Being accustomed to Tea Party and Patriot Rallies, one has to wonder what really goes on at a rally held by a non-conservative group. To answer that question, I—and a few other Tea Party folks—attended today’s MoveOn.org Rally at the Virginia Capitol Bell Tower. I’ll try to keep a straight face while typing my report.
Being prompt people, we showed up a few minutes before 12:00, just like the email said to (let’s not ask where the email came from), and low and behold there were only a dozen or so ralliers there. Oh, seems like the rest of the groups around the country are holding their rally at noon; ours doesn’t start until 1:00 p.m.
Around 12:15, more people started to show up. Around 12:40, we were all invited to move to the Bell Tower, where the organizer kicked the rally off. At 12:45, the Capitol Police approached the organizer and pointed out that his permit was for 1:00 p.m. and he could not start until then. Imagine that, a liberal organization not following the rules!
Finally, we get to kick this thing off (the suspense is killing us). To start it off we did a few exciting chants—thankfully the leader had them on a card and coached us through it, since we obviously couldn’t come up with anything on our own. Next up were several speakers. For some reason, I have little idea of what were they talking about (seems I was blessed with the ability to ignore certain things)—maybe it was about the wonderful things union folk in Wisconsin were doing. It certainly didn’t make any sense to me, but did give me an opportunity to look at the demographics of the crowd.
Teachers seemed to be the most prevalent group (most of the signs were spelled correctly, some just held upside down; oh wait, most of the signs were printed and came out of boxes). There were only a few more African American folks than one would expect at a Tea Party event. For the most part, the crowd was older, white and middle class. A few folks were in from Norfolk, many were from Richmond, and when the question was posed, “How many people here today are union members?”, a considerable cheer went up.
Chatting with some of the other “infiltrators,” we observed that a noticeable percentage of the attendees were not “with” the ralliers, possibly as much as 10%, as suggested by one observer. So how many people were there? One of the Capital Police officers I spoke to guessed 175. More showed up after that, so I’m guessing around 225. Oh, and did I mention the police? I have been to several rallies at the Bell Tower, and I have never seen so many law enforcement officers, ever.
So, were they angry? Didn’t look like it. Were they violent? Not that I saw. Did they come by the busload? Nope, I checked. Was it interesting? As a people watcher, I have to say, yes, lots of very diverse, interesting people to see. Many brought their musical instruments, others their pets.
That’s about all I have folks, I think I’ll go take a shower now.