Washington DC. You can judge a person by their overcoat. If you got one, you don't have a limo. Looser.
So, when a Tea Party group decides to have a rally at the foot of the Robert A Taft Memorial the participants are limited by the weather. It was cold, damp, drizzly and the ground soggy enough to turn to mud. Nobody, and I mean nobody who had a choice was on the mall or walking the streets last Thursday. Trust me, my leather coat, work boots and cap made me stand out. I at least had work boots on, so I didn't ruin a good pair of shows walking around in the mud. I give the politicians who showed up a lot of credit. They deserve our support.
The cold and damp suppressed everything. Mike Pence gave a few good lines, but you couldn't hear them half a block away. The people forced to be outside hustled from the doors to the limo, or taxi, or rushed to cross the street. A few glanced toward the memorial to see a small quiet gathering, of what looked like a funeral in the park.
Then something changed. By this time I had given up and was walking back to the office about a block away, busy talking to clients on my cell phone when all of a sudden the atmosphere changed. I wasn't the only one that noticed. Two guys getting into a cab in front of me stopped and took notice. They stood there enthralled long enough for the cabbie to wake them from their trance. A quick look around showed that even the on side walks across from the park people had stopped, making what was once deserted looking streets seem busier.
The voice that we heard was clear, sharp and had that smirk built into it that laughs at Washington's air of self importance. At first I thought Sarah Palin had made an unscheduled stop, then I realized, I had missed Michelle Bachman.
I couldn't hear her speech. But I could hear the enthusiasm and you could feel the energy. I was watching the reactions around me. The little nod of recognition the two cab riders gave to each other as they took their ride. The small groups of listeners closer then me, leaning forward, nodding in agreement. Maybe all these people knew she was coming and timed their lunch to be on the walk. Not quite committed to the rally but anxious for a chance to hear Bachman speak. They got their reward.
For a couple minutes, the dreary, damp, heavy Washington air seemed charged with possibilities. No, the crowd listening didn't double or triple, but I found that in a dozen small groups people all seemed to stop and turn and come to attention. Like people do when plays reveille on a military base.
I could not believe that a handful of people would bring out some of the speakers who were there Thursday. I can tell you that there could not have been more than two bus loads of supporters by that time though more had marched around the Capitol Building earlier. Take away the reporters, and the organizers, the handlers and the politicians waiting their turn, fifty to seventy five people gathered in a space no bigger then a school orchestra pit, and with the same kind of small personal feel, and got a close up look at the political show of a lifetime. I will regret that due to my own discouragement I was not part of that group at the foot of the podium. I doubt any of us will be so close to these potential presidential candidates again.
Evangelical Tradlitionlist - spreading the gospel of self determination through restoration of local and state government control over the matters of it's citizens.
Note: By the time I left the atmosphere around the podium was more like a gathering of friends for a wedding. A mix of people who don't quite know each other but all know the people at the head table. The politicians politely stood by mingled in with the croud with a minimum of "handlers", none of whom seemed particularly threatening. It was a small group. It was friendly. Oh, and it even had a crazy uncle and his family. About a half dozen code pink types where their to spread their message. Interestingly I almost got the feeling that they felt a part of the family too. They acted like they were in a friendly crowd. Of course, that may be because they were. One thing is certain, there are plenty in the tea party that think the time for military adventurism by an amateurish Chicago school boy is over.
Then again, maybe the point of the tea party isn't to get government to dictate how we should all live. But rather to reduce the size of government so that we can all be true to our own consciousness and make a small place in this great and varied country were we can gather with people of a like mind and prosper.
Senator Robert Alphonso Taft According to Wikipedia "As the leading opponent of the New Deal in the Senate from 1939 to 1953, he led the successful effort by the conservative coalition to curb the power of labor unions, and was a major proponent of the foreign policy of non-interventionism." OK, I know that is a bad source to reference but it is good enough to make one wonder if it was just a coincidence that the rally was at this location?
TRADITIONALISM A philosophy that government should function with a respect for the limits of it’s own authority taking priority over all other considerations.