The day started out rainy and with a bit of a chill in the air. The crowd was much smaller this year, since I am not good at estimating crowd sizes, I won't even hazard a guess. But, Freedom Works did something interesting, we were asked to either call or text to a number that would give them a count. Now, I know even that will not be accurate as the people who were sitting next to me only called once and there was five of them.
We had our share of "counter-protesters" again this year, but I saw far fewer of them this year as well. One difference was that I was sitting much closer to the stage this year so I did much less crowd wandering this year over last year. Some of the counter protesters were actually social conservatives. That's right. They are unhappy that we are not dealing with abortion or gay marriage in the tea party community. I am not that conservative when it comes to some of the more social issues. I am with the majority of Americans on abortion, personally against but do not feel that making it illegal is the answer. But, I do fall firmly in the conservative camp on the gay marriage issue. But, again, I realize that it will not only happen in this country, it will happen in my lifetime. But for these particular social conservatives, they are very upset that these issues are not being addresses by the tea party. But, maybe I can clear it up for you, the tea party is made up of fiscal conservatives and even some moderates, who are outraged at the out-of-control spending spree our federal government has been on.
I did see one of the many progressive counter protesters today. He was dressed in a very bizarre outfit; a plaid button up shirt with the sleeves cut out that he tied at his waste, and VERY short jean cut off shorts carrying a sign that said something along the lines of "Kick the Gay Foreigner Out of Office". I don't remember exactly what it said, but along those lines. The tea party was having none of it, he was found pretty quickly and surrounded by people with signs that read "He is NOT with us".
Of course the LaRouche crazies were out in force. They have shown up at every rally I have been to. This is where much of the media's Hitler references come from. They just omit the part about LaRouche followers being far left dems, that even most dems won't claim.
The speakers today mainly consisted of tea party leaders from around the country. We did hear from Congressman Mike Pence and Ken Cuccinelli. I will be the first to admit that I was very wrong about AG Cuccinelli. I was not happy when he got the nomination for AG. But, he has been amazing since taking office in January.
Breitbart was out and about in the crowd meeting people and getting his photo taken probably a zillion times. He didn't seem to mind it all. I did not get a chance to go up and meet him, I had to more or less stay in place today, so my pictures are much fewer and I didn't get to talk to as many people as I did last year. I also twisted my knee in a weird way this morning on the train, so it kinda hurts.
One thing that I found very strange was the fact that they didn't close any of the roads around the Capitol. The didn't even close off Pennsylvania Ave when we marched down it. We had traffic running along side of us. I don't know if that was a permit issue or what, but it seemed very strange to me. Last year the entire road was closed as well as the roads around the Capitol, it could be that they knew the number would be smaller this year.
Again, I met people from all over. I even saw a group that flew in from Hawaii. I didn't get a chance to go and speak to them, as they were on the other side of the street that wasn't closed off, so it was too difficult for me to get to the other side of Freedom Plaza.
I personally found a few of the signs to be wildly inapporiate. One said something along the lines of "Be if by ballott or by bullet" I actually told the guy that it wasn't not a good idea to let the media see a sign that says that. Nor, do I think it was smart to put something like that in writing. He just gave me a look and walked away. Although, I saw almost no media today at all, or should I say mainstream media. Newsbusters, Right and Black, and other conservative outlets were there, but I saw one photographer from the AP and that was it. I got home in time for the local news, and they didn't mention it at all. I guess it never it happened!!!
Here are some additional photos for you: These are some of my favorites. Although, the one that I loved the most I didn't get a picture of. It said "Put Down Your Golf Clubs and Pick up The Constitution" I didn't have my camera with my when I saw it, and then I couldn't find the guy again. I hope you enjoy these.