Full impressions and tons of photos from Tea Party Protest in Eugene, Oregon

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There wasn’t a Tea Party protest in the city of Eugene and I suppose that is appropriate.  Eugene, known for raucous WTO protests in the early 90s, violent members of the Environmental Liberation Front, and more aging, balding, dread-locked hippies than a Bob Dylan concert, wouldn’t look kindly on right wing protests.  The protest was ultimately held in neighboring Springfield, known for its incessant insistence that it is the true Simpsons Springfield.

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I showed up just minutes before the protest started, following a Nissan SUV sporting an NRA seal and a yellow Support the Troops ribbon in heavy traffic all the way to the event.  It was held just outside Gateway Mall in Springfield, right next to a United States Post Office, in a park paid for by state and local taxes.

Eugene and Springfield host a population of approximately 210,000, not including the 20,000 students that attend The University of Oregon.   I’m not great at crowd size pinpointing, but I would guess that the attendance was between 500-800.   Local media did show up, but their reports can’t be trusted.  They were about as inconspicuous as an orange-vested hunter in a barren forest.  They didn’t mingle with the people, they didn’t speak to the people, they filed their report in thick make-up and black whore boots and went home to watch Dancing with the Stars.

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The atmosphere was like a County Fair.  Middle-aged professionals with their children and seniors with their oxygen tanks crowded the sidewalks, while their 20 to 30 year old neighbors stayed home.   Opportunists sold t-shirts out of their cars.

A man from the Americans for Prosperity organization dressed up as Thomas Paine, a man he has little to nothing in common with ideologically, and spouted platitudes of Freedom, Liberty, Free Markets, and Fair Taxation.  It was like being at a fucking campaign speech.  Do we really need to subject ourselves to this bullshit more than once every two years?

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Of course, the main thing that Fraud Paine talked about was the horrors of earmarks and the out of control spending in Washington.  Next on the docket was lower taxes.  Of course, the majority of the electorate doesn’t see the inherent paradox in this philosophy.  We have to pay for tax cuts.  If the Republican party wants more Defense spending, we need to pay for that through taxes.  But what the hell am I thinking?  I’m trying to bury this in an article that is too long for many of the Tea Baggers to consider reading.

That brings us to the true “substance” of the Tea Party Revolution.  The substance is the sheer number of slogans and issues represented by the protesters.  There is no unity here.  It’s not the rage against the WTO that made Sublime immortalize Eugene in April 26, 1992.   It’s a mish-mash of right-wing talking points that all lead to a few basic underlying messages.

  1. Congress doesn’t read bills.
  2. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are the only people to blame for the current economic crisis.
  3. Barack Obama is not “one of us.”
  4. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are dictators in Congress.
  5. Debt = “fiscal child abuse.”
  6. Democrats are godless.
  7. Democrats and Republicans are responsible for mess in Congress (even though they only single out Democrats)
  8. Advertisements for Glenn Beck.

I think I can fit all of the signs I saw today into each of those categories.  The problem is that there is no discussion at these events.  Because the attendees believe everything Fox spews, they accept these slogans as righteous.  Further exploration of these ideals needn’t be taken.  The people who attended the Tea Party today aren’t intellectuals who devour every word of George Will and David Brooks.  They listen to O’Reilly, Rush, Glenn Beck, and Neil Cavuto.  Additional research is unnecessary.

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What’s wrong with the youth today?  It’s a popular motto for many people in the twilight of life.  Today, I ask a different question.  What’s wrong with the baby boomers?  Why have they lost their taste for good, investigative journalism and rational facts?  We can have a real debate in this country if they would accept that their taxes are not increasing if they make under $250,000.  We can have different opinions about what we are going to do in the future.  We cannot have different opinions on facts.

The big takeaway from this is that right-wingers aren’t used to protesting.  When they do protest, they want to protest 10,000 different things at the same time so that they never have to do it again.   Abortion, Cap & Trade, Obama’s legitimacy as President, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Stimulus Bill, the Bailout, the Budget, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Gun Laws, “Christian” values, Earmarks, the free market, spending, Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano, Ron Paul, Bob Barr, the Federal Reserve, the renegotiation of home loans, Obama’s bow to the Saudi prince, terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security, the Employee Free Choice Act, NAFTA, the Death Tax, and the IRS were all targeted today.

When you have 800 people with 800 different reasons for protesting, the message is lost in the crowd.  But the real reason they’re there is simple.  Mass media and lobbying firms have a hell of an influence.

More pictures:

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2 Responses to “Full impressions and tons of photos from Tea Party Protest in Eugene, Oregon”

  1. John.B Says:

    Great Job by all !

    please add more Photos if you have them !

  2. Lance R. Haynie Says:

    Joel,

    Honestly, I can see some of your points. There was kind of a mix of slogans. We (conservatives) have a lot of issues right now and we just can not spend all day with our issues. The tea party I attended was pretty well organized in Dallas, I had a great time to be honest. The problem is that people have a hard time leaving their personal issues checked at the door. I think it is a bit hyperbolic to say there was 800 people with 800 different slogans. Though the general consensus is our government is overstepping its legal reach.

    You may or may not be correct on what the majority wants but I do believe the majority is slight at best. Polling is mixed, and honestly I just do not trust polls or the media. Take for example, tonight I was at a cigar event in Dallas. I could of polled the group and I bet 99% would say they enjoy cigars. The other 1% would probably be the few wives that showed up.

    I think you are somewhat close on the underlying issues. I think that congress SHOULD have more time to read bills before being put to vote. Things have been passed way to quickly and their is no way they could have read some of these. Now if they read it and still passed it, that’s a separate issue all together.

    I would not say two men alone are responsible for our economic crisis. I have a hard time believing that a majority of conservatives believe that way. If you were to ask me I blame a nice mix of everyone. I believe some businesses were over regulated, and some were under. There were a few true capitalist pigs who share a role who went too far. Things that the left pushed like the bill that basically pushed banks to lend to people who could not afford should not have gone through. I apologize I can not remember the name right now, it is kind of late but I know you know what I am referring too. We all share a role. Honestly I blame Bush for some of it. He passed some bad bills in regards to global warming and tax credits. Furthermore, he started the bailout mania that I do not agree with. At least not on the scale it is at. I could go on all night, but to say two people are to blame is quite ridiculous, and if you are meeting “conservatives” that think that way they need to do a little more due diligence and research. Either way, no one party is to blame solely, we all made mistakes.

    I really don’t even want to touch on Barack Obama. I am sure he is a great guy (really) I just do not agree with his policies. Note: I am also tired of hearing the bull shit about his birth records and so forth. I hate that some conservatives go that direction. Lets debate policy not silly stuff like that.

    Same thing with Nancy and Harry. I disagree with them but I would not go so far as to say dictators.

    I think we should be fiscally responsible. Our debt is outrages and I do not think we can buy our way out of this. Calling it child abuse, okay not so much. Will my children have to pay for this? Yes I do believe so.

    Okay seriously I feel bad you got these messages. It is silly to argue democrats are godless. I have many good friends who are democrat and Christian. I try to single out no one group. Like I said Bush started the bailouts I disagree with. I am at a point where I don’t want to affiliate myself with a group per say, but more an ideology. I am an American first, conservative second. We are all in this together and this bull shit partisan stuff is driving me up a wall.

    I did want to touch on taxes though because you did bring that up. I am not necessarily for lower taxes; but for fair taxes. I am for a flat tax rate, it is the epitome of fair. We all pay the same portion of our income to taxes, how is that not fair? When I finished my taxes I paid nearly 38% to the IRS. How is 38% a fair amount to taxes? Especially considering my little sister got more back than she paid in. That to me is not fair by any means.

    Thanks for your time Joel. I do appreciate that for the most part your posts have reason to them; and are not just straight bashing of the right. You obviously have a slant to the left, but that’s okay. I may disagree with your reason but I can understand where you are coming from. Feel free to email me if you would like: lance@lancehaynie.com.

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