On April 15th, my wife and I went to a tea party to protest the Obama-Pelosi spending and its probably consequences. (For those of you who read me from overseas: April 15th is the last day Americans may pay their federal income tax without a late penalty. They also pay taxes to their state, to their municipalities, and others.) Nothing extraordinary about our attendance; millions of Americans did the same. However, for us it was in Santa Cruz, California.
Santa Cruz is a perfect 1970s political throwback, except that today’s Greens warn against global warming instead of global glaciation. We even have flower children here. I believe at least 90% of residents of the country of Santa Cruz voted for Obama. If someone showed me it was 98%, I would not be surprised. Santa Cruz is the kind of town were strangers would address you at the coffee-shop with anti-Bush remarks without hesitation. It did not cross anybody’s mind that you might actually have voted for Bush (twice, in my case).
Well yesterday, at the height of the gathering, there were about 140 people demonstrating in front of the post office. That’s a fairly small number as compared to the tens of thousands some media showed at the Alamo in Texas, for example. Also, the time of the protest was ill-chosen. It began at 2, when most people are at work. The most impressive observation about this anti-spending demonstration was the density of approving car horn honking it generated. I have never heard so much honking in the past ten years in the area. It seems to me each of the pro-fascist, anti-anti terrorist demonstrations produced much less honking in spite of the town’s leftists near-consensus. At the Santa Cruz tea party, 9 out of 10 signs were crudely hand-made, not evidence of top-bottom organizing surely. I think some people in the middle are switching sides because they are appalled by the first 80 days of Obama-Pelosi.
The increasingly hapless media propagandists on the Left could not believe their eyes. They misinterpreted the event as a case of organized Republican Party panic event. In my small town, with its left dominance, we know all Republican functionaries and all elected Republican elected officials by sight. They were not invited to the tea party and not one of them showed up, I believe. Tough for Pres Obama and Acorn, the extremist left-wing organizing organization with millions of my tax money! It’s a classical grass-root movement. You plow ordinary Americans under long enough and they get pissed off.
As always, I looked for what did not happen at the Santa Cruz tea-party.
The beautiful people were definitely not there, except my wife, of course who would look chic in sack-cloth. It was a t-shirt and baggy blue-jeans event, with baseball caps. Other than this uniformity, it was a diverse crowd. There was an athletic young man, shirtless to show off his excellent tattoo, and young mothers with children. I talked for a while with a very old lady so frail that I had to recommend that she do not brandish her sign so high above her head, for fear she would collapse. A young couple with piercings got way-laid by someone in the crowd and stayed for a half hour to listen to our viewpoint.
The Obama supporters who yelled at the demonstrators from their open car windows exhibited no wits, beyond, “You are crazy,” and the always desperate, “Fuck you!” They seemed scandalized as well as bewildered: “How dare they protest against Obama, our Lord Anointed, in Santa Cruz, California, of all places?”
A good start, I would say, on the way to recovering our freedoms.
Afterthought: The few opponents to the protest who commented with other than animal cries seemed to see only the tax protest, strictly defined. Makes sense for them: a bunch of selfish and, no doubt, insensitive conservatives greedily protesting against a generous government taking their money to do good deeds in their names. I suspect few if any of the opponents grasped the constitutional resonance of this protest. This is not surprising either. I have known for many years that many people on the Left think of the Constitution as icing on the cake at best, as a fairy tale for the not- really grown-up at worst. This is a main reason why I veered toward conservatism. Contempt for constitutional government is the antechamber to Fascism, narrowly construed. (I mean that I am using the term properly, not as a cheap insult hurled at the other side in an instant of blind rage. Reminds you of anyone?)
[Editor's note: this essay first appeared on Dr. Delacroix's blog, Bay Watch, on April 16th 2009]