Atlanta Tea Party was well-organized and well-behaved

It may come as a shock to people around the country whose familiarity with the Tea Party movement is gleaned from national media reports, but yesterday’s rally at the State Capitol in Atlanta, Georgia was well-organized, substantive, and well-behaved.

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at this event, and I was impressed with the demeanor and attentiveness of the crowd — which included many young people in addition to adults from a very diverse background.  The speakers reflected that diversity of backgrounds as well, and included many from Georgia (of course), but also from Washington, DC, other states and even other countries. 

Common to those standing and listening to the speakers, and to the speakers themselves, was not so much the “anger” often portrayed by the national media as the hallmark of the Tea Party movement, but more of a deep and sincere concern for the current and future state of the nation.  Government spending is today reaching historically — and dangerously — high levels of deficit; and the federal government’s role in the lives of the citizenry is expanding at an alarming rate.  Focusing on these phenomena is vitally important, and the grassroots-based Tea Party movement is an entirely appropriate mechanism for doing so – not as the arm of any political party, but independent of those structures.

Whether the movement will sustain the energy and focus clearly evident at the Atlanta rally yesterday (and apparently also reflected in others around the country) over the long haul — so as to have any real hope of accomplishing its goal of actually reducing government power, spending and taxation — remains to be seen.  But for the time being, the Tea Party movement is doing exactly what it should be doing — providing a forum for citizens sincerely concerned about the future of this great nation, in which they can share ideas and experiences in a civil and productive manner.

298 comments Add your comment

T-Town

April 16th, 2010
6:18 am

What, no name calling? I can’t believe a well behaved group made it into media.

Willie Musgrove

April 16th, 2010
7:05 am

you can put lipstick on the klan, but it’s still the klan!

bulldog1

April 16th, 2010
7:21 am

Willie,
I was at the rally yesterday and did not see any evidence of the “Klan”. The only racist remark or inference that I have heard is your comment! WAKE UP—————-this is not about racism—–it is about saving our country!

Willis

April 16th, 2010
7:24 am

All I want to know is why can’t I buy a six-pack of beer on Sunday if I choose to. If these people want “less government” then get them to support repealing the Sunday beverage sales. That would be fine with me.

RxDawg

April 16th, 2010
7:27 am

I like this group. They use sense where D.C. just wants cents.

Voice O'Reason

April 16th, 2010
7:27 am

There is a quote by Gandhi that states “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” This is the exact progression of media/liberal acknowledgement of the Tea party movement. These big government, tax-and-spend liberals know that they cannot fight the Tea Party message, so they launch websites directing people to infiltrate the Tea Parties and try to bring them down from the inside. They make snide ‘teabagging’ jokes and level the racism claim at every chance they get. When you can’t beat someone’s argument, start calling them names. That seems to work very well, right?

RxDawg

April 16th, 2010
7:28 am

Willie would rather have everyone else work hard and provide for him.

neo-Carlinist

April 16th, 2010
7:32 am

Bob, while I do not doubt your sincerity, such “positive” screeds are just another step toward the homogenization or mainstreaming of the Tea Party. Of course the (true) Tea Party types are diverse; they’re de facto small L libertarians. the sad irony is, the greatest challenge for the Tea Party is what they hate most about the status quo in politics; namely the absence of a unifying, powerful central “authority” to lead the movement. I guess, in theory, the original Tea Partiers felt the Constitution would unify us, but before long you had a three headed monster fighting with itself, but “unified” in it’s desire to enhance its own power, as opposed to “leading” the rest of the body. that said, I find the “racist” angle to be amusing for two reasons; 1 – off course there is a racist element in the Tea Party movement. the idea the the liberal or mainstream media is engaged in some smear campaign is silly (there are racists in the media). but even more amusing is #2 – the idea that the “racists” in the Tea Party movement are actually “liberal” operatives who have covertly infultrated the movement with the sole purpose of “acting a fool” at rallies, etc. to discredit the movement. you’re a former spook; this thing has psy-op or disinformation all over it. equally ironic is the fact that some of the most racially suspect tea party types seem to have cooked up this “talking point” to shield the fact that they ARE racists. “we’re not racists. they’re actingly like racists to make you think we’re racists.” very confusing, but also amusing.

I saw the pictures

April 16th, 2010
7:38 am

Are you suggesting that the ajc reporter who shot pictures of this crowd manipulated the pictures? Because I saw them. They are on the homepage of this website. I certainly wouldn’t classify those crowds as “diverse”.

I don’t blame the tea party for their anger. And yes, they’re angry. If you are prospering under a status quo, then you will and should fight anyone who tries to change it. The tea party is majority populated by people who were prospering under the status quo. Of course they fear and abhor change.

Jacobite1745

April 16th, 2010
7:41 am

Where in the world does your hate come from neo-Carlinist. There are mean spirited people everywhere, Conservative and Liberal. Your rant is a good example of a mean spirited Liberal who hasn’t got a chance in the world of opening his mind to new ideas or thoughts. These folks just want what this country was meant to be, a government by and for the people. All the people even racist such as your self, you know racism isn’t just about color it’s about unfounded hate such as yours.

gpc

April 16th, 2010
7:46 am

Willie which Klan? The Black klan? The White klan? The asian klan? The Mexican klan? etc…
Everyone can be considered part of a or “the klan” ….. get over it Willie Wonka (musgrove) your song and dance are old and people are tired of hearing you whine.

Craig Jenkins

April 16th, 2010
7:48 am

Ron Paul, the conservative libertarian, is the one politician who for decades has defined political freedom as limited government and fiscal restraint and drawn the connection between our personal liberties and economic prosperity. People need to take responsibility for their own lives, and not rely on the government for solutions. At times, there is a role for government. It’s really that simple and has nothing to do with race. Don’t attack the Tea Party. Address the issues.

commoncents

April 16th, 2010
7:51 am

I saw the pictures:

Diversity is not limited to skin color!

Davo

April 16th, 2010
7:56 am

While I agree with a lions share of what the Tea Party stands for, until they get real about the detrimental affects of our massive defense spending, interventionist policies and Palin worship; you can count me out.

Eric

April 16th, 2010
7:56 am

I wish the Tea Party would also convene at Piedmont Park and dismantle Anne Fauver’s spy cameras! Talk about government intrusion!

jms

April 16th, 2010
7:58 am

neo-Carlinist,
Jason Levin’s website promoted doing exactly that: attending tea party rallies with racist signs in order to discredit the tea partiers.

Bill from Duluth

April 16th, 2010
8:01 am

Willie Musgrove must be a racist to characterize a group like that. And it was a very diverse group. I saw a couple incidences where a professional photographer was getting ready to take a shot and as soon as one of the MANY AFRICAN-AMERICANS went to get in the picture the photographer then declined to take a picture and walked away to find a group that fit the script that the AJC wanted to protray

@commoncents

April 16th, 2010
8:01 am

Spot on. Diversity is supposed to mean multitude of perspective. The racists are the ones that assumed that people of similar skin color all think the same. Their de facto solution: affirmative action

Capt Elaine Magliacane

April 16th, 2010
8:02 am

BeHonestAboutIt

April 16th, 2010
8:03 am

The tea party crowd statistically is white, male, over 50, well-educated, and well-off financially. Their protest is that their pile of goodies might get smaller. That’s it. Be honest.

I saw the pictures

April 16th, 2010
8:03 am

“commoncents

April 16th, 2010
7:51 am
I saw the pictures:

Diversity is not limited to skin color!”

Oh, I see. So the crowd was diverse in respect to what? Sexual orientation? Religious backgrounds?

Were there are lot of gays? Jews? Muslims?

Capt Elaine Magliacane

April 16th, 2010
8:03 am

AKKK that didn’t work… let me try again…

(R)esisting (A)ll (C)ommunist (I)ndoctrination & (S)ocialist (T)yranny….

joe

April 16th, 2010
8:11 am

Davo, Instead of waiting on the sidelines, why don’t you jump in to get your views heard? That is exactly what the tea party movement is all about…if you agree so much with their fiscal views, that is a good starting point for you…start by discussing that at rallys, then move on to get your other views heard. Your position sounds exactly like Ron Paul’s…not a bad thing at all. Remember, there is no perfect person out there and you won’t find a candidate or group or movement that matches your own interests to a Tea (ha ha), but coming pretty close isn’t so bad either…

ugaaccountant

April 16th, 2010
8:15 am

Were there are lot of gays? Jews? Muslims?

You’re creating strawmen arguments that nobody cares about. This is about what level of government spending and taxation is right and what government involvement should be in the lives of any citizen. If you’d stop for one second and think about the message, if the government would butt out, then yes life would improve for all people who could all live their lives in freedom and liberty and with more of their hard earned dollars in their pockets. You however appear to be stuck in a long ago era when certain groups were discriminated against. However, those days are ancient history and simply aren’t worth talking about anymore.

Voice O'Reason

April 16th, 2010
8:16 am

Again, why is race even an issue here? I’ll grant that, in any element of society there is some racial tinge. But the Tea Party movement is about the fact that we have a president and a congress who are hellbent on seeing American exceptionalism destroyed. Their desire is for the US to become a social state similar to Europe. Tax the over-achievers to pay off the slackers who consistently vote liberal. Look at the statistics. You have nearly half of American households paying no income tax. They’ve realized that by voting Democrat they are getting the most out of these insipid “entitlement” programs. As Alexander Tytler is so often quoted (I’m going to paraphrase slightly) “a democracy can only exist as a form of ogvernment until the people realize they can vote themselves largesse from the treasury.” We’re already at the tipping point where more people are taking from the government than giving to the government. It won’t be long until the Socialist utopia is realized. When that happens, look for the achievers to leave.

Morrus

April 16th, 2010
8:23 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

Barack

April 16th, 2010
8:23 am

I find the objectives of these so called “Tea Parties” to be completely contrary to my objective to grow the government and expand my socialist agenda. The Tea Partiers are objecting to my efforts to take from those who “Have” and distribute what they have earned to those who “Have Not”. They do not subscribe to my ideas that the Government should provide for the needs of lazy and irresponsible people. I now propose that I take over the Tea Parties and will introduce a new idea called Obamatea. Each bag will have a picture of yours truly. Change you can believe in baby.

No More Progressives!

April 16th, 2010
8:27 am

Davo

April 16th, 2010
7:56 am
While I agree with a lions share of what the Tea Party stands for, until they get real about the detrimental affects of our massive defense spending, interventionist policies and Palin worship; you can count me out.

Sounds like a John Kerry/Al Gore supporter. We know where you’re coming from.

No More Progressives!

April 16th, 2010
8:29 am

Willie Musgrove

April 16th, 2010
7:05 am
you can put lipstick on the klan, but it’s still the klan!

What I’d expect from a lefty. Tell us, great sage, how many white people do you see at a Louis Farrakhan ralley?

HDB

April 16th, 2010
8:30 am

Here’s the question that conservatives have YET to answer: Where was this level of protest when the nation was getting BUSGwhacked…and when Reagan’s “trickle-down” actually meant “pi$$ed-on”? Whenever people dissented against Bush and Reagan, they were called UN-AMERICAN and TRAITORS; can we put that shoe on the RIGHT foot??

Jacobite1745

April 16th, 2010
8:30 am

Yes those who have want to keep what they have. But they are all for others achieving the same level of wealth throught their own
labors, not at the expense of those who have already labored and prospered.

HDB

April 16th, 2010
8:32 am

Voice O’Reason

April 16th, 2010
8:16 am
Again, why is race even an issue here?

Answer: the level of dissent only reached this level when Obama was sworn in; the level of vitriol and animus reached astronomic proportions upon a black man’s becoming President. That fact, you should see as evident!!

Davo

April 16th, 2010
8:33 am

joe

Thanks for the invitation. I am a huge supporter of RP; which is exactly why I do not wish to associate with this group. Their claims of being pro-Constitution evaporate when any mention of national defense or support of Israel enter the arguement, likewise in their overall treatment of gays and their proclivity to bible-thump. Neo-con light, imho, and not much of an improvement over the fear mongering GOP.

Sam C

April 16th, 2010
8:34 am

I looked at the pictures from the Tea Party rallies and I don’t know how Barr can say there was a diverse background. Maybe I missed something, but it looked like a bunch of older white people to me.

HDB

April 16th, 2010
8:34 am

@ Voice O’Reason: Included in that 47% that pays no taxes are about 6000 WEALTHY people with incomes of at least $10M; are you railing against THEM for not paying taxes….as we ALL should??

kayaker 71

April 16th, 2010
8:40 am

Willie Musgrove, BeHonestAboutIt,

You tend to throw around this racist tag with some abandon. You seem to have a pretty big chip on your shoulder and the hate that you project with your messages is readily apparent. You just don’t like white people, plain and simple.
Got news for you….. a lot of us out there feel the same way about you and your attitude toward responsibility and paying your own way. Those tea party people, for the most part, work for a living. And you seem to think that what they worked hard for all of their lives belongs to you. More news…. work and responsible living are not dirty words. They are what made this country the great nation that it is. If the above comments make me a racist, by your definition, then I am a racist, through and through and damn proud of it.

LibraryJim

April 16th, 2010
8:41 am

I attended the Tea Party in Tallahassee, FL. It was a racially diverse crowd, as were the speakers. Estimates ran to between 1000 and 2000 present, so I would say about 1600.

We did have a few ‘infiltrators’, however they were quickly identified, and pointed out, and treated politely and with respect (although there were a few people with signs saying “Party Crasher”and an arrow — but that was mainly so the media would know that we knew.)

And when it was all over, only ONE bag of trash was collected. Try saying THAT about liberal protest group gatherings.

Cheryl M

April 16th, 2010
8:41 am

Bob Barr, would you please be honest with people and explain to them the facts on the fact that 47% of US Households paid No Income Tax. Please explain that it does NOT mean they pay no tax, nor does it mean they paid NO income tax through the year, what it means is that there were sufficient tax breaks and credits that in the end, their tax burden was either 0 or they had overpaid and received a refund…….People, wake up……Stop trying to blame everything on everyone else and listen for a change. REAL FACT – 95% of working Americans received a tax cut for 2009. YES, it’s not a theory, it’s a provable fact. The tax rates for ALL Americans is lower now than it was during the REAGAN years, it’s a provable fact. The “Tax & Spend” Liberal thing, is just a saying, not rooted in reality, because taxes have been reduced…..yes, there is spending, and alot of it which has been going on for a decade, but things are getting BETTER, that is also provable, even if you don’t feel it yet. I suspect however, given the demographics of the TEA Party Folk, The know it since 52% of them polled said they thought their taxes were FAIR. IF that is the case, then why is the party a supposed acronym for Taxed Enough Already? Please explain…If you think your share of the burden is fair, then what are you rallying about…….?

I saw the pictures

April 16th, 2010
8:44 am

“You’re creating strawmen arguments that nobody cares about.”

I didn’t create anything. I was responding to Mr. Barr’s comments. If there was a diverse crowd, fine. I was just wondering what constitutes diversity in this case.

Is the tea party for ending the war on drugs?

neo-Carlinist

April 16th, 2010
8:44 am

Jacobite, I am neither a racist, nor a liberal; and I have been a very vocal opponent of the two-party circus since Reagan was in office. I hate nobody, but I pity most Americans because like you, they seem to be incapable of rational, independent, critical thinking; lost without a soundbite from Sean, Rush, Keith, or Rahm. I didn’t vote for Obama, nor did I vote for Bush. as I see it, they’re BOTH complicit in this mess, and to hang deficits and malfeasance, or “socialist” on one and not the other is so much political hay-making (for the two party crowd). If the Tea Party movement is genuine, it will jetison the fringe element, formulate a cogent battle plan and go about acheiving the objective. I suspect it will be courted by the left and the right and absorbed into the status quo. Oh, and for the Newt Gingerich blather about Obama being “radical”, what do you think the Tea Party represents? sometimes “radical” is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter (ditto: progressive – unless, of course, you don’t like progress). lecture aside, a series of pep rallies every April 15th and the “I’m not a racist, you’re a racist” stuff is more akin to a pro wrestling event than a political movement. And spare me your profound observations about racism (”isn’t just about color”). Where did I suggest it is?

neo-Carlinist

April 16th, 2010
8:50 am

Voice of Reason, re: American exceptionalism, read “The Limits of Power” by Andrew Bacevich and you might re-think your position on the current POTUS and Congress.

Cheryl M

April 16th, 2010
8:52 am

@ Jacobite, Yes those who have want to keep what they have. But they are all for others achieving the same level of wealth through their own labors, not at the expense of those who have already labored and prospered.

This is a classic argument, and let me say that African Americans, Poor English subjects, The Irish in the Appalachians, Native Americans and, and others who were brought here as slaves and indentured servants or killed off of their own lands felt exactly the same way! I can relate. I think it was an abomination that corporations, families, states etc… were able to flourish and enrich white American families for centuries off of the labor of others and the land of others who were never compensated justly for their work or their property. I agree……Everybody should have to work for what they have…..NOW, kindly deposit some of that prosperity into the bank of Poor folks since they worked for it long before you did! LOL!

Give me a break, let the man who never received help for anything stand up and take that crown, all others have to sit down and shut up for you made NOTHING by your self. Every American enjoys the benefits of subsidies and entitlements, even right down to the affordable food you eat, so let’s just all get off of the high horse and stop this incredibly selfish me, me, me my, mine thing…..WE LIVE OFF OF GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES, The cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the TV we watch, everything is subsidized. You couldn’t afford to pay the actual COST of things were there no Government Subsidies.

Voice O'Reason

April 16th, 2010
8:54 am

As I stated, I understand that there is a racist element in all of society. To denegrate the Tea Party as a racist movement is unfair. People in the liberal media became enraged when Obama was compared to Hitler. Now I do NOT condone comparing any American to Hitler, but a few years ago someone at an anti-Bush protest wore a Bush mask with a Hitler mustache and devil horns and CNN referred to this person as a George Bush look-alike. I would wager that for every one person who is angry because Obama is black, there are probably better than 500 who are angry that he’s pushing as hard as possible to turn us into a disarmed, socialist society.

The fact is, both of the major parties are failing the American people.

Dan

April 16th, 2010
8:54 am

Great question, I Saw The Pictures. Smaller government would mean I would be free to cultivate hemp as our forefathers did. This movement would have much more credibility of they came out for something instead of coming out against Democrats. Otherwise they appear to simply be an arm of the GOP.

ugaaccountant

April 16th, 2010
9:00 am

Cheryl M – And we pay out of our *** in taxes to provide those subsidies so what’s your point?

TEA PARTY..member: Military Veteran

April 16th, 2010
9:02 am

BOB—–Now Obama..the Dems in Congress…..& the liberal Media see average Americans as the enemy…..JOURNALISM IS DEAD…indeed

CJ

April 16th, 2010
9:02 am

You liberals would’ve been proud (nothing like the spitting, name-calling and rock-throwing which you all do at your anti-war rallies): it was so tame it was almost boring! We had someone walking around with rules to remind us “thugs” not to raise our voices, name-call, etc.
It was VERY civil!

retiredds

April 16th, 2010
9:03 am

Bob, you mentioned “big government” in your speech. So would you, for me and your other readers of this blog, make a public confession that since you served the State of GA in Washington that you are a “big part of” the “big government” we have today. I generally agree with the Tea Party folks about government being too big. Where we part company is it seems that they portray the current administration as the main culprit. And while some of that may be true, this “big government” you and they denounce is of your and our (the American people which includes me) making as it has been growing for the last 50-60 years. WE collectively share responsibility by our demands and then moan and groan when the bill comes due and want someone else to pay for it. AND your Republican friends, as well as you, have contributed EQUALLY with the Democrats in its growth. So, Bob, I will be interested to see if you can take it upon yourself, in this blog, to admit to all of us that you have had a stake in the growth of “big gov’ment” too. My bet is you will continue to blame others for all of America’s woes.

TEA PARTY..member: Military Veteran

April 16th, 2010
9:04 am

DAN….they are not against Dems…..Use your brain..knucklehead..THEY ARE AGAINST HIGH TAXES….& LARGER…..LARGER…..GROWING GOVt……..& $13 trillion deficits..

neo-Carlinist

April 16th, 2010
9:05 am

Voice of Reason, is your handle a clever attempt at irony? Who cares if the liberal media thinks the Tea Party is racist? If you’re not a racist, what does it matter? Who cares what CNN aired while Bush was in office, or what some nimrod posted on his blog. In fact, most of the racists I know, where the title with honor. I believe the term in unabashed. This infantile game of “I know you are, but what am I?” belongs on a playground, not a political blog. As I understand it the objective of the Tea Party is to change the status quo as it relates to goverment. It seems to me the “objective” has been shift toward a battle with the media or ONLY the left-leaning segment of the status quo.