California Tea Parties Go Bust

Well, it has been a dramatic turnabout. In April, one of the most extraordinary, electric, and massive of the nationwide tea party protests was held in Sacramento California. Yesterday, Sacramento was a ghost town, while other tea parties out East continued as planned. Do we see coverage of protesters in California after the most massive tax bill ever devised gets shuttled through the Congress without half of our Representatives even reading it? Do we see the outrage genuinely felt by millions of Californians over the 80,000 people being put out of work and many losing the value of the only property they have ever owned as a result of a bureaucrat’s decision in Sacramento to “save” a two inch long fish? No. The tea parties out West seem to have gone the way of the street protests in Teheran, except with less active intervention from the authorities.

Why is this? Is it because nobody in California is angry at the way our government is being run right now? Of course not. We had massive majorities over 60% voting no on ANY tax increase measure in recent California wide referendums aimed at preserving all the big-ticket spending items the Democrats “need” by just taxing us all more for our own good. We told them to cut the fat or starve. They are starving. As of the day before yesterday, the State of California is completely insolvent and is writing IOUs. They literally were talking yesterday about cutting firefighters (in Summer! in California!) in order to keep welfare programs that pay their political backers. Frankly, starving is too good for this bunch.

No, it wasn’t a lack of will. It was almost the opposite. Too many busybodies got involved in “organizing” and organized the entire thing into obscurity. Some real political pro decided that the best way to get lots of media coverage for the demonstrations was for every tea party protester to go to where the local press was going to be anyway; the local 4th of July parades, instead of converging on Capitol Park as is the instinctively natural thing to do. They were all going to wear red shirts and hold signs. Well, there you go, this superlatively sophisticated idea got maybe an inch of ink in a local paper in Marysville, or maybe a mention in the Benicia Herald (I doubt this actually) instead of lots of pictures of thousands of people gathered in front of the symbol of big government in this State; our capitol.

Organizers said that the big networks would be off for the Fourth, and nobody would be doing anything in Sacramento, so it wouldn’t get coverage. If by this they mean that a CNN van would not e parked in front of the Capitol to cover the protest, yes. What they fail to realize is that we now have the power to cover these things ourselves, and given the attitude of the liberal press in California, we have no other option but to do so. Local papers in our small towns are even more openly biased than the bigger ones in Sacramento. All we needed was a few people with digital cameras, a couple people with some camcorders, and a couple hours of organizers time after the event, and we could have plastered websites with video, pictures, and commentary on the tea party event in Sacramento. The big media companies often pick these stories up from bloggers nowadays, because bloggers effectively act like stringers for them, doing legwork they don’t want to bother to do, getting the pictures, the video, and then making it available for them. How many times did Fox play that youtube video taken by somebody’s camcorder of the CNN reporter continuing her conversation with the tea party protester after the April protests? The one that showed the part of the video that CNN had edited out? Yeah, only about a thousand times. That’s because it was interesting, and there was a real story there about media bias, and a real commentary about the choices that CNN makes when covering events like this.

No, instead of joining the 21st century, our local protest organizers tried to chase coverage in local papers. They were seeking stories like this; “Well, it looks like we have elevated levels of people wearing red shirts at Fourth of July parades across California… yeah, this could be significant. This may be linked to the tea party protests in April, but we don’t know how. Are they protesting the Fourth of July? I don’t know, but the pictures of lots of people lined up on the streets of small towns watching parades is truly shocking… back to you, Phil.”

Oh yeah, that will get you some coverage. Instead of pictures of thousands of people doing something unusual on the Fourth of July and mobbing their Capitol, we have almost no coverage at all of local groups in the tens and twenties holding signs at parades. In the military, you learn to concentrate your firepower on one point at a time, then move to the next point and overwhelm that one with massed forces. We did the exact opposite. If a few thousand people in one place is newsworthy; that exact same number of people spread across a dozen local towns is a big yawn. If a Platoon of infantry firing at a single target is devastating, that same platoon spread out over a few miles of countryside is a target that has to constantly stay under cover to survive.

Just a few words of advice. Next time (and there will be a next time, because the people of California are not getting any happier with the government), stick to the basics. If it worked in April, repeat what worked. If it did not work in July, do not repeat what failed. Mass the maximum number of people in a very prominent place like the Capitol, do it at an unusual time or way, and cover it yourself, expecting no help from CNN. Put it on websites and let it spread across the blogosphere and be picked up by national media second hand. Once again, if this works, repeat, do not change it utterly. Continue applying political pressure until something in Sacramento or Washington snaps. That is how you get what you want. That is the only way to get our government to listen to us.

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~ by Jubal Biggs on July 5, 2009.

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