I just got home from the Saint Louis Tax Day Tea Party... what a blast! It was the first protest I've been to where I wasn't counter-protesting!
I heard that the park rangers estimated attendance at 8,000 to 10,000 people, and based on my own naive counting I believe it. The atmosphere was incredible, the people were nice and enthusiastic, and everything went off without a hitch. Bill Hennessy, Dana Loesch, the other organizers, and Gateway Pundit (did he help organize?) all deserve a lot of credit.
My impression of the rally:
- It's a learning process. Many of the people there didn't seem to know exactly what to do, probably because this was the first rally they'd been to. The organizers didn't seem to lack for anything: they had free signs and took names and email addresses.
- Getting people out the first time is always the hardest. Now that these 10,000 people have been to one protest, it'll be much easier to get them to come to the next one, and to bring their friends.
- Elected Republicans should be worried. This crowd was their natural constituency, but no one hesitated to boo the officials who didn't show up because they weren't allowed to speak. The speakers went out of their way to highlight the failures of the Republican party over the past nine years, and the crowd was pleased to hear it.
- Representative Todd Aiken was a class act. He stood on stage and watched everything, even though he wasn't allowed/asked to speak. He stood there and took it, even while the crowd chanted "vote them out!".
- People were fired up and wanted to know "now what?". The main advice I'd give to the organizers is that they should have told us what to do next. Every attendee should have been given a flier with contact information for local officials, a URL to a website, and some hint of the next rally or activity that's going to happen. Hopefully the email addresses that were collected will be used for this kind of follow-up, but it would have been nice to have something in-hand when I left.
Here's a few seconds of video from the west side of Keiner Plaza. Keep in mind that there are at least as many people on the east side of the plaza on the opposite side of the speakers' platform.
Click the extended entry for pictures.