Earlier this morning, my wife left a reunion with some friends in Chicago to be home in by 2. She was trying to make it in time for our family to make it to a 3:00PM Tea Party in Greenville, WI. The event had been published some time ago on Facebook. While many Tea Parties were held on July 4, the organizers of this event felt a high-travel, high-family-event day like that would challenge most faimiles. So, for whatever reason, July 19 was selected.
Well, they did pick an outstanding day. The weather was an beautiful 75 degree, breezy, mostly sunny day. Earlier in the day, I checked Facebook and found that only 53 folks had confirmed the event. I was wondering if many were going to be there. On a call from my wife on her way home, we decided to see how our 3-year-old's nap went and make a decision to go somewhat last minute.
We decided to go...packed some gear...and rolled out about 2:40PM for the 15 minute drive. We got to the event location..."Greenville Lions Park"...and found there to be 4 softball diamonds in the middle of large tournament. Confused, we walked around a bit looking for the gathering. I was concerned that maybe there was a scheduling snafu and the whole thing was a bust. I found a local and asked if there were any other Greenville Lions parks. It turned out there was another Lion's park about a mile farther south. So we loaded the kids and headed out.
And that's where things got interesting.
We found the entrance and were greeted by a row of cars parked on the grass all the way to the entrance (note the link above to see the park...picture is about before completion). We followed the parking lot attendants who directed us to a spot. The field was packed with cars. I was still a bit incredulous. My wife wasn't. She was confident the crowd was for the Tea Party. As much as I wanted to believe it, I needed proof. I wasn't expecting the excitement from the April 15 party to to carry on so far, or so well.
Boy was I wrong.
We walked to the entrance and were bombarded by solicitors. Americans for Prosperity, FoxPoliticsNews.net, and others handed us pamphlets, flyers, and cards. At first I was taken aback by this, but then I realized these were active citizens participating in the political process. We continued on and found a spot in the outdoor amphitheater among the hundreds (or 1,500 by another count...a count of 2,000 wouldn't surprise me, but can't prove it better than the other number) of Tea Partiers.
WOW!!! I was very wrong. Lots of signs, lots of flags, lots of people of all ages.
The event itself was good. Proud To Be An American and The National Anthem opened up the afternoon. A couple of the even organizers followed up with some logistical points as wells as some points to rally the crowd. Joe the Plumber was a keynote. Other local conservatives/talk show hosts/etc. spoke as well. A key highlight from Sam Wurzelbacher...don't stop at attending a Tea Party...go home and call your represntatives...get politically active. Several others made some nice points as well. We left by 5 to get the kids dinner...speaches were still continuing. However, some were slipping into self-promotion instead of on topics of tyrrany and freedom.
I learned a few things about events like this....
- Be very clear about the location...the location turned out to be ambiguous.
- If at all possible, schedule Tea Parties in kid-friendly locations. There was a playset for the kids within earshot of the event. Very helpful.
- Keep the message on point. The message at the April 15 party was powerful and heartfelt. Today, less so.
It was very encouraging to see the wide-ranging ages all out to support the Tea Party. I think it's time to turn it into more action.
Interestingly, there was also a Democrat rally for health care in Green Bay (30 minutes north) today organized by BO's Organizing for America. "Dozens" showed up. The contrast was striking.