Valparaiso, Indiana, had a brisk, sunny afternoon for its Tea Party.  The temperature was in the mid-50’s with a light wind that increased as the day went on.  A piece of cake for veteran spring Little League baseball game watchers.   I’m guessing there were between 300 and 500 people there at the peak.

valpo tea party

The Pledge of Allegiance was said.  The National Anthem was sung.  Lots of veterans and active-duty military family members were there.  I saw several children and a lot of cameras.  One dog, too, and it was very well-behaved.  Cars and trucks passing by honked, some with protest signs held out the window.

valpo tea party

There were at least six speakers, and the talk was of people’s anger about the explosion  of government spending, frustration that politicians just aren’t listening to citizens, about fear of the IRS, about the invisible tax of inflation and cap and trade.  The Founding Fathers were quoted.

valpo tea party

Shouts of “USA, USA,” “We must take back our government,” and “Enough!” rang out frequently.  Many speakers stressed the need for this rally to be just the beginning.  The crowd agreed.

valpo tea party

At one point we marched around the Courthouse.  It sits in its own block, and the line encircled it.  There was lots of music, and flags large and small were waved.  The crowd looked to be composed of all age groups, but I would say at least half were Boomer-aged.  I would bet money that for a lot of them, this was the first political protest they’d ever been to, like me.

valpo tea party

People in the audience went to the microphone and spoke their thoughts, about their concern for their children’s futures, about the crushing of small businesses, and the need to get rid of the IRS.  The organizer, Faith Jones, did a terrific job.  If there were any glitches, I didn’t see them.  It was a peaceful gathering of people expressing similar views and frustrations with politics as usual.  No one tried to disrupt or hijack it.

valpo tea party

Local media was there.  A reporter from the Post-Tribune interviewed my son.  Oddly, the first question out of the reporter’s mouth had to do with Ann Coulter and Glen Beck’s connection with the tea parties.  My son instructed him about the definition of grassroots activism.  I can’t wait to read the story tomorrow.

What I came away with from it was how remarkably non-partisan it was.  The political class in general was the target.  There was a young man sitting in the middle of the crowd with Obama/Biden and Obama ’08 stickers on his laptop cover.  He didn’t look uncomfortable or scared.  One sign pretty much sums up the political atmosphere:

valpo tea party

It was a very good day in Valparaiso.

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