The people have turned to themselves for leadership

Byline: | Category: Taxes & Spending | Posted at: Wednesday, 15 April 2009

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Beneath a cold steel sky, between two and three thousand protesters gathered on Nashville’s Legislative Plaza this April 15th Tax Day to protest high taxes and even higher government spending.  The Nashville Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party was part of a nationwide movement of at least 500 Tea Parties, a name that harkens back to the 1773 Boston tax protest that ushered in a decade of lasting and significant change.

In many ways it was a disorganized event.  The invited speakers were seldom heard since the crowd vastly exceeded the reach of the couple loudspeakers set near the stage.  Even those who were near enough to listen, often had to strain to hear through the constant horn-honking, a vestige of a successful local tax protest nearly a decade ago.  The hundreds of signs carried varying messages; some were even off-message.  And the speakers themselves included virtual unknowns like Ken Marrero, one of the key organizers of the local Tea Party.

But disorganization has its benefits.  This was not a partisan political event.  The national GOP, and even most Republican members of Congress kept their distance.  One elected representative who was there, State Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro, was careful to draw a distinction that this Tea Party protest was a “conservative” movement, and not a Republican one.  And by conservative, he meant not all Republicans, along with quite a few fiscally-responsible Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents.  There were perhaps another dozen representatives who popped up from time to time to see what was happening–one legislative aide told me that the size of the rally astonished many of his fellow staffers on Capitol Hill.  But for the most part, Tennessee’s representatives stayed on the sidelines like their national counterparts.  Even when one of the speakers was nearby Congressman Marsha Blackburn, the event still kept its distance from the GOP, just as the GOP did from it.  A sign near the center of the crowd summed up the sentiment succinctly:  Above side-by-side pictures of President Bush and President Obama were the words “Dumb & Dumber”.

One source of the disorganization was that the event’s genesis was virtually all virtual.  It was organized in the ether of the blogosphere and on social networks like Facebook.  There were no paid community organizers there to organize things.  Instead, it was several Tennessee bloggers who witnessed what they had a large hand in creating.  Ben Cunningham, Kay Brooks, Jane Whitson, Blake Wylie (along with his lovely new bride) were all there recording the event, volunteers all. 

The disorganized signs themselves–well except for the few outliers like “Yes we ARE a Christian Nation”–were a show of strength.  Each one was the product of individual thought and planning, and not simply the mass-produced result of a special interest’s well-funded coffers.

Talk radio, of course, had a large part in promoting today’s story.  Local talkers Steve Gill and Phil Valentine, both veterans of Tennessee’s earlier tax protests, were joined by relative newcomer Michael DelGiorno.  But even with a microphone, they were merely advocates for today’s protest; not its organizers. 

And this is what is the source of the Tea Party’s potential real strength.  What happened today was self-organization.   It was best summed up in the words of another talk jock, Rush Limbaugh, whom I heard as I drove downtown to the Tea Party:

[Having found the leadership of both parties lacking], the people have turned to themselves for leadership.

If this movement has legs, nothing could be more dangerous to a Washington establishment, accustomed to being in control.

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ALSO:  A better photo can be found here.

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23 Responses to “The people have turned to themselves for leadership”

  1. Nashville Tea Party! , An Ol’ Broad’s Ramblings Says:

    […] The people have turned to themselves for leadership […]

  2. Chris for Liberty Says:

    We had a great turnout in Knoxville too. I estimate around 2,000 people showed up. Of course, people were coming in and out, so it was hard to get an truly accurate count.

  3. steve bourg Says:

    Bob: The DC Party was quite well-organized. It seems someone wanted to disrupt it terribly because it was moved from in front of the Treasury building very quickly this morning when the permit was pulled, to Lafayette Park, right across from the White House. The woman who organized the event gave some interviews I listened to, and she was very impressive. There were several very good speakers, and some sign-up volunteers who were great. The turnout of 2-3 thousand was terrific, considering the horrendous pouring rain and 45 degree temp. As I’d hoped, the crowd was VERY interesting to talk to, informed, thoughtful, and on the whole, I was proud to be there, with my simple sign “IT’S OUR MONEY !! “. I volunteered to speak, but there were too many speakers already.

  4. Tax Day Tea Party: Pictures and thoughts Says:

    […] many Nashville bloggers have their thoughts on this, the best synopsis being Bob Krumm’s, which I find to be the most accurate portrayal: a few nutjobs, lots of decent, hard-working […]

  5. Brian Says:

    Do you like how The City Paper’s lead editorial writer/Nashville Posts’s blogger repeatedly uses a pornographic slur to refer to all the people there? Even in his picture of the event as “panoramatebag.jpg”.

  6. Angie McClanahan Says:

    The metro police estimated the number at more than 7,500 with another 2,500 in cars. I believe it way way more than what you’ve reported. A large church has 2,000, and there’s no way all these folks could’ve fit into a church. It was great, and your summary was wonderful and accurate. Good work.

  7. Knoxville Tea Party Wrap Up | Hear ItFrom.Us Says:

    […] are some posts from other people up already, along with posts from other tea parties from all around the state. I did notice the local “progressives” have […]

  8. Instapundit » Blog Archive » BOB KRUMM: The People Have Turned To Themselves For Leadership. “A sign near the center of the cro… Says:

    […] KRUMM: The People Have Turned To Themselves For Leadership. “A sign near the center of the crowd summed up the sentiment succinctly: Above side-by-side […]

  9. milesfromkansas Says:

    Somehow using the seating capacity of a large church to estimate the size of a crowd speaks warmly to me!

  10. kcom Says:

    “Do you like how…”

    No, I don’t like it. And I doubt it would have made Edward R. Murrow proud. But such is the state of what passes for journalism these days.

  11. Mark L Says:

    The people have turned to themselves for leadership? Well past time if you ask me.

    The United States did not begin as a nation that seeks a Man on a White Horse. It has always been — in Glenn Reynolds’ term an army of Davids. If we have have had any flaw in the recent past it is our willingness to have Davids cede to the bloke on the horse.

  12. BAP Says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The very flaws of the tea parties (disorganization, less than expert oratory, inexperience with sound systems, etc.) speaks hugely to the strength of this movement.

    Every time I see someone claiming that this is all top-down organized by some shadowy cabal, it makes me laugh. Clearly, those folks didn’t actually go to a tea party. Everyone I know is mad as hell, at both parties.

    And the fact that the media is refusing to cover this movement accurately (if at all) will also work in our favor. Their resistance to actually reporting the news is both hastening their demise and forcing us to find more creative ways to organize and express ourselves. Win-win!

  13. Yeah, That’s My Attitude - Transterrestrial Musings Says:

    […] sign at one of the tea parties yesterday: A sign near the center of the crowd summed up the sentiment succinctly: Above side-by-side […]

  14. Tea Party protests « Right Minded Online Says:

    […] Bob Krumm (Nashville) […]

  15. Six Meat Buffet » Blog Archive » Tax Day Tea Party Roundups Says:

    […] Nashville: Krummy […]

  16. Lseptember 5 Says:

    I attended the NYC Tea Party last night and the NYPD estimated the crowd to be 12,500. It was fun, and yes, a bit disorganized! It definitely helped that Newt was a star attraction. The crowd was made up of super normal people – young, middle aged, minorities, men, women – some probably a bit surprised by their own attendence, but ultimately, I found most of them were delighted to have found people in NYC who agree with them that things are getting out of control. The first Tea Party in February I attended (organized by the same people) had about 300 people. The movement is growing and it won’t be stopped!

  17. DirtCrashr Says:

    The people who say that it’s all top-down organized by some shadowy cabal speak from their own experience with George Suros and MoveOn – they lack the imagination, creativity, and drive to do things any other way than to follow the Path of the Apparatchik..

  18. Tax Day Tea Party — Franklin, TN (photos) « Quick Daily Hits (Politics and Such) Says:

    […] Related Posts:  More about Tennessee Tea Parties, from Steve Gill’s website. Pictures from the Alamo:  Alamo City Pundit – 16,000 Turn Out To Alamo Tea Party; CNN/Networks Refuse to Cover! Pictures from Nashville:  Vandy Right:  Tax Day Tea Party: Pictures and thoughts Gateway Pundit:  More… Tax Day Tea Party Action Bob Krumm:  The people have turned to themselves for leadership […]

  19. Side by Side Pictures of Bush & Obama | Urban Onramps Says:

    […] KRUMM: The people have turned to themselves for leadership: “A sign near the center of the crowd summed up the sentiment succinctly: Above side-by-side […]

  20. K Taylor Says:

    In a small western washington town of 5,000 or so, already 100 tea party participants arrived
    half an hour before appointed start time. I
    dropped off a protest sign, had to leave to work
    the lunch crowd at my sons eatery. Observed lots of folks swarming to the parking lot, of
    all ages. I’m curious to know how many actually
    were there by noon.

  21. Tom Perkins Says:

    “If this movement has legs, nothing could be more dangerous to a Washington establishment, accustomed to being in control.”

    I think it’s more true to say they are used to being tolerated and put up with, the Tea Party protests are about that possibly coming to a halt.

    We’ve only said we need them for the enumerated reasons in the Constitution. There’s a lot in DC that we can do without.

  22. Claudia Henneberry Says:

    I was there and there were 10,000 people in attendance!!!!!!!! Get your facts straight! It was AWESOME!!!!!

  23. Curiositech » Blog Archive » Tea Party links Says:

    […] http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2009/04/whole-meeting-was-really-kind-of-creepy.html http://www.bobkrumm.com/blog/?p=2247 http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/dc-tea-party-republicans-should-not-be-rejoicing-quite-yet/?print=1 […]