Yes, I went. It was cold and windy and I wasn't dressed for it. But, I enjoyed myself anyway and saw lots of folks I knew. That said, I thought Lowell Sun reporter Lyle Moran's estimate of 100 was high♠ But, for a State with so many neo-liberals, it wasn't a bad turnout and it was an enthusiastic crowd.
Someone asked me about how many tea bags were hanging from hats at the event. The fact is, the tea bag has gone out of vogue and been replaced by the tea pot. The tea pot can be seen in the banner for the Greater Lowell Tea Party (we have quite an artist in the group).
And, some who seek to denigrate the Tea Party movement tend to us the "tea bag" term in ways suggesting disreputable things. And, since the fracus in Madison, Wisconsin, the new term is "flee bags", for those Democratic Party members of the State Legislature who fled to Rockford, Illinois, rather than be present and argue their points and then vote.
Here is a patriotic "Tea Pot" pin. The woman wearing it said her husband saw it and bought it for her. A very nice piece of jewelry for providing an opportunity to talk about the Tea Party movement. And, it would be appropriate to note that there is not monolithic "Tea Party", but rather a collection of individual, local Tea Parties.
Here is Patches the Clown entertaining the children during the rally. This is not to be confused with Patches Kennedy. Part of the entertainment was balloons, a couple of which popped as they were being inflated.
"Being inflated" reminds me of the reason for the rally. There are folks out there who are concerned about our economy and the possibility that current spending will lead to galloping inflation. The Tea Party is a small government movement. The various Tea Parties, if members knew the term, would subscribe to subsidiarity.♥
And speaking of "Tea Parties", the idea of a monolith known as "the Tea Party" is to miss the decentralized nature of the movement. There may be some Tea Parties being financed by "powerful forces", but the Great Lowell Tea Party was holding a bake sale to help pay for what was going on.
Further, there is diversity of opinion within the movement. At the Rally there were two petitions being circulated for signing. One was for a requirement to show ID to vote.♦ Frankly, this seems like a no-brainer. I show my ID at various times and places, especially when using a credit card to pay for things while shopping. It is mandatory if I am going to board an airplane. It should not be such a hard thing for those voting. Here is a Facebook Page on the issue of showing and ID to vote.
The other petition was to send a message to Senator Scott Brown, expressing disappointment in some of his votes. A participant sidled up to the table and looked at the petition and said that he wasn't going to sign because, in his opinion, Senator Brown was doing a remarkable job for a Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and he didn't want to give him a hard time for not being someone he couldn't be anyway. I fully agree with that position and the person behind the table was gracious in accepting that explanation. "Gracious". That defined the interactions of the people at the Rally.
Sure, the speakers tried to give us stemwinders, but that is the job of a Rally speaker. Ms Sandi Martinez, from Chelmsford (GREATER Lowell Tea Party) kicked things off and then set a timer and introduced Tom Wirtanen.♣
Don Feder, former Columnist for The Boston Herald, was the keynote speaker.
Holly Robichaud, from The HBoston erald, where she blogs as "The Lone Republican", talked.
Dick Patton, who had a forefather in the original Boston Tea Party, spoke about Estate (Death) Taxes.
Loren Spivack, the Free Market Warrior, talked about economics. Mr Spivack is a graduate of UMass Amherst, out in the hinterlands of Massachusetts.
Others who spoke included Capt. Jim Dixon, an Airline Captain (and former Naval Aviator (S-3s)), who is running for the 10th Middlesex Rep seat in a 10 May Special Election. That is Jim on the right.
There was even some Blue Grass music, from Fiddlin' Ed.
Considering it was the deadline for filing Income Tax Returns, it was a pretty fine day.
Regards — Cliff
♠ That was for any Immaculate Children's Choir members following this blog.
♥ From the Wikipedia link: "Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, cybernetics, management, military (Mission Command) and, metaphorically, in the distribution of software module responsibilities in object-oriented programming. Subsidiarity is, ideally or in principle, one of the features of federalism, where it asserts the rights of the parts over the whole."
♦ This is about dead people voting, and folks voting for their neighbors. But, it could be about a father/son mixup, as happened about ten years ago. I was registered to vote and my son moved up here from Virginia and did the register by mail. When I showed up to vote there was only one Clifford R Krieger on the voter roll. Since I was the early bird I voted. My son Clifford R (R) Krieger, was livid that he was not going to vote (and no one offered him a provisional ballot). If he had gotten there before me he would most certainly have voted. I am not sure showing an ID to vote would have saved me, but it would be part of a process that would raise the awareness of all of us about voting and keeping the rolls correct. My supposition is that in the Elections Section they looked at the registration card, and the name, and decided that it was a duplicate, and put it in the circular file. Why, yes, my son went down to City Hall that very morning and complained.
♣ This may be an inside joke, in that Tom has a propensity to go on and on. The timer was Sandi's polite way of telling Tom there was a limit to his time—others needed their chance to talk.
1 year ago