Thursday, 15 April 2010

Exclusive report and pictures from the "Boston Tea Party rally" with Sarah Palin - April 14, 2010 - UPDATE!

By Blueberry Tart

Blueberry Tart here, a long-time Bostonian reporting to my friends at Palingates from the Teabagger event in Boston. Today was my turn to be the boots on the ground. I have actually been debating about whether to go to the rally for at least a month, and almost chickened out when I couldn’t get any of my friends to join me. But, inspired by those of you who have stood up to protest Sarah Palin at earlier events, I decided today was my turn to take one for the team.

But how? First I thought I might bring a big protest sign with some pithy comment about Sarah and the Teabaggers (sounds like a bad rock band). I also debated about street theater. Finally, I settled on something a little more surreptitious: small posters to put up in various strategic locations near and at Boston Common. Several went on walls and posts along corridors in the subway station at the edge of Boston Common and a few went in the entrances to the parking garage under Boston Common. I even managed to tape one to the Tea Party Express’s table AND to their travelling white board (it’s on a trailer, and people sign their names to it) AND to the Tea Party Express bus! I also put one into the backpack of a woman who was aggressively signing up TP recruits. (TP is a good acronym for what they stand for!) And, I gave a few out to people after talking with them a bit at the event. It was kind of fun to post them in these places, to gain a little visibility for the truth about Sarah.

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 21

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 22

Now to the rally itself. I would guess that there were a few thousand people at the rally, and there were quite a few vendors selling buttons, T-shirts and other items, food, etc. so it made for a festive atmosphere. And it was a beautiful day in Boston – lucky for the organizers! There was a lot of patriotic music and über-patriotic speeches; in fact, most of the speeches and songs were about our troops, how “freedom isn’t free” and about several soldiers who had died. One speaker, Debbie Lee, spoke of her son as “that young man [who] willingly gave his life.” I wondered why this was specifically a TP theme, as I am quite sure that many soldiers, including those who have given their lives, are not or were not tea-bag types. Someone said something along the lines of “they say you are racist, angry and violent; that’s why I love you.” Another speaker talked about how his parents had earned the money that he is apparently living off, and how “his parents worked too hard to have the government take it away – they will have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” I couldn’t help but think that maybe he should have to work for a living himself rather than live off what his parents earned. One line (Sarah will say this next week) was “if you can read this bumper sticker, thank a teacher; if you can read this bumper sticker in English, thank the armed services.” Huh?

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 20

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 19

There were lots of “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, again co-opting a symbol of the American Revolution.

Amazingly enough, the setup of the stage and the huge number of media covering the event made it almost impossible for people in the crowd to actually see the speakers. (I’ve been at quite a few rallies at that same location over the years, and though this one was one of the smaller ones I’ve attended, it had by far the most press coverage – many, many media trucks lined up.

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 18

There was a VIP area right in front, then a platform with wall-to-wall press, so they blocked the view for many people in the crowd. And, in a technical glitch that may be a tangible sign of a merciful god, the sound during Sarah’s speech was terrible! Even though I had no trouble hearing the other speakers, she was often unintelligible – not just because of the usual gibberish, but because of the poor sound. Maybe there was a dead spot where I was standing at that time – right in the center in front of the stage, about 6-7 rows of people back...I can’t imagine how they could have their featured speaker sound so garbled. (Oh wait, what am I saying ;-)) Her speech was actually pretty short – maybe 20 minutes? Sounded like the usual pandering to the local scene (great sports tradition of the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox yada yada), talking points about needing less government bureaucracy and more competiton, etc. At that point a helicopter flew over, drowning out part of her speech. Divine intervention, perhaps.

The crowd was almost all white. I walked around to all areas, and I actually only saw two black guys in the rally crowd itself. I found my way through the crowd to stand next to one of them, and after a few minutes I whispered to him, “do you support Sarah Palin and the teabaggers?” and he said “Not at all; I am here because I have been seeing news stories about them and I wanted to see for myself what this is all about.” Interestingly, he said that without knowing if I was a teabagger or not. While I was standing next to him, I thought the people to my left, a man and his teenaged son, were teabaggers. However, when Sarah Palin said something like “they are speaking down to us,” the man made a snarky comment about not being able to go lower than Palin, and his son became quite talkative about what an idiot he thought she was. I gave him one of my flyers (the detailed one), so he may visit Palingates – if so, hi again, and welcome! His father also made a comment about how her God was apparently on the side of “old Christian male white people.”

The crowd did have some diversity in other respects. There were quite a few women (maybe 2/3 men to 1/3 women) and also a fair number of younger folks – some teenagers, 20s, quite a few in their 30s and 40s. My guesstimate would be 60% with gray-white hair, 40% not. My totally subjective guess as to demographics is 90% suburban, mostly middle class, some upper middle.

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 17

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 16

There were quite a few counter-protesters, some of whom were together and others who did not seem to belong to any group, but nevertheless had come with signs saying what they thought of Sarah or the teabaggers or both. I took photos of some of these folks, and thanked them all for showing up and taking a public stand. I mingled in the crowd and heard some interesting conversations – clearly there were quite a few folks who were “infiltrating” the rally trying to engage the baggers in conversation. There were a few respectful debates, so that seemed good. I listened to one conversation where the bagger constantly responded to the other person’s questions with another question. The only nasty exchange I saw was when one of the men staffing the Tea Party Express table started yelling at a man about not taking away his Constitutional rights. He was very agitated, to the point where one of the others behind the table had to calm him down. The other man never raised his voice and could barely get a word in edgewise. He was so obnoxious that I decided to tape one of my Sarah flyers to his table (it was still there about 20 minutes later, but was torn off by the time I left the rally later).

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 15

This is the agitated teabagger.

Here are some photos of counter-protesters at the rally – kudos to them for having the courage to do this and hats off for many of the great signs:

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 14

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 13

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 12

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 11

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 10

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 9

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 8

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 7

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 6

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 5

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 4

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 3

Sarah Palin - Boston Tea Party April 14 - 2010 - pic 2

I think the woman holding the sign in this last photo may be a Palingater…


UPDATE (by Patrick):

Please see our previous post for more pictures of anti-Palin protestors with very funny signs at the Tea Party Express rally in Boston!

More hilarious new pictures from Boston in another collection HERE.

Many reader asked for a copy of the flyer that our poster "Blueberry Tart" handed out at the Tea Party rally. Our poster was very happy to send us the PDF copy, and I made it available for download HERE. It is an excellent flyer and you are all welcome to use it. Maybe you have ideas for improvements, which we would be happy to publish.

Please also have a look at this excellent article in the Daily Kos with great pictures discussing the number of attendees that turned up at the "Tea Party Express" rally in Boston. 10,000 people were "expected", and just about 1,000-3,000 actually attended the rally.

Another fun story about Boston: "The Tea Party Prank: How I Got My Butt Kicked (Literally), Just a Few Feet Away From Sarah Palin" (h/t austintxx)


UPDATE 2 (by Patrick):

I think Keith Olbermann spoke for many us when he twittered yesterday:

Keith Olbermann - Sarah Palin tweet Boston Tea Party Rally

UPDATE 3 (by Patrick):

Obama supporters ("the other 95%) crash Tea Party rally in Washington DC today. Read the story on Huffington Post.

You can join them: Website of "the other 95%"



Meanwhile, there are great news from Austin, Texas:

Last year: 5,000 people demonstrated there for the Tea Party.

This year: The incredible amount of 200 people!

Still enough reason for the media to report about it: Check out this local NBC news report.


More news: What was going on in Oklahoma today? Well, the media hype is everywhere - here is an even more "agitated" TV news report. They say that last year also 5,000 people attended the rally in Oklahoma City - and this year? The TV news report doesn't mention it, but what I found on the internet were estimates between 500 to 1,000 people, and it surely looked liked that.

There is more: The Oklahoma Tea Party plans to form their own milita! See another very informative post HERE.

What could possibly go wrong with this plan...?


In addition, Fox News and Sean Hannity discover the pitfalls of a "for-profit" Tea Party movement:

"Fox News has canceled Sean Hannity’s plans for a live Tea Party show in Cincinnati tonight after officials found out that their primetime talent was being used to sell tickets. Hannity has been hosting his show from various tea party rallies across the country lately in front of a live audience, but today his program was ordered to return to New York.

Apparently, Fox News officials were not notified that Hannity’s image would be used for profit. Not only were ticket prices determined relative to distance from Hannity himself, Hannity’s name was used to promote the rally, set at the University of Cincinnati."

(h/t honestyingov)

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