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Joan E. Dowlin

Joan E. Dowlin

Posted: September 18, 2009 06:31 PM

Who are These Tea Party Protesters?

What's Your Reaction?

There sure were a lot of them in Washington DC last weekend. They rivaled the size of any of President Obama's largest crowds during the election and otherwise. (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1213056/Up-million-march-US-Capitol-protest-Obamas-spending-tea-party-demonstration.html)

But who are these TEA (stands for Taxed Enough Already) Party people? Do they represent Middle America or are they just a lunatic fringe? Or both? Are they mostly middle class, lower class, or upper crust? Are they bitter small town folks who cling to religion and guns (www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=11 ) or are they from the city? How many come from rural areas?

I would like to run an unscientific survey.

Here are my questions: How many are white? Black? Latino? Asian? How many are men, how many women? How many are gay or bisexual? I'm just asking.

What is the average age of the TEA protestors? Are they baby boomers or Gen-Xers?

What is their primary political affiliation: Republican, Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Green Party? Or are they starting a new party of their own? Just wondering.

What is their main religion: Christian, Muslim, Buddhism? Are there any atheists?
How many are pro-life? How many NRA members are there? Any environmentalists? Just curious.

Is this a grass-roots movement or Astroturf as the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has stated? (thinkprogress.org/2009/04/15/pelosi-astroturf/ ) Are these protests being orchestrated by Republicans to oppose the President and the Democrats? (jeffrey-feldman.typepad.com/.../tea-party-movement-planned-months-ago- by-gop-billionaires.html) Or are both true?

What are TEA baggers for?

I know what they are against: President Obama (whom they call a Socialist), Health Care Reform, taxes, big government, bail-outs, huge deficits, and the Democratic controlled Congress. But what are their solutions for our economic woes?

Every great revolution has a clearly stated agenda: The "Peace Movement" (www.english.illinois.edu/maps/vietnam/antiwar.html), "Civil Rights" (en.wikipedia.org/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_ (1955-1968),) "Women's Liberation" (scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/), "Gay Rights" (www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0761909.html), "Human Rights" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights), the "Pro-Life Movement" (www.nrlc.org/ ) and the GOP's "Contract With America" (www.house.gov/house/Contract/CONTRACT.html) express their goals in their titles.

I heard Glenn Beck tell Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News show (www.freedomslighthouse.com/glenn-beck-tells-greta-van-susteren-he.html) that he believes that most of the TEA Party protestors on 9/12/09 never demonstrated before.

To that I say to you TEA people, where have you been for the last half-century?

Where were you when Dr. Martin Luther King expressed his "dreams" for the civil rights movement in 1963? (www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEMXaTktUfA) Where you there when women burned their bras (www.now.org/history/protests.html) and young men torched their draft cards in the 1960s to protest the Vietnam War? (www.picturehistory.com/product/id/16897) How about the ACT-UP AIDS marches of the 1980s? (dictionary.sensagent.com/protest/en-en/)
Surely some of you attended the anti-abortion rallies that followed the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision. (www.marchforlife.org/)

No? Were you sleeping on the couch? Well, welcome to the club. However, we are living in America where we have a right to protest our government. Congratulations on going out and having a peaceful demonstration last Saturday!

However, I must admit that some signs that were being carried bothered me: "We Come Unarmed, This Time!" (www.discourse.net/archives/2009/09/unarmed_this_time.html) Is that a veiled threat? Kind of sounds like the Weather Underground of the '60s to me. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather_Underground_Organization)

Another one read: "Bury Obama-Care With Kennedy." (rawstory.com/blog/tea-party-bury-obamacare-kennedy) Senator Ted Kennedy died only two weeks ago. The man devoted his entire life to creating Universal Health Care. That sign is just down right mean-spirited to me.

Who and where are your leaders? Rush Limbaugh has said you have none.

Can a movement get very far without inspirational leaders? Would the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 have passed without Martin Luther King? (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964) Would women have the right to vote without Susan B. Anthony? (www.susanbanthonyhouse.org/biography.shtml) Would there be so many women in Congress today without the Feminist Movement championed by Gloria Steinem? (www.feminist.com/gloriasteinem/) Would homosexuals be able to marry in so many states today if not for the work of Harvey Milk? (www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/milk01.html)

One more question: what do you mean when you say "we want our country back?" Who are the "we" and what do you want to go back to? The last eight years where we had a President who ignored polls and never listened to the will of the American public while serving only the wealthy few? (www.nytimes.com/2007/01/08/washington/08tax.html) I'm just asking.

I am not totally unsympathetic to you TEA baggers. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter during the Democratic Primary and I witnessed first hand the unfair media treatment she received while Barack Obama was idolized by the press. (en.wikipedia.org/Hillary_Clinton_presidential_campaign,_2008) I feel your pain when the mainstream media refuses to fully cover your events. I am glad that you have Fox News.

I also disagree with the claims of racism made against you by some in the Democratic party including an ex-President (Carter). (www.foxnews.com/carter-racism-claim-draws-widespread-criticism/ - 16 hours ago -) I found it very disturbing when that untrue term was used against Bill Clinton and others during Hillary's campaign. (elections.foxnews.com/bill-clinton-blisters-over-racism-portrayal-in-radio- interview/ -) There may be a small number of lunatic fringe members in your movement that are racist but I'm sure it is not the majority.

As you can see, I have a lot of questions regarding this TEA party phenomenon. I am fascinated by it and I am calling on anyone reading this blog for help to give me some clarity. I'm just asking.