I went downtown on Sunday afternoon to take in one of DC’s many Smithsonian museums. When I got out of the Metro station, I was smack bang in the middle of another tea party protest.
I honestly don’t really get the tea party, so I’m not going to try and explain it to you. There’s plenty of places you can look up information about it online, with a twist and squeeze of whatever political flavour you wish. I believe, pretty much, that it is a conservative people’s movement borne out of dissatisfaction with the present state of life in the United States following the global financial crisis. Some people believe that it has racist undertones. But look, I’m no expert on US politics, I’ve only been here a month and I spent most of that time at open houses.
I normally wouldn’t give conservative types any publicity on my blog, but I took some photos and have posted them because I think the tea party — as much as I disagree with everything they say and stand for and as much as I feel that many of their perspectives rise from pure ignorance — do reflect some of the malaise, dissent, angst, whatever in the United States right now. I feel I have arrived here at an interesting time in terms of the United States being under pressure and perhaps needing to face some serious social or lifestyle reforms if it is ever going to claw its way back up to the top.
The weird thing about the tea party protest was that it was super chill, even though it was big. These people are here, they have dragged themselves to the capital city even though they are apparently doing it tough, and they are supposed to be so angry about the current state of the country that they want to bring down the government and are hoping to get on the way to doing that during the Primaries this year. But that was not the vibe. I didn’t feel blown away by their passion, scared by their zealousness or anything like that. Which was frankly, kind of odd. It seemed like a bunch of dithering retired people on a vacation rather than a forceful protest movement.
I watched them for a while. Some of them waved at the camera… they mostly just wandered. Whenever there was a press photographer/videographer around, they would start up with slogans and chants about “Capitalism YES Socialism NO” and “Respect the Constitution”.
My overall impression from the protest was that these people were lost. They have been depicted a lot of ways in the media, but the feeling I got from watching them was that they were simply so confused about what was happening now that they couldn’t really do anything except write some pretty lame slogans on poster board. They couldn’t understand why the country that had done so well for so long was now having struggles. They weren’t happy about it and felt like something needed to be done and the best solutions they could muster was some simplistic ideas, some easy scapegoats and to try and wrap themselves up in the comforting warmth of militaristic nationalism.
That was my feeling about it all anyway.
These kids look like they are having the worst vacation week ever. I don’t understand the Statue of Liberty headpieces either… I thought Lady Liberty was supposed to welcome newcomers to the US, but I thought the tea partiers weren’t that into immigration?