UPDATE: I got the organizers of these events wrong. Here’s the official word:
“The Jefferson Area Tea Party JATP are the organizers not the Libertarians, although both organizations support personal freedom and the Constitution.”
NOTE: This post was written by Dymphna. She gave it to me to add the photos, and I inadvertently published it under my own account. I’m too lazy to delete it and re-post it under hers.
We went to Tea Party No. 2 on July 4th. In trying to figure out how it differed from the first one, I drew several conclusions:
1. Summertime is a much better venue. The weather is good (well, actually it rained heavily all the next day and the thermometer never got much past 65. So we lucked out).
2. Because of the school schedule there were lots more children. That made it more festive. The sponsors of the event had set up kid-sized “stations”, each with some history on one of the Founding Fathers. The children had sheets and as they visited each station they marked off what they’d read. A painless, kinetic history lesson.
3. The speeches were shorter and more varied. One fellow, a blue collar worker, announced his decision to run for the Congressional seat currently held by Representative Perriello. Is this man likely to win? Probably not. But he is determined that he’s not going to sit back and wait for change.
4. There was ice cream, always a nice feature. But this was even better: Chap’s ice cream is famous in the area for making the best. And it was free.
5. The venue was more user-friendly: green grass, shade trees, no large stretches of concrete. The statue of Stonewall Jackson (the Tea Party took place at Stonewall Jackson Park, next to the county Court House) added some historical context. He loomed high over all of us, sitting astride his horse.
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6. Having it on a weekend (and a hallowed holiday) meant that people with jobs could come — and they showed up in numbers. The estimate of the crowd was more or less a thousand people.
7. Come to think of it, having the event on the Fourth of July may have kept the numbers down. People have family parties for the Fourth and so they lost some who might have been there otherwise.
8. They kept it shorter: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Yes, of course it ran over time, but that’s okay. People could come and go as they wished.
9. They had someone lead the singing of “God Bless America”. Group singing is inspiring. It gives one a sense of community to have the opportunity to belt out a beloved favorite.
10. The signs were even more inventive than those at the first Tea Party. There is simply more to work on since Congress has been busy selling our inheritance right from under us.
11. On leaving, the Baron noted, “this was just like a Boy Scout meeting”. By that he meant it was orderly, friendly, and patriotism was encouraged.
12. The atmosphere was quieter and more determined this time. Congress will ignore the Tea Parties at their peril. If they pay attention to what the media is saying, they won’t learn anything. For example, the local paper didn’t even cover the event. Perhaps they believe that a blanket of silence will make this new determination go away. Wrong.
13. More people have now signed up for the Jefferson Area Libertarians. They are the engine for the Tea Party in Charlottesville and they’re pulling ever more cars as this movement gains steam.
14. I found out I enjoyed chatting with fellow members of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Everywhere I went, I heard libertarian conservatives refusing to be pigeonholed into a party affiliation.