I thought maybe I'd add a little of my thoughts regarding the recent "tea parties" the other day.
The events were on April 15th - to coincide with Tax day. I believe it was only around the 13th that I had heard anything about these tea parties. I was surfing the channels and stopped in to see what Fox "news" was talking about and that's when I learned about them. So the next day, I emailed my conservative buddy to ask him what the story was behind the events. From my web surfing, it sounded like Glenn Beck had a lot to do with promoting the event(s). My buddy is a big Beck fan. My first question was: Is this a republican/conservative thing or is it for everyone? He replied it was for anyone. So I started looking further into the events. I thought it odd, that I kinda have a finger on the pulse of politics, I've got my internet sources, I watch the news channels a little each day, yet I had not heard anything about these tea parties. As I dug further, I kept seeing that the only people talking about these events were the right wing media. People like Glenn Beck, The entire FOX talking heads line-up really, and the right wing blogger Michelle Malkin. I could not find one "left wing" or even "middle wing" group talking about the events. I started to think perhaps my friend was not being totally up front with me. I questioned him on this... his reply was something like "well, anyone is allowed to attend". Okay, I get it now. I thought of the analogy, that it's like a Christian Easter celebration... sure anyone is "allowed" to attend, but since the message is about the resurrection, chances are that you're not going to get many Jewish or Muslim folks showing up.
On the day of the event, I was skimming the web for news updates. A lot of photos I saw that showed a large crowd with banners and signs and T-shirts had some slogans that were anti-obama. Yet, I was still hearing claims on Fox that this was a "bi-partisan" event.
I watched the coverage on TV when I got home on Fox, and noted some of the "personalities" that were speaking at the events... the entire fox news commentators were scattered around the the different cities. Then there were guys like "Tim Rich" who is a country western singer, who I can only assume is a Rep/Con because he was friends with Hannity. There was former Rep Presidential candidate "Mike Huckabee" sitting next to "Neil Boortz" and they were promoting the "fair tax" issue. At another city was Newt Gingrich. My point here again, I didn't see any "middle of the road" personalities, and I certainly didn't see any Left wing speakers.
The reason I bring all this up - to be clear, I'm not against some of the messages (of which there were a lot of topics), I'm certainly not against the idea of people gathering to protest something they believe in! What interests me (and scares me a little) was how this event came about. Here you have the Fox news organization who were doing a tricky dance and carefully choosing their words... they made it a point to say they were not "promoting" the event, they were just "covering" the event because it was news worthy. But the genius of that, was that it was a self fulfilling prophecy - in that, it only became news worthy when the news covered it :) I really give them credit for thinking like this. It was a brilliant way to "manipulate" a bunch of people into believing this was a "grass roots" event. Yes, I know, there is a certain element of this that WAS grass roots. But the websites put up to organize the event were Republican/Conservative groups, then the fox news promoting it as newsworthy, was the perfect formula to get people to show up.
One final comment, cause this is MUCH longer than I anticipated.
I found the message and the timing of this event rather... ironic (I think that's the correct word).
For 8 years, we were under a republican president who has set several records on the amount of spending that he has done, the amount of debt that he caused the country to fall into, the initial bailout plan, the growth of government, etc... all the things that I would have thought would raise the ire of the Rep/Conservative members. But not once did they "demonstrate". Then... you have a Democratic President elected into office who cut the taxes on 95% of the American public (including MANY of the protestors), and yet the demonstrators were full of angry signs against Obama. I'd love to see a statistic to see how many of those demonstrators voted for McCain where they would of had higher taxes. Yep, I think Irony is the right word.
Perhaps Jon Stewart sums it up in his typical way...
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Nationwide Tax Protests|