The St. Louis Tea Party

Residents of my beloved St. Louis generally are not a protesting lot.  If we had a basketball team, our winning the NBA title would result in nothing more dramatic than a bit of a mess left along the streets after the big game.  Protesting of the sort you see in other cities just isn't done here.  In fact, we don't care for protesters much at all.  Police Chief Mokwa, despite his tribulations, has a permanent place in my personal hall of fame for bringing a good old-fashioned roust down upon troublemakers who came to protest a bio-technology conference.  These same clowns made a terrible mess of west-coast cities destroying windows and the like.  Here, they learned that protesting requires a modicum of respect for property and propriety.  The marched, banged their little plastic buckets and moved on, grumbling but chastened.

I learned of the St. Louis "Tea Party" less than 24 hours before the actual event.  As reticent as St. Louisans are to rabble rousing, conservative residents of River City are orders of magnitude more so. I wrestled with going, and finally decided to go though I failed to create a sign of any type at all, much less anything clever.  Frankly, I was too busy working for a living to whip up anything, the converse of which is a factor that may account for the elaborate nature of the signage on display at your average leftist protest. 

My expectation was to see just a few dozen folk huddled under the legs of the Gateway Arch, our numbers overwhelmed by counter-protesters to shout us down and hog all the media oxygen. To my surprise, there were hundreds in attendance, perhaps as many as fifteen hundred. 

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Many moms were there with their kids, plenty of well-turned business people, but the overwhelming majority were average Janes and Joes there to voice their outrage over the profligate spending in Washington and the implicit expectation that they pick up the tab.

I was further surprised by the lack of a counter-protest.  My original theory was that by scheduling our event before 2:00 PM, your normal disaffected leftist wasn't awake yet.  A trumpeter warbling out "My Country ‘Tis Of Thee" with all the skill of a second-year elementary band member bolstered my theory -- how good of a musician can you get at an event before sunset? 

As people milled about, I noticed something missing (besides the stench of cannabis and body odor).  None of the signs being held aloft contained the sort of vulgarities our friends of the left felt so free to heap upon the Bush administration.  "Hell" is considered a vulgarity by my Aunt JoAnne, but beside this single example, the signs were earnest appeals to the subject at hand -- the unconscionable economic policies passed into law or proposed for the near future.  One protestor had quite a flowchart prepared to make his point, but I suspect it would be lost on your average congressman. "Obama Lied, The Economy Died" may have been my favorite though "Honk if You're Paying My Mortgage" would be a close second.

Other than the "Obama Lied" comment, the signage contrasted with the typical Anti-Bush protest, in that it wasn't focused on convincing the crowd that Obama was evil.  Clueless, wrong, foolish, a socialist -- all these points were being made but not so much his motives or morals.

We conservatives here are passionate, but we have no idea how to protest.  We got a few chants going, but nothing like the sustained, well-practiced show we have come to expect from our counterparts.  Our speakers included state representative Jim Lembke and football great Jackie Smith; however they were insufficiently amplified, relying on a tiny Radio Shack megaphone.  Proper protest chants have to be lead with an industrial strength unit that can shout down a thunderstorm.  We'll have to chip in to get the gear for our next protest.

To put the "tea" into tea party, we moved to the river's edge.  We were cautioned by protest organizer Bill Hennessey (hennessysview.com) to only use loose tea (no tea bags) to "caffeinate the catfish". Two protestors brought instant tea which I found to be thoroughly modern. A tiny Coast Guard boat kept station in the middle of the channel in good position to observe the proceedings.  I don't know if the boat's skipper was there under orders to protect the waterway from litter, or if they were just watching our shenanigans as disinterested observers.

I made a wisecrack to a local media diva about how nice it was to see a protest where everyone was wearing pants, and got a condescending smile.  I have not seen any of the local coverage, so I've no opinion as to how we were treated.  However, even if our little soiree was presented like a Nuremberg rally of heartless rich people, I wouldn't care.  I have to confess to being deeply anxious of late about the economy and the blithe acceptance of Americans by our new socialist masters.  A thick cloud has hung over my head as I glumly pondered the fact that I and my wife were truly the last real conservatives in the whole wide world.  Getting together at the site where Lewis and Clark once trod with hundreds of fellow-travelers was cathartic and encouraging all by itself. I left the rally perked up and in a much-improved mood.  If you were like me, go ahead and take a long lunch hour and go to your local tea-party.  I know all the deadbeats and freeloaders are depending on your hard labor to keep them going in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, but you can always clock out an hour later to make up the difference.  You'll be glad you did.

Tim McNabb is a web developer in St. Louis. He writes at the blog fivehundredwords.com.
Residents of my beloved St. Louis generally are not a protesting lot.  If we had a basketball team, our winning the NBA title would result in nothing more dramatic than a bit of a mess left along the streets after the big game.  Protesting of the sort you see in other cities just isn't done here.  In fact, we don't care for protesters much at all.  Police Chief Mokwa, despite his tribulations, has a permanent place in my personal hall of fame for bringing a good old-fashioned roust down upon troublemakers who came to protest a bio-technology conference.  These same clowns made a terrible mess of west-coast cities destroying windows and the like.  Here, they learned that protesting requires a modicum of respect for property and propriety.  The marched, banged their little plastic buckets and moved on, grumbling but chastened.

I learned of the St. Louis "Tea Party" less than 24 hours before the actual event.  As reticent as St. Louisans are to rabble rousing, conservative residents of River City are orders of magnitude more so. I wrestled with going, and finally decided to go though I failed to create a sign of any type at all, much less anything clever.  Frankly, I was too busy working for a living to whip up anything, the converse of which is a factor that may account for the elaborate nature of the signage on display at your average leftist protest. 

My expectation was to see just a few dozen folk huddled under the legs of the Gateway Arch, our numbers overwhelmed by counter-protesters to shout us down and hog all the media oxygen. To my surprise, there were hundreds in attendance, perhaps as many as fifteen hundred. 

Mouse over the image to reveal slideshow controls



Many moms were there with their kids, plenty of well-turned business people, but the overwhelming majority were average Janes and Joes there to voice their outrage over the profligate spending in Washington and the implicit expectation that they pick up the tab.

I was further surprised by the lack of a counter-protest.  My original theory was that by scheduling our event before 2:00 PM, your normal disaffected leftist wasn't awake yet.  A trumpeter warbling out "My Country ‘Tis Of Thee" with all the skill of a second-year elementary band member bolstered my theory -- how good of a musician can you get at an event before sunset? 

As people milled about, I noticed something missing (besides the stench of cannabis and body odor).  None of the signs being held aloft contained the sort of vulgarities our friends of the left felt so free to heap upon the Bush administration.  "Hell" is considered a vulgarity by my Aunt JoAnne, but beside this single example, the signs were earnest appeals to the subject at hand -- the unconscionable economic policies passed into law or proposed for the near future.  One protestor had quite a flowchart prepared to make his point, but I suspect it would be lost on your average congressman. "Obama Lied, The Economy Died" may have been my favorite though "Honk if You're Paying My Mortgage" would be a close second.

Other than the "Obama Lied" comment, the signage contrasted with the typical Anti-Bush protest, in that it wasn't focused on convincing the crowd that Obama was evil.  Clueless, wrong, foolish, a socialist -- all these points were being made but not so much his motives or morals.

We conservatives here are passionate, but we have no idea how to protest.  We got a few chants going, but nothing like the sustained, well-practiced show we have come to expect from our counterparts.  Our speakers included state representative Jim Lembke and football great Jackie Smith; however they were insufficiently amplified, relying on a tiny Radio Shack megaphone.  Proper protest chants have to be lead with an industrial strength unit that can shout down a thunderstorm.  We'll have to chip in to get the gear for our next protest.

To put the "tea" into tea party, we moved to the river's edge.  We were cautioned by protest organizer Bill Hennessey (hennessysview.com) to only use loose tea (no tea bags) to "caffeinate the catfish". Two protestors brought instant tea which I found to be thoroughly modern. A tiny Coast Guard boat kept station in the middle of the channel in good position to observe the proceedings.  I don't know if the boat's skipper was there under orders to protect the waterway from litter, or if they were just watching our shenanigans as disinterested observers.

I made a wisecrack to a local media diva about how nice it was to see a protest where everyone was wearing pants, and got a condescending smile.  I have not seen any of the local coverage, so I've no opinion as to how we were treated.  However, even if our little soiree was presented like a Nuremberg rally of heartless rich people, I wouldn't care.  I have to confess to being deeply anxious of late about the economy and the blithe acceptance of Americans by our new socialist masters.  A thick cloud has hung over my head as I glumly pondered the fact that I and my wife were truly the last real conservatives in the whole wide world.  Getting together at the site where Lewis and Clark once trod with hundreds of fellow-travelers was cathartic and encouraging all by itself. I left the rally perked up and in a much-improved mood.  If you were like me, go ahead and take a long lunch hour and go to your local tea-party.  I know all the deadbeats and freeloaders are depending on your hard labor to keep them going in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, but you can always clock out an hour later to make up the difference.  You'll be glad you did.

Tim McNabb is a web developer in St. Louis. He writes at the blog fivehundredwords.com.