I decided to go to the Tea Party rally not to hear the event’s headliner, Sarah Palin, or for that matter, any of the speakers. I already knew the talking points: Lower taxes, reduce spending and the size of government, and repeal the recently passed health care bill. I went to see the people who attended the event. I wanted to know their thoughts and, better yet, see the signs they carried.
“When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name.”
OK, so it wasn’t a garden party. It was the Tea Party gathering on Boston Common, and no one knew who I was.
I’m not a frequent visitor to Boston, but with unbridled enthusiasm, I made the trek to the common on foot. About three-quarters of a mile in, I realized I was headed wrong direction, prompting a better-late-than-never about face.
As I navigated my way through the mean streets of Bean Town, a gentleman, bedecked in a T-shirt urging people to “Vote Perot,” walked past me. I knew I was on the right path.
I decided to go to the Tea Party rally not to hear the event’s headliner, Sarah Palin, or for that matter, any of the speakers. I already knew the talking points: Lower taxes, reduce spending and the size of government, and repeal the recently passed health care bill.
That’s not to say I disagree with their issues. Uncle Sam has been spending money like a drunken sailor on payday for the past decade. Tea Partiers and conservatives in general are largely opposed to the cost of the health care bill and bailouts. But let’s be honest, George “Dubya” Bush never saw a spending bill he didn’t like during his two terms, and it’s pretty much a given that Barack Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress would (and have), continue to spend taxpayers’ hard-earned dineros with no thought to the long-term consequences.
But I digress.
I went to see the people who attended the event. I wanted to know their thoughts and, better yet, see the signs they carried.
One gentleman, who is likely still looking for work as a comedy writer, waved a sign proclaiming his membership in the Nut Tea Party. Get it? The Nutty Party? I don’t think Jay, Dave or Conan will be calling him anytime soon.
Amongst the crowd was George McKay of Winchester, Mass., who stood alone listening to the speakers. He held a pair of signs that might have been leftover from Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate campaign: “We need more People’s Seats.”
Asked if he was offended by Brown’s support of a Democratic jobs bill as some Tea Party supporters were, McKay said he was not, saying he thought Brown should be working for the taxpayers. But it came with a warning for politicians in general.
“We vote them in. We can vote them out,” he said.
Mary, from Boston, and Mark, from Bridgewater, Mass., were pretty specific with their signage. Mark, according to his sign, equated Palin and the Tea Party with racism, sexism and anti-gay thuggery.
Mary’s sign proclaimed, “Homophobia is not a moral value.”
Her sole reason for being there? Mary “really, really dislikes Palin” and didn’t want her in Boston. Massachusetts, she said, was the bluest of blue states and a conservative like Palin should not be here.
Asked if a liberal like Sen. John Kerry should visit a state such as Colorado, her reply was simple.
“Obama won there,” she said.
True enough, Obama did win Colorado. But she still didn’t answer my question.
Apparently, the freedom to travel applies only to one party.
Does dead-eye Palin know about this?
The best sign? “I like Ham.” I have no idea what it meant, but I liked it.
But the beauty of the party held on the Boston Common was this: No matter what opinion a person held, he or she was welcome to express it on the common just days before the commonwealth celebrated Patriots Day, the original tea partiers.
It was their difference of opinion on taxes, freedom of expression and much more that led to the succession of America’s 13 original colonies from England. Whether you like the Tea Party or not, where would we be without the patriots that led the way?
Bruce Coulter is the editor of the Burlington Union in Burlington, Mass., and a retired, disabled veteran. He may be reached at 978-371-5775, or by e-mail at email@example.com.