Just got back from the Knoxville Tea Party. It was kind of gray and chilly outside today, but it wasn’t raining, and the grayness didn’t keep people away. I am horrible at estimating numbers of people, so I have no idea how many people were there, but the Amphitheater at World’s Fair Park was packed, people were standing outside on all sides of it, and there were people across the little pond. People were also on the steps that went behind the amphitheater stage and went down to the pond, but I definitely wasn’t that brave.
There were people of all ages there. I saw a lot of “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, plenty of American Flags, and dozens and dozens of interesting, creative signs. Many of them were anti-Obama, but most of them were anti-big government. The overlying message was anti-spending and anti-big government, and there were several signs decrying Bush’s and the rest of the Republican Party’s spending along with Obama and the Democrats. The amphitheater was already full when I got there (around 3:30 pm), and I’m about 5’2″, so I couldn’t see or hear a lot of the speakers, but I did hear a bit of the UT College Republicans President and some of the UT Finance Professor.
People were passionate about the issues (taxing, spending, big government), they were clever and creative, and they were friendly. There was a small group of pro-Obama counter-protesters passing out handouts with “facts” on them (I didn’t get a copy, but I wish I had), and some people engaged them in conversation/debate, while others just walked past them. Neither the Tea Partiers nor the counter-protesters were rude to one another—nobody got in anyone’s face and or yelled at each other. That doesn’t mean there weren’t obnoxious little douchebags there—I did see a college-age (?) guy with a poster that had a giant penis and balls on it and the word “Teabag?” Ew. But they were in the minority. Representative Stacey Campfield showed up later in the afternoon (in his New Balance sneakers…), but I didn’t see him speak, so I’m not sure whether he actually did. Overall, I think it was a successful protest for everyone. I wish someone had been there with me, but I still had fun. It was nice to be around so many small-government proponents. I hope everyone who went to their respective Tea Parties had a fun, safe time, and if you didn’t make it this time, maybe you can come around on July 4. (They were taking names and contact information in preparation for the July 4th protest.)
Here are some pictures; the rest are on Flickr:
EDIT: Derek posted his report and pictures from the Franklin Tea Party.