The Atlanta Tea Party yesterday was my first ever protest! No, really! It was a very interesting experience, especially given the rain and the fact that we had all of The People with us. I'm glad we did it.
We arrived a little bit after the starting time and the speakers were already going. If I understand correctly, in addition to the protest organizers, several State lawmakers spoke as well. We ended up on the outside of the main crowd, due to our late arrival, which made it somewhat challenging to hear the speakers. The noise around us, the traffic, and having to keep the kids close to us also served as distractions from the speeches. I did hear someone talking about "Greed" in a very Gordon Gecko kind of sense, and I wish I had heard more of that.
Our position along the sidewalk actually worked out much better for us, since we were all right along the road, and were able to talk to drivers who slowed down to hand us teabags and take our pictures. As far as I know, there were about 5 or 6 requests from people to take our pictures, but only the one picture has surfaced on the internet. If any more show up, I'll be sure to post them. Let me know if you find any, too! (I have yet to go all the way through this enormous album of pics.)
The rain made things miserable, though. I wish our weather had been better--I had been looking forward to chatting with people a bit, maybe meeting some of the organizers. As it was, we pretty much had to stand in our little patch of sidewalk. Actually, now that I think about it, if the weather had been nicer, it might have been more challenging to keep the kids close to us. The poor things just huddled next to us, holding the signs I had made the night before.
In addition to the signs that
"Don't Stimulate: LIBERATE!"
"Perdue: Say NO to $TIMULU$"
"The answer to 1984 is 1776."
And maybe a couple more--we ended up not using them all. We might have switched them out a bit if we had had nicer weather. Have I mentioned our yucky rainy weather enough? :o) Our governor has indicated that he is considering declining at least some of the stimulus money for Georgia, so I think our signs directed at him (Perdue) were especially important.
The mood of the crowd--somewhere around 400 in number--was very energetic and benevolent. There were lots of great signs--funny, clever, pithy. And we counted at least four signs besides ours that referenced Atlas Shrugged or Ayn Rand. And that is a Good Thing!
We left a bit before it ended because of that climate-related thing I'm not mentioning again, and had a fun train ride adventure back to suburbia, including being accused of child abuse (wet children) by a crazy guy who could see the spirit (and he looked as if he possibly could), the baby and me getting briefly stuck in the MARTA elevator with three very nice, very clueless, and very pro-Jehovah people, and all of the ensuing logistical maneuverings that inevitably accompany any outing that involves 4 children, 4 adults, 1 stroller and (N - 1 Zillion) Snacks, where N = The Amount of Snacks Necessary to Satisfy Tired, Wet, Hungry Children.
Then we came back here and had the rest of our Fun Friend Friday! It was a fun day, and I'm glad we did it, and I plan to be out next time if there is one. I have no idea how to measure the impact of such efforts on what is going to happen at the State level; it's only one kind of activism. I'm going to write all of my State and Federal legislators and tell them that I went and why, just to make my point. I encourage anyone reading this to do the same, even if you couldn't make it to a rally.
Still, a very successful first protest for me!