I went to my first protest today, in front of City Hall. It was a fairly good turnout, especially for a sleepy central Florida town during a weekday lunch hour — folks lined both sides of the street, three or four deep, for about three blocks. The local left-leaning fishwrap reported the attendance at 400–500 here.
There were no speakers and no organized program; the Tea Party was basically an hour's worth of sign- and flag- waving. There was one guy with a megaphone who started several short chants of "U.S.A." but by-and-large the crowd simply waved their homemade signs and cheered as passing motorists honked in support; there were only a few professionally-printed "T(axed) E(nough) A(lready)" signs. A surprisingly large percentage of the passing cars honked in support, or rolled down their windows and cheered along with us; I'd guess 75-80%.
There were a few Fair Taxers, and a couple of Paulites ("Gold and Silver is the only true money"). However, the most common sentiments were anti-socialist signs of various flavors, anti-spending/anti-tax, "Don't Tread on Me", and anti-corruption (in Congress). There were also a lot of American flags.
I was told — but did not see myself — that two or three Obama supporters stopped by, but were simply ignored and they left after five minutes or so. There was one television camera present, but no reporters. The cameraman shot about five minutes of footage and then left; as Melbourne does not have any local TV stations I think at best 5 seconds might get spliced into a report by the Orlando stations (since Orlando had its own, much larger, Tea Party which will doubtless receive the bulk of the coverage).
The crowd was a mixture of young parents with homeschooled kids, retirees, and working stiffs on their lunch break like myself. I also saw a good number of military veterans. I was sad to notice one thing, though: while the area is racially mixed, the crowd was mostly white, with some Latinos but very few if any African Americans. I think the emptiness of President Hopenchange's promises has yet to become fully apparent to some...
I had my camera — but can't include photos in this RedState post, unfortunately. So, some of my favorite signs:
"If bribes are illegal, why isn't Congress in jail?"
"I'm 81, mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore!"
"I'll keep my freedom; you keep the change"
"The problem with socialism: you run out of other people's money"
"I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a taxpayer -- NOT an extremist"
"Speak for yourself, Obama: America IS a Christian nation"
Of course, every protest has to have somebody in costume; we had a nice elderly woman in a Betsy Ross-inspired flag-themed period dress. There were no giant puppets or paper mache. I really wanted to see some giant puppets. It was my first protest, after all!
This Sunday there is another Tea Party planned. It will probably be much larger, and several local pols will be speaking. That just might be my second protest.