Sunday, April 4, 2010
Big Poppa takes time for Tea (Party)
Make a Hole, Make it Wide"
Big Poppa was looking for a way to get out of some much needed yard work and took up the invite to visit a Tea Party rally held here in Pittsburgh.
Why you ask? Simple answer, Big Poppa wanted to see if the hype we see on TV is the same live. See what crazies lurk around the crowd? Would there be any Harry Reid pinatas in the crowd as there were in Searchlight, Nevada? Any posters of President Obama dressed as Hitler as we see on all the major news outlets? So Big Poppa waddled on down to the North Shore of Pittsburgh to take a peek for himself.
Now, I was actually concerned about the attendance of the Tea Party rally for the facts of: 1) It was to be the final regular season NHL game @ Mellon Arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2) the Final Four was to be played, 3) it was Easter weekend and how many people travel, 4) the clear sky 80 degree day, and 5) how little advertised the rally was to the casual observer, how much would this affect attendance?
The last fact was the more concern for Big Poppa. For the casual political observer, they would never have known of such a scheduled rally, unless they visited www.pennsylvaniateaparty.org. Now if you were a Tea Party member, I'm sure you would have gotten a notice of some sort.
As I ventured to the rally, Big Poppa made sure he parked his car away from others just for the fact of sticker on the back window read "OBXAMA" and waddled across the street. There I met Michele Urbenz, a very nice lady from Euclid, Ohio. Ms. Urbenz travels too many Tea Party rallies, selling the many buttons featuring Glenn Beck (dressed in military garb), Obama/Pelosi/Reid depicted as the 3 Stooges, and the bright yellow flags addressed "Don't Tread On Me." Being from Pittsburgh, I had to tease her about living near Cleveland, but enjoyed listening to her talk about the many rallies she has attended
Leaving Ms. Urbenz, I walked along the dark shadow of the Alcoa building to enter Allegheny Landing and hit by the beautiful skyline of Pittsburgh and the warmth of the sun. A barbershop quartet was singing patriotic songs and people were gathering along the grass and the shoreline trail. I could see the speakers prepping their speeches and vendors setting up their stands. There was about 150 people in attendance, although Channel 11, a local news station, stated less then 100 attended
The signs were not as harsh in wording as depicted by the cable media, the expected venom to be spewed was nothing but a mere whisper as I passed the scattered groups of people. Some looked upon me skeptically as I carried my camera and notepad, but I took it as a gaze of the awesomeness that is Big Poppa. I listened to some of their conversations, some talked about how the Amish are not part of Obamacare, someone mentioned the reason "someone" set up a private army, vote for so-so because they believe in us, why are we listening to these hippies nowadys tell us what to do, and etc. Yes someone was talking about Hippies running our Federal government.
Cascading through the vendors of State $ Local Republican candidates, I received much literature from groups like the 912 Project, 2ND Amendment Rights, other rallies happening over the next few months, Biblical Quotes found at the PA State Capital, amongst others. I found one vendor that caught my interest, called America's Future Foundation.
AFF is new in the Pittsburgh area, however, according to their literature they "invest in the next generation of principled leaders ho will promote and defend free markets, limited government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility." Promotion on one piece of literature talk about a networking event for conservatives in Pennsylvania. Even had a business card with Thomas Jefferson on it. We spoke briefly on how Texas plans on rewriting history books by making Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers, a mere footnote, and pushing to add more prominent Republican/Conservative figures into the books. Now Big Poppa thinks the likes of Newt Gingrich is note able in our history, but not that worthy enough to push Thomas Jefferson to mere footnote status. Also on how taxpayer money will be used to pay for the new books, not just in Texas but possibly in the entire US. Currently Texas is the #2 schoolbook buyer and what happens in Texas education happens everywhere else in the US.
I was a little discouraged that many did not remove their hats as the barbershop quartet sang the National Anthem and everyone patriotcally spoke the Pledge of Allegeince. I always was told it was unpatriotic if you didn't remove your hat.
As the speakers started, I noticed the crowd becoming closer on the "grassy knoll" of Allegheny Landing. Talk of "last year we were complacent, this year we say join a group and fight" were said within the first 2 minutes of the first speech. Cap & Trade was lampooned, but no mention of the current talk between Republicans and President Obama on Oil Drilling and Nuclear Energy.
The next speaker talked of how the Christan Community bought into President Obama's lies and that now they should "Put Hope in God and Change the President." Agreement with Rush Limbaugh that "he hopes President Obama fails," and wished that the Federal government had invested more in investigating mosques for jihadist cells and not in the Michigan Militia.
A anti-Health Care speaker rose to the podium and spoke of the 13 states that planned to sue the Federal government, and how dare Henry Waxman (D-Cal) call upon corporate CEO's to testify before Congress about the claimed revenue loss due to Obamacare, and (for some odd reason) attacked PA Rep Jason Altmire for not being forthright and letting people know his vote intention immediately but for waiting till the 11Th hour to declare. Big Poppa was a little confused on the Rep Altmire attack, only because Rep Altmire voted both times against Obamacare, both time for not being clear on control cost and deficit reduction.
By this time, the crowd was getting their mood on and being a little more verbal in response to each speaker. A local 2ND Amendment advocate, Kim Stofler got the best crowd response of the day. Big Poppa's 2ND Amendment view is simple, if there are 180 gun laws on the books, then they should be enforced. Adding a new law does nothing if not enforced, to which Mr. Stofler and I have agreement on, as he wishes that if you add a new gun law, then that means there was a similar law that didn't work and should be repealed.
However, as Big Poppa waddled through to take photos, I heard the same talking points in the crowd, heard some people repeat a current poll figure by saying "well the poll stated 43%..." Here's Big Poppa's view of polls, they are a joke and nothing but a mere talking point to make one feel better of their view. If you poll 100 people in Oshkosh Wisconsin, those 100 people do not have the same feeling as those in Savannah Georgia.
I talked to many people in attendance. Some asked me why I was carrying a notepad and taking photos. I explained about my blog and how I wanted to experience for myself a Tea Party rally and could compare to what I see/hear on the news. Many were pleased about that and happily smiled for photos, holding their homemade sign high, asking me for the blog site and title. I was asked how I felt about the rally, I can simply say "well with such low attendance, the crowd was very civil, I was expecting more people and some rowdiness. But it only takes one person to start a wave at a football game, and it only takes one person to get a crowd into an uproar," to which the person shoke their head in agreement.
To those that attended, if it matters, I thank you for your hospitality and kindness. Many of you happily displayed your signs and shook my hand, questioned me with respect and respected my answers and vice verse. When I asked one supporter "So many people take the Tea Party as Republican brand only, yet there are many disenfranchised Democrats out there looking for a place, why hasn't the Tea Party brought them in?" I received little indication of such a bold move, as if it was sacred ground not to step over. I expected talking points from the speakers, but I only saw a diminished few drinking Kool Aid. Had there been better organization, had it been a different weekend possibly, had maybe some of the speakers been more prepared and gave more credence to talking points, the crowd may have been larger and more vocal.
With April 15TH Tax Day soon arriving, many talked of the bigger rally to be held in Pittsburgh, as many will be held across the USA. If you wish to attend the next rally in Pittsburgh, I will direct you to visit www.pennsylvaniateaparty.org to see where they may be meeting before the rally starts.
Peanut bowl is empty and the beer mug has gone dry. Please pay the political tab.
Posted by todd kelly at 10:02 AM