Friday, April 16, 2010

What I saw at the Grand Prairie (Texas) Tea Party last night

Update: my instinct about crusading liberals carrying cameras and targeting the edgiest signs might have been correct. HuffPo has up a post now: "Tea Party Signs: The Most Outrageous Depictions From Tax Day Protests Across The Country". Except, thing is, I looked at their 20 examples of outrageous signs: those signs were not so outrageous. At all. More revealingly, HuffPo's opening paragraph says the signs featured "shocking -- and in some cases hateful -- messages". Blatant mischaracterization. This means whomever composed the HuffPo piece never looked at the signs. Rather, the author was so confident the signs would be shocking and in some cases hateful, the author was so certain, that the author felt no need to take 2 minutes to look through the signs. That HuffPo author perfectly represents much of the American left, and much of American media.

Update 2 at bottom of post.


What I saw at the Tea Party

A bunch of good people; some social misfits looking for attention; a bunch of vendors hawking t-shirts, buttons, flags, et al; a crowd which I wild guess estimate was about 15,000*; maybe 700 500 signs, and a bunch of buttons and flags and stuff.

I saw no blatantly objectionable signs. I saw a huge array of often funny signs which supported the main themes of the Tea Party: reduced spending, small government, reduced taxes, repeal of Obamacare. There were signs held by vehement supporters of fringe ancillary issues such as: stop illegal immigration, stop abortion, et al. The signs supporting the main themes strongly outnumbered the signs supporting fringe ancillary issues.

A wide demographic spectrum was well represented at many levels, from social misfits who were looking for attention through upper middle class management types. I saw "Med Students Against Obamacare". Now THERE is a motivated group. Can you imagine being a med student right now?

One thing bothered me: liberals focusing their cameras on social misfits holding signs supporting fringe ancillary issues. Just as gay people claim to have gaydar, I claim to have radar for liberals. If you just pay attention to people, you will see little give-aways that they are likely liberal crusaders: lack of make-up, hair (often straight and longish), the way they wrap their purse straps around their bodies, clothing choices, shoes, carriage, angry expression, palpable air of superiority surrounding them like dirt surrounding Pig-Pen.

I identified 5 people whom I suspected were liberals documenting the event. 3 of these people had their cameras trained on social misfits supporting fringe ancillary issues.

Here's how that looks. First, you have a solo woman with a camera. How often does that happen? Women arrive with their husband or their girlfriends: they do not arrive solo. Second, the solo woman with the camera is ignoring numerous happy and attractive people with flags, cute kids, funny signs, and the solo woman with the camera is standing 20 feet from a social misfit who is carrying a sign which vehemently advocates ... something ... deporting illegal aliens or something. And it's not just the sign which she wants in her shot: she wants the social misfit who came to the Tea Party so he could trap some people into listening to his diatribe about deporting illegal aliens, and so he could GET SOME ATTENTION from somebody, b/c his personality is slightly unusual and maybe maladjusted, and he is starved for attention from human beings. Further, his clothes are not so clean and not so stylish, and his shoes are beat up, and his hair has never seen a $20 haircut. And the solo woman with the camera and the purse strap wrapped around her just so is ignoring a bunch of nearby attractive people and adorable kids and truly clever and funny signs, and she is focusing on this social misfit who maybe hasn't showered since Saturday, and she'll be uploading her photos to some accumulator at Daily Kos or HuffPo or MediaMatters. I pretty much expect to see this social misfit and his peers showing up in those media venues this weekend. I expect to see them being represented as the types of persons who made up the majority of the Tea Party crowd in Grand Prairie, TX. Such will be outrageous misrepresentation.

*I've now seen crowd estimates of 7,000 (police), "well over 10,000" (Free Republic poster), and 18,000 (event organizers). I argue for a crowd size of well beyond 10,000.

I stood on the walkway atop the outfield wall and studied the crowd. The stadium has 5400 seats and wide concourses. 4000 seats were filled, the wide concourses were filled, the large restaurant and restaurant patio in LF was filled, and thousands milled in the outfield grass.** In my estimation, the crowd would have easily filled all stadium seats twice over, and then some.

**The podium was against the CF wall. The crowd was amassed from dead LF to dead RF. The outfield corners were empty, including areas near the foul lines.

Update 2
I saw no saboteurs. Michelle Malkin has experience with saboteurs:
I speak from direct experience about the underhandedness of Tea Party smear merchants. On Feb. 17, 2009, at one of the country’s first tax revolt rallies in Denver, a man approached me amid a throng of bona fide anti-stimulus protesters and thrust a camera in my face. I obliged cheerfully, as I usually do after such speaking events. I later learned from the character assassins at Progress Now, a left-wing outfit that just happened to be there and just happened to snap a close-up photo of the interaction, that the man pulled out a sign at the last minute (which I didn’t see until later) sporting Obama’s name with a swastika on it. He held the sign away from me, but in direct view of the Progress Now cameraperson.

That cameraperson just happened to be a former CNN producer, whose blog post on the photo just happened to be immediately disseminated by the local press and to the hit men at the radical-left Media Matters website. The narrative was set: A conservative supporter of the nascent Tea Party movement posed for a photo with a man holding up a swastika at a protest against out-of-control spending! Ergo, the anti-stimulus protesters and the entire Tea Party membership are all racist, fascist menaces to society!

Update 3: NYT's Charles Blow was in Grand Prairie. His take: how dare people of color take the podium and speak at this strongly white gathering? Minstrel show! Minstrel show! PJTV's Alphonso Rachel is a fool!

My note: could the Grand Prairie Tea Party have put so many persons of color onto the stage in an effort to get the word out that persons of color are welcome, and even desired, at Tea Parties in this area?


Anonymous said...

And your characterization of the liberal is not a gross misrepresentation?

gcotharn said...

Brave Anonymous,

My initial instinct, for about 2 seconds, was to just let your comment stand. However, no. If you look at what I wrote, its clear that I might see one of those characteristics represented in a particular liberal person, or a few of those characteristics represented, of none of those characteristics represented. Its clear that my comment was written with some sense of fun, i.e. in a way which I hoped was somewhat interesting and fun for the reader, as opposed to being a dry and stiff anthropological recitation.

It's really hard, for me at least, to write well. And thats part of the reason I enjoy the exercise of blogging: it's an exercise in writing well. It's a hands on learning experience, and it's fun: trying to write well is a fun challenge.

It rarely bothers me when my writing is misinterpreted. Usually, it's my fault. Also, I'm mindful of "it's impossible to write anything in such a way that it cannot be misinterpreted."

However, in this instance, I suspect you had to willfully misinterpret my words in order to come to your conclusion. In other words: you are either full of shit, or have shit for brains. For your sake, the former is the preferable affliction.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Lone Star Tea Party in Grand Prairie . . . by myself because my husband was called away on business. I'm a big girl and went anyway (with my long hair brushed and my makeup on, however). It was an absolutely great event with a diverse group of people exercising their first amendment rights. I do take issue with the "fringe" talk regarding illegal immigration. If it has the word "illegal" in front of it, then it isn't fringe to be opposed to it. I am all for "legal" immigration (a couple of speakers at the rally who are legal immigrants were very well received). I look forward to another rally in July.

gcotharn said...


Thanks for visiting. As you, I support legal immigration, and support upholding the laws of the U.S., and thus do not support illegal immigration. I don't think the issue itself is fringe. Rather, I think the Tea Parties are properly focused on reduced spending, lower taxes, repeal of Obamacare. I think it preferable if the Tea Parties do not dilute their message by embracing other issues. Maybe I ought have found a better adjective than "fringe" with which to describe those other issues.

gcotharn said...

ancillary! Not fringe issues, but ancillary issues.

Webutante said...

Thanks Greg for reporting on this.