Updated: Tea Party! — Bend Oregon 2009
Updated 4/15/10: I’m covering the Bend, OR Tea Party, and this blog will also be covering at least two other events across the nation. Here’s the link to the summary post for Tax Day 2010. Also, here are my morning thoughts for Tax Day 2010, and I’ll have a wrap-up later.
At Finding Ponies, we describe ourselves as apolitical. Yes, at least one of us thinks that most Republicans are middle-of-the road pikers, and another is fond of making fun of both sides. As John says — strategists do their best to not be political.
That said, I was excited to attend the Bend, Oregon Tea Party. I’d been looking forward to the event all week, and I’m glad I went. (Lots of) Pictures and (some) commentary after the break.
Updated: 4/16 — Welcome Townhall and Michelle Malkin readers. And anyone else I’ve missed (will update later). We’re mostly a strategy and policy blog, though I think you’ll see some very interesting debate on public schools, bailouts, and the beginnings of a Windows/Linux/Mac discussion that could span a couple blogs. Please feel free to take a look around come back for more!
Again: After a bit of sleep, I put up some more thoughts. Some others might pile on as well… like Lynn I see.
And an additional Hat Tips to Rant Vent Rant and Bijenkorf.
…and Bend Bulletin coverage. The couple comments are amusing.
Updated 4/17: More incoming links. Can’t read this one, think it’s Lukepost.blog? I guess we’re big in Asia.
Updated 7/4: If you wanted the July 4th Tea Party, here’s the link.
The Bend Tea Party went from 3PM to 7PM today. Hot Babe Wife and I attended from about 3:20 to 5:40. We arrived just in time for the National Anthem… how many protest events start with the National Anthem? And people singing and remembering the words? My first note in looking around: if there’s a big corporation involved in this, I can’t see it. These are people. That was reinforced many times through the day. This was not what you’d think of as a “traditional republican crowd,” either.
Note that any error in quotes is my inability to write them fast enough. Also, if there’s a picture of a person obviously under 18, I sought out the parent, got permission for the picture, and got permission to post. If I posted something in error, please tell me ASAP, and I’ll remove. Privacy is a key concern. If you would like to re-post pictures, I will allow that if you contact me for permission.
This was not a small crowd:
I thought it interesting when the “grass roots” speakers stood up. One of them said “dog turd,” and the moderator immediately said, “Hey, let’s keep this clean.” It was the worst thing I heard from the mic all day.
While wandering around, I was talking to a nice lady who commented that the “opposition” was handing out cookies. There was very little obvious opposition to the Tea Party that I could see. I asked the same lady why she had come: “We’re sick of this,” was the reply.
The lead organizer for the event was Lucy Brackett:
I talked to her a couple times in the day. During her intro speech, I caught a great quote: “Stay engaged and enraged.” When I talked to her during a break in the action, I asked her what she thought the crowd numbered. She said that there were dedicated counters, and at 4:30 they had told her about 800. They had hoped for 50 to show up! I would have guessed by the time I left that there were about 1000. People, this is Bend, OR! There are about 200,000 people in the local area. That’s a half a percent of the population! Lucy told me that she had talked to people that came from La Pine, Chemult, Burns, Klamath Falls… this was a big draw.
There were lots of good signs. First, the cute kid of the day (with parents’ permission to post):
Some people could spell, some couldn’t.
Some were very direct:
Some were funny (and even grammatical):
And many were a labor of love from a whole family (again, posted w/ the parents’ permission):
There was a march through Bend. Before we left, they gave us many rules… mind your manners, safety first, don’t block traffic/business patrons, smile, etc. We set off through about a four block up/back route. It was the first protest I’ve ever seen where people actually STOPPED at the cross-walks when the light was red.
And we had traffic control in key places:
At one point a guy was arguing with a couple of the protestors at a corner. They had heated, but polite, conversation, and most of the people moved on. I stopped to talk to him. His name was Casey (sorry no picture). He said that the people that he talked to said some good and some ridiculous stuff. He commented to me that “Fox News apparently gets some people going.” I agreed that Fox News certainly appeared to get some people going…
We had our own escort… I believe they were called the Freedom Riders of Central Oregon (someone help me w/ the right name):
Some of the drivers on the road were very supportive. I heard a lot of honking and saw a lot of thumbs.
I heard that one or two drivers swore at the parade, but I didn’t see any examples. A couple by-standers asked us who organized this and how could they get involved.
Near the end of the parade I ran into two self-proclaimed Democrats who were attending. Of course, the nice lady said, “I don’t know that we can say that there’s a party anymore.” I laughed when he said, “How about we plan our own retirement?” and even more when she said, “Let’s get rid of social programs, after all I have to work to eat myself.”
There was a ceremonial dumping of tea, and I have some pictures. But there’s a kid in most of them, and I couldn’t ID her parents, so I’m not posting any of them. It was interesting to see how many people were frustrated and angry. I heard several times as people threw the tea-bags in the tub: “I’m mad as he<ck>!”
We left about 5:40, before the final speeches and the closing of God Bless America. I’m confident that it closed well, and peacefully. Here are a couple more signs to close the day:
I have more pictures, and I have another commentary on which I’d like to think before I post. In all, I thought this was a great day, with polite but frustrated and mad people. From the numbers I’m hearing around the US, I believe the organization got what it wanted, and more.