Politics: April 2009 Archives

Tea Party notes

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I didn't make it to any of the Tulsa Tea Parties. I had a quick lunch so I could get home in time to have a nice dinner out with my wife on her birthday -- just the two of us. (We went to Bangkok at 33rd and Harvard. It's a Thai buffet. Wonderful, spicy, tasty food and a wide variety of choices. No MSG, everything is clearly labeled, they put small portions of each dish out at a time so it stays fresh.)

Here are reports from the various Tea Parties around Oklahoma, Tulsa first and in chronological order:

Chris Medlock on the 11-1 downtown event with talk radio host John Gibson (with photos):

Reasonable estimates for the event place the peak attendance at between 750 to 1000.

Chris has also posted a Washington Post graphic that explains at a glance why Obama's budget has engendered so much more grassroots unrest than Bush's budgets.

KFAQ's website has photos of the downtown event. Bland Bridenstine has more photos here, including photos of the 5 - 7 pm event at Veterans Park.

The Tulsa Tea Party blog has a thorough report with photos.

Joe Kelley on the 12-2 LaFortune Park event with Congressman John Sullivan (with video):

The Tulsa Police put the crowd size at 3200 and a petition that was passed gathered in excess of 3000 signatures.

Joe Kelley has also posted some helpful links about the Tea Party movement and resources for taking further constructive action, including the After the Tea Party website.

Here's Jenn Sierra's report and photos of the Veterans' Park event.

Muskogee Politico says there were 220 at that city's event (video and photos to come).

Tyson Wynn has audio of the Claremore rally (and explains the cool way he was able to post it live using his iPhone).

The Red Dirt Reporter was at the State Capitol for the Oklahoma City event:

Well over 5,000 people crowded onto the south plaza of the Oklahoma State Capitol Wednesday, taking part in the Tax Day Tea Party movement that has swept America, with 2,500 Tea Parties reportedly taking place nationwide.

This grassroots gathering was amazing in that it drew people from all walks of life and political backgrounds. All agreed that the federal government has taken things too far in regards to taxing the American people and bailing out Wall Street and the banks.

NewsOK.com has video and photos and quotes an Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimate of between 4,000 and 5,000. (Via dustbury.com.)

Kick the Anthill has more photos of the Oklahoma City event. Videos are here on the OKC Tea Party website.

RELATED: Randy Brogdon, who may have been the only prospective candidate for Governor at any of the Tea Parties, succeeded in raising $15,000 in a single day today for his exploratory committee.

MORE: CNN reporter Susan Roesgen drops any pretense of objectivity in her coverage of the Chicago Tea Party. Michelle Malkin compares Roesgen's reporting today to Roesgen's coverage of an anti-Bush rally.

And to those who claim that Tea Party-goers are just out to attack Democrats, Michelle Malkin reports that the Sacramento Tea Party organizer acknowledged the California GOP chairman, who was present at the event, then denounced him for "waffling on massive tax hike ballot measures."

Will this make the MSM coverage? It doesn't fit the narrative. But it's yet another demonstration that this movement is not partisan and equal opportunity when it comes to holding politicians' feet to the fire for fiscal irresponsibility and fecklessness.

As one of his assignments for his homeschooling program, Classical Conversations, my son Joseph wrote a biographical essay about Samuel Adams. I learned many new facts from it, and on Tax Day, on Tea Party Day, I thought it deserved a wider audience. So, without further ado, meet "the most dangerous man in Massachusetts," the original rabble-rousing, naysaying tax protester.

As we begin, it's April 18, 1775, and a battalion of around 700 British soldiers are marching to Lexington to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock:

"I have a bad feeling about this, Crumshaw. Sending a whole battalion to capture two rebel leaders in Lexington--what was the Colonel thinking? The rebels are bound to notice something's up."

"Ah, James, you worry too much. Besides how are they going to alert those two rebels we're coming when they would have to pass by us, and we haven't seen a single horseman all night, not even not even so much as a coach. I still don't understand what all this 'most dangerous man in Massachusetts' rubbish is all about. How dangerous can a single politician be?" As the two men were talking a shout came from the front of the line, "Ah! What was that?!" It was Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith. He had heard a noise in the brush on the side of the road. Suddenly a large group of men jumped out of their hiding places on either side of the road.

"We're under attack, sir. A bunch of rebel farmers, we should be able to take them!" Then there was a gunshot. "I didn't ask for your opinion! Just the facts, now FIRE!"

Not many people have heard of Samuel Adams, let alone the fact that he was the one that instigated the Boston Tea Party. He was also called by many important revolutionary figures the father of the American Revolution. He preferred not to be recognized by people for his works, in fact preferred to let others take credit for his actions.

Samuel Adams was one of the most influential yet forgotten figures of the revolutionary war. He was born at noon on Sunday, September 27, 1722, to Samuel "Deacon" Adams and Mary Fifield Adams as their tenth child. His father, who was deeply involved in politics, started the Caucus Club when Sam was a young boy of three or four, and Sam would sit and listen to the men talk about politics. His father, as his nickname implies, was an accomplished clergyman. Sam also found church engaging. His favorite part of the three to four hour service was the singing. He had a fair voice, and he found the simple hymns engaging. At the age of four or five he was sent off to a "dame school" where he was taught the basics of reading writing and arithmetic. At the age of seven he attended the Boston Latin School and completed his primary education.

At the age of fourteen he left to study theology at Harvard University. Their days began at 5 am. Breakfast at 6 was bread and ale. Lunch was the same, and the only thing that was any different about dinner was that the boys were allowed meat. Saturdays were spent studying theology and Sundays were spent attending church services. Some of the subjects Sam studied were Latin, Greek, Hebrew, philosophy, natural philosophy, writing and speaking.

During this time Samuel was greatly influenced by the writings of John Locke. According to Locke's writing, all men were born with natural rights like "life, health, liberty, or possessions." The government was there to protect these rights for the people. So enthralled by the political theory of Locke and others, Adams wrote his master's thesis on "whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot otherwise be preserved." Sam graduated with a Master of Arts degree.

Sam Adams was not what you would call a tenacious employee. Oh, he was a tenacious person, but he preferred to spend his work hours discussing local and national politics with his fellow workers. Rather than employing his own son as was custom, Deacon Adams had Samuel hired at Thomas Cushing's counting house. The one thing Sam liked about working there was the one hour lunch break. He would spend it in the local pub or tavern trying to talk political sense into some stubborn farmer who cared about nothing but his crop. The downside to this was that even though Sam was able to do what he liked best, discuss politics, he always managed to get back to work at least half an hour late. The owner was soon forced to fire Sam. Sam was not angry nor did he beg for second chances. In fact he was almost happy that he was out of a job. After this, Sam's father gave him $2000 to start a new business. he ended up lending half of it to a friend who never paid it back and he spent the other half on this and that and once again he was broke. In a way, Sam's financial downfall led to him meeting one of his closest and richest friends. John Hancock was of the same mind as Sam and even helped fund the Boston Tea Party.

Sam was a politician so naturally he objected to the Townsend Acts, and he opposed every other tax no matter how small. He did not oppose the taxes because they made things expensive -- the tea tax was so inexpensive that it made British tea half as expensive as the smuggled Dutch tea -- he opposed them because they were a symbol of Parliament's ability to tax them without the colonies having any say in it. He knew it was only a matter of time before they used their power over the colonies to tax them as much as they wanted -- not just one or two taxes but if this continued everything would be taxed and outrageously so. Slowly but surely, he gathered followers who agreed with him, and formed an organization called the Sons of Liberty. They gathered under an old elm called the Liberty Tree and held meetings and protests. At some of the protests they burned effigies of important British statesmen and sometimes they even raided stamp officials homes. Sam even organized the Sons of Liberty to throw the tea from three British ships into the bay.

Another way he protested the British taxes was to write pseudonymous letters to dominant American newspapers, calling for independence. He was such an influential figure of the revolution that he was called by Parliament "the most dangerous man in Massachusetts" and by the colonists, "the Grand Incendiary." Not many people are aware of this, but Samuel Adams was one of the triggers of the battle of Lexington. The British troops marched on Lexington in an attempt to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock. Luckily Paul revere rode to warn them and they escaped. John Hancock wanted to stay but Sam managed persuade him that they were not warriors but writers and politicians.

In 1776 Sam was elected to the 2nd Continental Congress. As soon as his friends found out they cornered him and forced him to be measured for a new suit replace his extremely shabby raiment. He was one of the first men to sign the Declaration, and he was also one of the drafters of the Articles of Confederation which governed the US until the Constitution was written. He went on to become governor of Massachusetts after John Hancock and also drafted the Massachusetts Constitution. He died in 1803 at the ripe old age of 81. After his death he slowly faded into the shadows, the forgotten father of the revolution.

Again, no time to comment much, just to note the situation.

Tulsa has three Taxpayer Tea Party events scheduled for April 15:

  • Civic Center Plaza, 5th and Denver, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • LaFortune Stadium, on Hudson north of 61st St., between 12 noon and 2 p.m.
  • Veterans' Park, 18th and Boulder, between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

From the tulsateaparty.org press release:

A group of citizens in Tulsa, OK, the Tulsa Tea Party, are organizing two Tax Day TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party protest rallies on Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, the day tax returns are to be mailed, in the downtown Tulsa area....

The TEA Party is part of a national movement formed to protest the spending of trillions of dollars, which will leave our great-grandchildren a debt they must pay, and to restore the basic free market principals upon which our country was founded. This is a grassroots, collaborative volunteer organization made up of everyday American citizens. This is not about Democrats and Republicans. It's about the defending the Constitution and loving America.

Tax day rallies are being held in over a thousand cities across the nation and are being promoted by Americans for Prosperity, American Family Association, 912 Project and several national radio and television programs, among others.

While the multiple events at different times and locales will allow more people to participate, there's also some talk radio tug-of-war going on as KFAQ hosts are emceeing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park tea parties, and KRMG is promoting the LaFortune Stadium tea party.

Chris Medlock, who "no longer [has] a dog in this fight," has an interesting analysis of the Tulsa Tea Party situation (and a great graphic -- rockem-sockem radio stations) and how it could work in the protest movement's favor. The post has already generated 17 comments, including one from "joe.kelley," although I have trouble believing it was really written by the KRMG morning host -- the tone is way out of character.

Jai Blevins, who organized the February Tea Party at Veterans' Park and is organizing the Civic Center and Veterans' Park events for next Wednesday, seems to have found the whole experience eye-opening.

I've been around grassroots organizing for a long time -- neighborhood organizations, political parties, campaigns, and other causes. I've seen many people like Jai, who get passionate about an issue, get motivated, and seemingly come out of nowhere to get something going. We need people like Jai, who haven't yet become worn down, jaded, and cynical, who still believe that it's possible to make a difference.

These freshly-minted grassroots leaders often learn, to their shock and displeasure, that the biggest challenge to their movement's success may not be from outside opposition but from internal dissension, as some people seek to use the movement to promote their own agenda. Sometimes that agenda is hidden, sometimes it's right out in the open -- as it is with the radio stations and their understandable desire to use the tax party movement to promote their own business prospects.

But from the perspective of someone like Jai Blevins, this isn't a time to jockey for advantage, but a national emergency that demands patriotic cooperation from people who might otherwise be at odds. To call him a whiner or to say that he's insincere and doesn't believe in free-market competition is to misunderstand his motives.

Eventually, an activist learns how to deal with individuals and companies that are trying to use his movement. He learns to use them to promote his movement's agenda. They achieve a kind of symbiosis, but there's an understanding that the relationship is one of convenience, not permanent and grounded in principle. In the process of coming to terms with that reality, you lose some of your idealism.

Like Chris, I don't have a dog in this fight either. I haven't been invited on either station for months, and I don't expect that I'll ever be invited on either one again. I hope all three events draw big, enthusiastic crowds and get plenty of media coverage.

As for which one I'm attending -- it's also my wife's birthday, so I doubt I'll be able to get to any of them.

MORE: American Majority, which provides training for prospective political candidates and activists, is offering to help you learn how to make an ongoing difference after the tea parties are over.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from April 2009.

Politics: March 2009 is the previous archive.

Politics: May 2009 is the next archive.

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