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Scenes from the Tea Party

3:45 PM, Apr 16, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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You may be able to tell more about the tone of yesterday's Tax Day protest by the coverage it's getting at the Huffington Post. These are the Top 20 "most outrageous" signs the site could muster. Incredibly tame stuff, and one of the pictures is of a Tea Party infiltrator, not a Tea Partier. Even the Huffington Post reporter covering the event wrote, "Despite some caustic, angry rhetoric and a reputation for vitriol, Tea Party protesters have been unfailingly polite to this reporter." When the people whose professional mission it is to find hateful Tea Party pictures can't do better than this, it says something about the true nature of the crowd.

Below are my pictures from last night, when thousands gathered on the Washington Monument lawn for a rally. The loopiest thing I saw or heard was Victoria Jackson's "Communist in the White House" song, which is exactly what the title suggests, and was about as odd you'd expect from any Victoria Jackson performance.

CrashersCrashers

These guys were part of a small counter-protest group that calls itself "The Other 95%," which was there to thank Obama for tax cuts. As you can see, their signage is a study in sophistication for the rubes they wish to educate.


The "Other 95 %" may be a misnomer.


It was mostly young Tea Partiers who ventured over to the pro-Obama protesters to talk, and all of the confrontations I saw were friendly on both sides.



Guess which is a Tea Partier and which is a pro-Obama protester. The young man on the left is a self-proclaimed "Ron Paul guy" and libertarian. The man on the right was implying he was racist just for being there.


The crowd was pretty large, stretching from Constitution all the way up to the Washington Monument, although it thinned out toward the back quite a bit. But for a Thursday in April, organizers had to be very happy with the thousands on hand.

I always run into cute, healthily accessorized young women and teenaged girls at Tea Parties.


These two hateful anarchists are gonna have trouble staging a violent revolution without their shoes!


Sunset.


There is good humor at a Tea Party event, though you don't often see it on TV.


Young women accessorize with anti-statist signage, too. Stylish!


A crowd watches as an African-American conservative Deneen Borelli addresses the crowd. Figured I'd get a picture of this allegedly mythical political specimen. Walking around last night, I met several minorities, as I always do at Tea Parties, though admittedly in small numbers. One interracial couple, Ron and Rachel Harwell from Tennessee, hugged and declared "They can't call us racist!"


These were probably the freakiest outfits I saw while I was there. There were the requisite Communist signs, too, though I'd say the number of those has gone down a bit since the media began focusing on them.


Hm, graphic.


There are always a lot of kids and teenagers in tow with their parents. One couple brought their 16-year-old twins with them from New Jersey because they'll be voting in the 2012 presidential race, and their mother said she wanted them to get involved early.


This was a popular turn of phrase, as always.


Separation of church and state!


This dog is a member of a military domestic terrorism group.


I just liked this sign, and the fact that two 20-somethings were holding it. Hope!


The rather professorial looking man on the right is the conservative. The man on the left was a pro-Obama passer-by. They had a calm, fairly wonky conversation about health care, with the Tea Partier pitching market-based reforms, but the liberal remained puzzled as to why the Tea Partier hates sick people.

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