The Good News: Fort Worth's Tax Protest Tea Party at LaGrave Field was packed. I would estimate the attendance at 4-5,000. I'm going to throw in pictures and YouTube videos as friends send them to me.
The Bad News: The protest was sponsored by Tarrant County Republicans. They're all for the government spending money like drunk cowboys for eight years, just as long as no one is taxed to pay for it.
The Good News: There were a lot of libertarians, Ron Paul devotees, some open-minded 9-12ers, and Campaign For Liberty people in attendance.
The Bad News: The early speakers, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, couldn't inspire a two year old to go to the potty. (Update from Thursday morning. The link is to a Salon.com video from the Austin TX tea party.)
The Good News: Two of the later speakers, a private businessman and a kid from Grapevine High School, came armed with plenty of red meat rhetoric, and delivered it well. Even when I disagreed with the message, I enjoyed the delivery.
The Bad News: There is enough outrage over the current spending levels that there might be a huge Republican revival as early as 2010. But I can't see the point in going back to the greater of two lessers. It's not going to make any difference whether Mommy or Daddy is driving the car if neither one of them is going to change the direction they're taking us.
The Good News: John Spivey (the Big Daddy of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party), Michael Coyne and I took the Tarrant County Libertarian Outreach And Propaganda Ministry to The Tea Party and gave away almost all our literature. DVD's, pamphlets, old newspapers and fliers. If we'd had "Bob Barr For President '08" bumperstickers, they'd be gone. People are sick of the mess in Washington.
The signs in the crowd were great, and I'll be downloading pics as friends send them to me. Some of my favorites:
"Haste, Waste, and Fear" - that's not an economic plan
"Next Time, Read The Bill !"
"Congress, Get Off The Kool Aid"
"Brother, can you spare a trillion?"
"Save The Golden Goose"
"These Colors Don't Bow" (heh heh heh)
"Don't Tax Me, Bro !!"
"It's the debt, stupid"
"I don't know, Beavis....Do you feel stimulated?"
"You can't tax stupid, but next time you can vote 'em out !"
And of course there were lots of eight year olds running around with signs stating their portion of the national debt.
As a protest against the levels of taxation, this event was a 6 or 7. As a forum for ideas about reducing spending, it was a 2 or 3. As an attempt to deny any Republican guilt for the current debt level, it was an 8. If you spend it, you should pay for it. The Republicans have spent it.
Having attended both Fort Worth tea parties, I think the earlier, smaller one was the better protest. The first one was held outside a local bar, and could be seen by passing traffic. Unless I'm mistaken, it was hastily organized by members of the country-rock group that was playing outside. And it let people outside the anti-tax movement see our frustration. You couldn't go down Camp Bowie or Hwy 183 without noticing us and paying attention.
This thing tonight was a right-wing echo chamber. The "protest" was far removed from any passing traffic, and I couldn't help wondering how much smaller the event would've been if it had been held, say, outside the Dallas Fed, or near the Fort Worth Mint, where there might be some onery passersby loudly disagreeing with The Republican Gospel.
Speaking of the gospel.... a few of the speakers accused Obama and the Dems of trying to take away their right to pray in government buildings or in schools or in government subsidized nursing homes. Let me say this very slowly.... If there is such a being as the Christian God, a being who knows everything, and is conscious of your every thought, you don't have to stand up and show off and pontificate in order to pray. You can merely "think" your prayer to God, and God will get the message, right?
This is from Matthew 6:5-6: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Get it? Get it? That's Jesus talking. That's how and where you're supposed to pray. End of story. Everything else is showing off.
I don't know why the anti-tax and spend issue has to be linked to the oogedy-boogedy wing of the Republican Party.
I got to meet a kid named Race who helps run the right-leaning libertarian Blogs Of Our Fathers website. These kids will be heard from. (They need to somehow reconcile their stated purpose of protecting individual liberties with their advocacy of States Rights To Protect Marriage. But hey, they're all very young.)
One other observation. LaGrave Field is a semi-pro ball park with plenty of parking. Parking was only $5.00 inside the fence. But an overhead photo of the event would show a small ring of vehicles near the ballpark, surrounded by a vast ring of empty $5.00 parking spaces. Just outside the fence was a huge ring of people who parked on the street for free.
Real tax protesters don't pay to park.