Dear Readers: I have been dialoging with representatives of the local “Coffee Party” chapter who have as Rule #1: “Respect Everyone. Even if we disagree, listen to understand. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Check party affiliations at the door. During this discussion, the Coffee Party peeps kept on referring to the “racist signs” at our Tea Party events.
The Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition (SoCal-TRC), which organized today’s San Diego rallies at the offices of congressional representative Susan Davis and Bob Filner for Operation Urgent Care, has a fairly tight policy of no vulgar/racist signage. We encourage topic-specific materials, such as protesting the Obama administration’s healthcare reform legislation. Personally, I have never seen one.
Have I missed something? I don’t think so, but I wanted to be sure. So, to honor the spirit of this new dialog, I went in quest of “racist” signage at our rally. I needed to investigate this matter further.
Approximately 100 people attended the Operation Urgent Care rally in front of Davis’ University Avenue office. It was a beautiful day, which made up for the last event that will always be referred to as the “Tsunami Tea Party“. I went up and down University Avenue, taking pictures of the signs and inquiring about their inspiration. I will let my readers judge the tenor of these masterpieces.
Here is our intrepid friend, Alvin, signing the largest item on display — an enlargement of the U.C. Constitution. SoCal-TRC wants the US Congress to honor the spirit of this document during passage of the bills. I should think the Coffee Peeps want to follow Constitutional parameters as well. They should be cool with the homage to one of our founding documents.
The lovely and gracious Diane Tovarez had the sign above. She is an office manager and a 25-year resident of San Diego. Asked for the inspiration behind her sign, her reply was: “We need to say NO! We are kidding ourselves if we think this bill can be undone after it passes. We need to stop the bill now, and focus on healthcare reform measures that will really work.”
Married couple, Deborah and Wayne Doyle, had signs that seemingly mock President Obama. Could this be the kind of sign the Coffee Peeps mean? When asked for their inspiration, Deborah replied: “Obamacare is the short-hand way Washington DC and the media use to describe the bill, so that was the basis for these signs”.
So far, so good. Then, I came across this gem, based on feminist precepts:
Taylor Moran, a lifelong San Diego resident and unemployed chemical engineer, said “We need a little humor to get our message across. I am here because, despite the fact he said he was going to pivot and focus on jobs, Obama is trying to thrust a bill that is going to hurt employment prospects for me and other Americans”.
Speaking of feminist precepts, here is a sign based on something said by progressive feminists’ favorite target — Sarah Palin. (Mut Note — I forgot the quote was based on something Obama had originally said — hat-tip/Zeke):
I asked one of the signholders about their inspiration. Janet Oliver, a 65-year resident of San Diego and a Registered Nurse, had this to say: “I can agree with Obama on the concept of reforming healthcare; however, remaking it so the government is intimately involved is not a sound idea.”
When asked what would happen if the House used parliamentary-like procedure to bless the Senate bill and pass it intact, Janet’s compatriot Katherine Williams chimed in: “If they do that, I will never trust my government again. It will create deep seated problems that will be hard to resolve.”
This trio took their inspiration from diverse sources. Clarice Hurst used the Constitution, to remind “Congresswoman Davis that she operates only with the consent of the governed.”. Victor Adams took umbrage with House Speaker Pelosi’s condemnation of Tea Party participants as Nazis, “even though now she changed her tune, I won’t ever forget the insult to me as an American”. His lovely daughter is Sarah; she is a recent UCSD graduate with a communication degree. Sarah noted: “Obama indicated jobs was his new focus. With unemployment neat 10% and over 12% in this state, he should be allowing the congress to work on that!”
The above signs are being held by Ann Matchinske and Alan Goddard, both lifelong residents of San Diego. Ann explained that her pitchfork represented the idea of prodding Congress to the right action: “I couldn’t hold both the torch and the sign, so I left the torch in the car”. Alan recalled taking the sign to the Washington DC Tax Rally, with signatures of many Californians listed on the back: “Seeing that one person carrying one sign actually represented hundreds of other citizens, that was a very powerful message.”
I asked them both how they would feel if the House rammed through the Senate bill: Ann said, “outrage”; Alan noted “disgust.” Alan expanded: “We will begin seeing start of civil disobedience — Americans, for example, won’t buy the mandated insurance package.”
Personally, my favorite sign did mention other countries (if not other races):
Helma Walser, a 27 year resident of San Diego who was born in Germany, worried that “Americans don’t seem to learn history anymore. I can tell you, grand promises of healthcare is the cornerstone of socialism. It doesn’t work”.
The US Constitution and China, blended together, were the inspiration behind this creation:
Signholder Rose Riddle, a 40 year resident of San Diego, says: “We have to stop the bill now. I know it is going to impact Medicaid and seniors will be a target of government healthcare cuts”.
In conclusion: Coffee Peeps can rest assured that no “racist” signage was evident, and that SoCal-TRC event participants kept on message with clever references to the U.S. Constitution, media-approved language, Palin quotes, Pelosi insults, and history. However, there is one sign they may really take exception to:
I talked to Dawn Wildman, President of SoCal-TRC. She indicated that approximately 5000 people were in Washington DC today, walking the halls of the US Congress and interacting with their representatives face-to-face. “It was a great success.”
(Dawn with one of my favorite bloggers, Dean of Beers with Demo!)
As A Democrat, I was interested to hear how it went with the Democratic congressmen today. After all, we are suppose to “leave party affiliations at the door.” Dawn noted, “Many people went specifically to talk to representative Stupak and the other twelve members opposing the abortion language. We wanted to express our total support, and that we had their back no matter what the party affiliation. It went well.”
In the interest of fullness of coverage, here are the other signs I captured:
To end on a humorous note: We had many “honks” of support as part of this event. However, a few people who don’t quite see it our way, shouted a few things. One woman said “I hope you’re rich enough to get healthcare.”
The Tea Party response: To inform our Fellow American she had a car problem and was leaking oil [they were genuinely concerned that the driver was unaware that she had an engine problem - hat-tip/PSD]!
Mut News and Views:
I am going to feature my blogging hero, The Anchoress, today — she seems to have come off a Lenten internet hiatus. This is a palate cleanser: Stupak as William Wallace – UPDATED
Also, this: US Flag not flying in Haiti Relief Compound?
A little shout-out to Michigan, from which I fled in 1985. They had over 400 at a Tea Party in Royal Oak, MI — about 3 miles from where I grew up (and at the hospital where I had my appendix removed when I was 10). Click HERE to check out their signs – shockingly, they seem inspired by the same material as ours here in San Diego and not a racist one to be found!