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Friday, February 27, 2009

Reporting From Chicago's Chicago Tea Party Rally

As I walked up to Richard J. Daley Plaza, I was initially underwhelmed by the size of the crowd. I arrived only a couple minutes prior to 11 AM. The crowd looked initially no more than 75. I found a few folks that I knew and after speaking with them for a few minutes, I suddenly realized that the crowd had grown. By just after 11, the crowd was now roughly a few hundred. The media was well represented with cameras from everyone from NPR to the local Fox affiliate on site. The best sight was this young and budding protester.



























The unexpected star of the rally emerged when it appeared that a veteran of the original tea party came to join us.















After about twenty minutes, the protest moved. The protestors began marching through downtown up Wacker Drive until our final destination in front of the Tribune Building on Michigan Avenue. The symbolism of it all was stark. The protest grew and as we made our way up the Chicago River the protesters were taking up more than a city block. The group had grown to something near a thousand. We chanted things like "No more Bailouts!!" and "Socialism Sucks". Car horns honked and we cheered back. We were all moving through the center of capitalism in Chicago. We started only blocks from the Sears Tower, the MERC, the Board of Trade, and the Chicago Stock Exchange. Our route took us through all of the major areas where big business congregates. This protest, at its heart, is an affirmation of capitalism, free markets, low taxes, and personal responsibility. It is a repudiation of big government, government intervention, and new regulations. As such, on that level, the route was perfectly appropriate.


As we arrived at the Tribune Building, there was more spontaneous symbolism. The pitchfork

from this new statue made after that famous painting, American Gothic, seemed a perfect backdrop to several hundred protesters. We were all standing with our figurative pitch forks demanding to take the government back.























The first speaker was local political power broker, Dan Proft. Proft's message was emblematic of the march, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, and smaller government. Proft made a mistake. He said that one in nine mortgages are in foreclosure. In fact, it is more like one in eleven. Proft asked with all the bailouts who will stand up for the other eight (actually ten). Then, the neo revolutionary decided to milk his fifteen minutes. He grabbed the bull horn and in a rather crude British accent began chanting, "No Taxation Without Deliberation".



Then, the real star of the march took to the bullhorn, Tony Peraica. (for full disclosure Tony Peraica is my favorite politician on any level, and my hope for the next Governor of Illinois)


Peraica is a remarkable politician. He is a real small government conservative. Everytime he speaks its about waste, corruption, high taxes, and how to make government smaller. If Peraica had made his home is say Mississippi, he would likely be Governor now. Yet, he has made his political home in Cook County. So, while his small government conservative message often falls on deaf ears in the bastion of liberalism in Cook County, on this day, at this rally, he was among those that wanted to hear it.








Peraica knows what every politician knows and that is that all politics is local. Peraica drew the thread between the never ending bailouts, stimuli, and bloated budgets in D.C. and what we hear in Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois already know. Peraica immediately said "yesterday in D.C. we saw what we already know here in Cook County...that's that politicians know how really well how to spend other people's money".


Peraica drew the thread from the massive budget announced by President Obama. He drew the link between President Obama, Todd Stroger, and Mayor Daley himself. He said what everyone in the crowd already believed that massive spending and deficits eventually lead to higher taxes on everyone. On the local, county and state level that's already true because budgets have to be balanced. On the national level slick politicians like President Obama can claim to not raise taxes while running up massive deficits because they need not balance budgets. Of course, this crowd wasn't buying it. The crowd was never as fired up as when Mr. Peraica was leading it.









The President should be afraid the tea party movement because it has all the elements. First, it is now relatively small, but it's growing. Each of the sponsors had their email sign up sheets out and they all likely just bulked up their membership by several hundred. It also has really emotion behind. There is a visceral rejection of bailouts and bloated government spending. More than that, it is a movement that can't be demonized. It is at the grass roots, full of ordinary citizens, and they all reject the entire philosophy of the Obama administration. Finally, it uses all of the modern resources: blogs, talk radio, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to grow.






Today, there were several hundred but this will continue to grow. The next protest, I predict will have several thousand and then tens of thousands, and then it will be too late for the Obama administration.






If President Obama's march toward big government is to be stopped, it will be stopped by this movement. It will start as a movement of protest but it must grow to a movement of action.
President Obama had better watch over his shoulder because this small but very passionate movement is coming for him.






Now, here are some more random photos.

12 comments:

B. Johnson said...

The ultimate tea party will be for the states to express their sovereignty by repealing the 16th Amendment, the amendment that gives the feds the power to tax citizens directly. The problem with that amendment is that it has made it too easy for the corrupt federal government to lay constitutionally unauthorized taxes, in my opinion.

In fact, not only has it been forgotten that the states have more constitutional power than the Oval Office and Congress to serve the people, but Chief Justice Marshall noted the appropriately limited power of the federal government to lay taxes.

"Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States." --Chief Justice Marshall, GIBBONS V. OGDEN (1824)

Indeed, the stimulus package can be thought of as the federal government returning to the states money that it had stolen from the states in the first place.

Again, the 16th Amendment has to go!

Anonymous said...

Wow!

A group of - "It's my my money, not yours!" "Hands off!" all together in the same place.

I bet you could just feel the love!

Anonymous said...

What are you talking about, Mike? Small, grass roots movements are the MOST commonly demonized. They are demonized *because* they are small and grass roots. Even if or when your movement grows it will still be demonized by the government and their allies in the media.

mike volpe said...

The opposite of it's my money not yours is it's all our money. That is called Socialism.

As for small grass roots movements being demonized. You maybe right, but if this movement gets demonized it won't be effective. Demonizing those that simply want small government and lower taxes is not going to work.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, The Politician who was speaking ( Tony Periaca is a BIG part of the problem in Chicago Politics!

mike volpe said...

Apparently your proof of Peraica's complicity in the problem is your own words. In fact, Tony Peraica is one of two politicians in Chicago area, Forrest Claypool the other, that are serious about rooting out the corruption.

If you are going to accuse someone of complicity in corruption, it would give you credibility to have something near evidence.

Anonymous said...

Remember that quote from the trailer for Body of Lies, where the dude tells Leonardo DiCaprio that he can make it look like anything and DiCaprio responds "let's make it look like everything"?

That's what the media can and does do routinely to grass roots movements. Unless you got allies in the media who take up the cause as one of their own. But then again, when that happens its no longer grass roots is it?

mike volpe said...

I haven't seen too much of the reports however I think the local news has been fair.

This movement will have some allies. Like I said, the blogosphere and talk radio will be allies. It will grow, however, through new media: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. If and when the movement is big enough to be a threat, the media attention will only be good.

Anonymous said...

This is GREAT! All of these Nat'l Tea Parties should lead up to ONE GIANT NATIONAL TEA PARTY in Washington DC @ The Lincoln Memorial this spring or summer. Maybe by then, we will number in he millions & be able to send a STRONG MESAGE to FAUXbama & his cronnies that we are not going to let him destroy our beloved America! ~Beloved Levinite, FReeper

Tony Peraica said...

Is it okay if we post the photo of me and a snippet of your blog on our Reform Cook County blog? Thanks so much!

mike volpe said...

Mr. Peraica,

please do.

Anonymous said...

First off, let me start off by saying within each political party, are major problems. I will not be one to say socialism or libertarianism, or conservatism or what have you, doesn't each have its own faults. I am very liberal person, and although my thoughts have always been that small government would be nice... that's as far as it goes... small government is just a "nice" idea, it would never work in America which is such a huge country... it would split this country (which I have thought at times with so much hate in particular with Democrats vs Republicans might not be a bad idea). Secondly, small government would be nice, had we not been born human with needs and wants and the ability to each have our own personalities and ultimately our own agendas. Someone has to be watching the small government just like in my opinion someone has to be watching the big government we have had for so long, which is now getting bigger due to obama... and I'm sorry but we should rejoice in this, there are too many ignorant people in this great country of ours that don't even know whats going on in politics so what would small government do to these towns/cities where these individuals live? They may take advantage of that, countless politicians have in the past. (and when I mean ignorant I don't mean what I would call some of my very conservative and or democratic or any in between or outside of that, college educated friends who only vote ie. republican because their against stem cell research or some other issue that's masked by the church) but ignorant in the sense of they got the education of an 8th grader, and not an 8th grader from a european or asian or countless of other countries, but a "American 8th grade education" the very reason we need socialism---> head start programs, wellfare, food stamps etc etc.
The point I'm trying to make is what would happen if it did turn to small government, think of what would happen in the south, north, west and east of America. I would love to have this idea, hey we could all then choose to live where we wanted to Gay people to the West, church goers to the south .. it would be bliss, until we all decided to have a civil war. And as for taxes... I'm sorry but we need them... I never understood why some people rich or poor complained about taxes (I mean I understand with in both why they would refuse) but those taxes are what funds library's fixes roads, conserves parks, and ultimately our education... which if you ask me if we need more money in these areas, we need a more socialistic economy... but in my defense a preventative at that... not this B.S. that we as americans strive so well at covering everything up, high blood pressure here's some drugs, need food stamps here you go... it should be monitored stricter and unfortunately become a bigger government... preventative with educating individuals better.. we're all different individuals and we will never fully agree on any one thing, but I just heard about this Chicago Tea party and decided I would look at it and check it out.