of discontent, with constant reference to the fact that "we the people" could somehow solve the problems, if government would leave us alone.
Organizers passed around sign up sheets for those who wish to follow up on the momentum of this event, which, according to one speaker, is the beginning of a national political strategy for the 2010 election.
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