More thoughts on the tsunami tea party rally

by on February 28, 2010 · 15 comments

in Civil Rights, Organizing, San Diego, War and Peace

10916I went down to check out this whole Tea Party extravaganza today. This is my take on it, or at least a list of random thoughts I had and a list of things I saw today…

I headed down a bit late, probably should’ve been out by 10:15 instead of 10:40. Oh well. Street parking was scarce, but there were some terrific displays of capitalism, namely empty Ace parking lots charging $10 to get in. I parked a mile or so away and walked first along the bay side of Harbor drive, about 10 minutes after the 11 a.m. rally was scheduled to begin. I don’t know how many the teabaggers were claiming would attend or how many they’re going to claim did, but by my estimate they got maybe 250 – I heard some other estimates in the low 300s, which are entirely feasible too, as a few more people trickled in until noon or so.

10907I tried to engage a couple people and hand off a half-page statement I’d prepared that basically said “lots of people in the center and on the left might be more sympathetic to your basic message of smaller, more localized government, but these extremist wingnuts that follow you around really scare off the sane people.” I didn’t find any takers, though one guy did tell me to go home and smoke some more pot (after a while, I took your suggestion – thanks, good one!). Someone else told me I needed to get a job, as if there’s some job store out there where I could just swing by and pick one up. The whole ‘get a job’ thing as a rallying cry by conservatives against anyone they don’t like is getting old, by the way – but I’m sure it has been for 40 years now. A guy got mad when I laughed after some banner they’d hung from some 20? tall inflatable black thing fell down for the second time. Since the sun came out for a few minutes and I wasn’t making friends fast anyway I took off my jacket – no one was amused by my “I pound beers for Jesus” shirt.

People on the other side of the road were generally in higher spirits, talking, laughing, and, led by Frank on a bullhorn, sporadically singing. One ‘bagger took offense to our rendition of ‘God Bless America’ and shouted something to the effect of all we should be able to sing is ‘Kumbayah.’ Around the busiest time for the anti-teabag crowd I took a rough count and came up with something like 70-80, considerably smaller than the other side but definitely significant.

Later a handful of teabaggers crossed the road to stand on the median waving signs. They took this as a opportunity to start screaming gibberish at us and unfortunately, many in the crowd including myself, felt the need to start screaming back. Never argue with an idiot, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. The only time it really got out of line was when some old guy got inches from a woman’s face with the look of a rabid weasel in his eye and screamed repeatedly “AMERICA! LOVE IT OR F’ING LEAVE IT!” Within seconds people were at her back and he retreated across the street, where a cop apparently counseled him on what is and isn’t acceptable protest rally behavior.

10923Some things I saw and/or heard:

  • A lady screaming at us “You’re all illegal! You’re on welfare!”
  • A rally chant broke out where the median teabaggers pointed at us and yelled “You want welfare!” then pointed at themselves and yelled “We want warfare!” I was particularly amused by this one.
  • A guy with a sign that said “Redistribution of Wealth,” and featured a hand-drawn Soviet hammer-and-scythe emblem – as if the current federal government is advocating a transfer of wealth downward, instead of the current ongoing transfer upward.
  • A lady with a sign that said “No Kare,” with the ‘o’ in no being the Obama campaign logo – I think (but I’m not sure) she was against health care, but I wasn’t sure whether the ‘k’ in care was a display of her illiteracy or some sort of Klan reference.
  • A lady with a sign that said “Release the Water, Fish Don’t Vote!” I have no idea what that meant.
  • One particularly vociferous woman screamed herself hoarse screaming at us in a particularly vile manner, including such well-articulated barbs as “Stop smoking your crack and your damn pot and go get jobs and pay taxes!”
  • A guy with the sign “Obama Shows Resolve in War on Prosperity.” I never heard about this one, but if it’s real can we stop with these ‘wars’ on ideas or things, like ‘drugs’ and ‘terror?’
  • The Kumbayah lady was holding a sign that said “Palin/Beck 2012.” Now that’s an amusing concept – I’m sure if it happens hilarity will ensue.
  • A guy with a sign saying “End the Fed,” with the infamous Obama whiteface/clown makeup poster. Because Obama invented the Federal Reserve, I assume.
  • A couple people with “Stop Illegal Immigration Now!” signs – as if making it illegal and posting guards at the border to turn back whoever they catch crossing are signs that we’re pretty much cool with it as a government.
  • A guy had a sign saying Acorn employees are Marxist…jeez, these guys want us to get jobs, but then if we get them at the wrong place we’re Marxist?

Altogether what I’d anticipated – a pretty motley assortment of people promoting a generally incoherent string of ideas. The sad part was that even the normal-looking people had pretty much zero interest in civil discourse – well, the 8-10 I even attempted it with.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar lafftur February 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

PSD, thanks for the first-person report. One of your comments really hit my irony button:

“Someone else told me I needed to get a job, as if there’s some job store out there where I could just swing by and pick one up. The whole ‘get a job’ thing as a rallying cry by conservatives against anyone they don’t like is getting old, by the way – but I’m sure it has been for 40 years now.”

That refrain used to be accompanied by “Get a hair cut!”

I’m still looking for that job store. No joy.


avatar Frank Gormlie February 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

PSD, did you actually see a tea partier with guns?


avatar PSD February 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm

That’s the one thing I forgot on my list – after we broke up about 20 minutes or so early due to the rain starting to pound I ran into a couple twentysomething guys walking away from the other rally, one wearing very, very (very) tight jeans with a plaid flannel tucked into them and a handgun prominently displayed on one hip and the ammo clip on the other. There was one other guy walking around near the radio broadcast booth with a rifle or shotgun or some other kind of big single-shot gun. I didn’t really talk to either.


avatar Frank Gormlie February 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Just left one of the tea party websites, Temple of Mut. Besides giving a glowing account of their rally, with details from their main speakers, they reported that their rally attracted 800 people! Nothing like over-reporting your numbers. We had two of our people go over to their side and actually do a head count. One came up with 320 and here PSD reports “maybe 250.”

One of the more humorous accounts on their website is how they described us – 12 counter-demonstrators organized by Socialist Worker group. There were closer to 60-70 of us, and the Socialist Worker had NOTHING to do with organizing our counter-rally. So much for accuracy in the blog media.


avatar annagrace February 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I stood among Democrats, Greens, Socialists and Independents yesterday. I want to acknowledge Frank’s efforts in reaching out to all of the progressive community and organizing this event.


avatar PSD February 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Frank – my guess was 225-250 when I rolled through their side, which was before I hit your group up. They did grow their crowd a bit, so 320 would be believable. When you were talking numbers and came up with that for them and 60 for us, our group had thinned a bit – I came up with my 70-80 estimate when it peaked 20 minutes or so after I showed up in your camp, maybe around 11:45.

12 is about as ridiculous as 800…


avatar PSD February 28, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Well…maybe there were 12 socialists. But like annagrace says, we also had Dems, Greens, independents, and anti-teabaggers of all stripes.


avatar Frank Gormlie March 1, 2010 at 8:46 am

By this morning, the Tea Party website had removed my comment.


avatar Patty Jones February 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Funny that they don’t want to pay taxes but they want us to. :D


avatar jettyboy March 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

The idiots protest taxes from the waterfront that was constructed and maintained by taxes. These people don’t care about taxes, they just are terrified of change of any kind that rocks the lily white world that still exists in their minds.


avatar Frank Gormlie March 1, 2010 at 10:26 am

One of the local Tea Party websites estimated their numbers Saturday at 300. This is much more accurate than the Temple of Mutt’s numbers of “800.”


avatar Frank Gormlie March 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

GROUND THE DRONES PROTEST! Made Locally! Killing Globally!

Tuesday, March 2 4 to 6 p.m.

Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina ( Harbor Island )

1380 Harbor Island Drive , San Diego , CA 92101 (at Harbor Drive and Harbor Island Drive across from the airport).

Parking is very limited; please try to carpool and allow time to find parking and walk to the demo site. There is parking at Spanish Landing which is West of Harbor Island Drive on the South side of Harbor Drive. We will have someone there from 3:30 to 4 p.m. to shuttle people to the demo site or you can walk a long block. There is also some parking on Harbor Island itself; drive into Harbor Island on Harbor Island Drive and curve around past the Sheraton Hotel; there is public parking along the south side of the street. You will have to walk a block or two back to the demo site depending on where you park.


avatar Rachel March 1, 2010 at 11:46 pm

“A lady with a sign that said “Release the Water, Fish Don’t Vote!” I have no idea what that meant.”

That is referring to the man-made drought in California in an attempt to save the Delta Smelt – a small fish. Though it’s been determined that the fish aren’t as endangered as previously thought, the water remains shut off, putting farms in jeopardy.


avatar Nate Hipple March 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

What’s the deal with spelling words that start with “c” with a “k”!? I’m thinking of all those Kountry Kitchen diners you see alongside freeways in the middle of nowhere. Yikes.


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