Gathering of Eagles: NY posts an action alert detailing a Tea Party this coming Wednesday in Rochester, NY. Governor Paterson will be in town that day. These weekday ones are going to be tough for a lot of people (you know, folks with jobs), but please show up if you can.
At the Berman Post, Andrew Berman has embedded videos of (I think) every speaker from the event. Great work on his (and their) part.
Go take a look, really gives an idea of the enthusiasm, intelligence and spirit on display. Let’s do it again soon and double our numbers.
Got back from the New York City Tea Party (after a detour uptown to see the National Historical Society’s “Grant & Lee” exhibit – spoiler – it sucks, don’t go).
Turnout was decent, particularly given the approximately two days notice. I would have said anywhere from 200-400 attendees, other reports I’ve seen have been about that as well. The weather cooperated, it was pretty cold, but clear and dry. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, particularly once things got going.
There wasn’t any sort of sense of rage, it was definitely an upbeat general mood, people seemed excited that this (the Tea Party) was happening, and there was a lot of “I never realized there were this many conservatives (libertarians, Republicans, etc) in New York!” Michelle Malkin got a mention and a hearty cheer for all her work in publicizing the tea parties, and Rick Santelli got numerous roars of approval.
There were a few hiccups along the way, most noticeably with the “sound system,” which consisted of a bullhorn. Speakers had to shout, even with the bullhorn, to be heard, but most people were able to get their message across. Just something to work on in the future, a microphone and speakers. Another thing that bugged me was the use of young children holding signs (i.e. “Get your hands out of my piggy bank”). It’s not ok when liberals do it and it’s not ok when we do it. Bring them along, sure, let them see how democracy works, but don’t use them like that.
I saw reporters from 1010 WINS and WCBS 8080, and there was some mention (and cheers) of the NY Post being in attendance, otherwise media presence was nil (which is to be expected, it’ll take time). But again, something to work on. Get some bigger names, bigger crowds, and the press will come.
The first speaker – and I guess the “keynote” guy – was Alex Zablocki, self-described independent candidate seeking the Republican nomination for Public Advocate. I haven’t had a chance to really check out his platform, but at least he was there, and he spoke well.
There were also a few speakers that got a bit off-message. One very passionate woman was speaking from a religious perspective, and their was a little unrest, especially when she dragged on for a bit longer than was needed, and then when she tried to finish by asking people to “bow their heads” she basically was asked (politely) to give up the bullhorn. I’m a Christian, but I think the organizers did the right thing in cutting her short. This was not the time or the place to be bringing religion into the discussion, this was an economic protest, and there were certainly some people there who were a little put off by her. But again, it was all handled respectfully, and she got a nice round of applause.
Another young woman got up and began her talk with a reference to Hitler, and there were a few very audible “Uh oh’s” and “Here we go”s from the crowd, and it got a little tense for a few moments, but she brought it around to Obama’s abandonment of Israel, and finished with a very strong admonition to her fellow Jews that they should be ashamed to have supported Obama the way they did in the election. Again, off-topic, but it could have been a lot worse.
However, in general the speakers did a very nice job. Most kept it brief (we only had an hour permit) and there ended up being about 15 different people who spoke.
The majority were on-message, passionate and well-spoken, talking about fiscal responsibility, individual rights, a return to our country’s core beliefs, lots of anti-socialism and a few personal anecdotes, notably a young woman who tearfully described her
grandfather’s father-in-law’s (Thanks Mary!) battle with cancer, talking about how he was given two more years with her family through experimental treatment that almost certainly wouldn’t have been tried under a government-controlled rationed health care system. It was very effective.
There were a number of other notably well-spoken people, almost entirely young men, very passionate and intelligent, one young man from Argentina, relating that country’s descent into socialism with ours, a couple guys from Brooklyn (complete with accents) who gave excellent accountings of themselves and my borough. Jonathan Judge, President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club introduced himself and spoke briefly and well, I introduced myself afterward and got his card, he was extremely upbeat but focused, definitely had a plan and knew what he was doing.
I could go on, this was my first event of this kind, I’ve never really considered myself any kind of activist, and that seemed to be the general consensus, this was new to most of us out there today. But if this movement has any future, this is the way it’s going to begin. As we wrapped up there were numerous shouts of “Let’s do this every weekend” and “Same time next week!” People were excited to be part of this, excited to see that they weren’t alone.
Obviously, this is the way grass root movements get going. Liberals know this, they’ve had extensive experience with it, but conservatives are going to have to learn as we go. There are definitely going to be growing pains, and we’ll have to be sure to learn from our mistakes. Probably the most exciting aspect of the day was seeing the networking that was going on. One of the guys from Brooklyn who spoke, I think his name was Vinnie, immediately after he was done Jonathan Judge went over to him and they were speaking with each through the rest of the hour. I don’t know if they knew each other previously, but regardless, this is how movements grow.
In particular we need to be able to weed out the “crazies,” and not be shy about it. The media, if they cover us at all, are going to focus on the one person who stands up and rants about Hitler or Muslims or whatever, and we can’t allow that. This movement is about fiscal responsibility, stopping socialist creep and returning our country to it’s roots. Do that, and everything else will fall into place, but right now this is the battle we must fight, and this is a message that can make our tent that much bigger.
All photos can be viewed here
Update: Read Andrew Berman’s thoughts here
Update 2: Some more coverage at:
The NY Post
Gathering of Eagles: NY
Right in the City
Price of Nothing
Evil Conservative Radio (Patrick Gibson from WVOX made a short but well-received speech)
Nice slideshow/video at the Republican Diet (The beautiful Beth also lent her voice and was seen holding aloft a large American flag)
New York Daily News
Photos from Jeff Smith – via Instapundit
Video at EastAustinVoice
Update 3: Apparently the Village Voice’s blog had someone there as well – the post headline reads:
200+ NYC “Tea Party” Protests Obama as Socialist, Communist, Hitler, Etc. Illustrates very nicely the point being made by myself and others, the need to make sure organizers vet speakers as carefully as possible, as well as the need for speakers themselves to be aware that the media will use whatever they can to discredit what we’re trying to do. There’s a fringe element to all parties and movements, there’s no escaping it, but we need to do our best to ensure that the fringe doesn’t become the voice.