Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Washington DC Tea Party


I had some fun today. Lousy weather, good times.

I took a vacation day from work to go to Washington. I have to work for a living to feed my kids, but this is important. My middle child and I went into DC to participate in the Tax Day Tea Party.

Brady Campaign HQ
We arrived at the Springfield Metro station around 10:30 AM and took the train into DC. Once there, I had a small piece of business to attend to. You see, I needed to drop off a "Thank You" note to the Brady Campaign. They have done more for traffic to my site than any other single issue since I started blogging.

Upon arrival at the building housing the Brady HQ, I had to sign in with the security guard/concierge (I kid you not, his desk sign said "Concierge") and follow several security procedures for gaining entry into the office. (I used my real name on the sign-in ledger so that they can target me later). :)

I made a point of being extremely polite, friendly, and upbeat.

The guard/concierge just got more worried...

Anyway, we went through some additional security procedures further in, and finally made it upstairs. Once buzzed into the inner-sanctum (small office by the way), the receptionist greeted me with some wariness and lots of confusion. The receptionist was a fifty-ish African-American woman with a perpetual frown. I greeted her warmly (increasing her wariness) and handed her my envelope.

She asked for an explanation, which I provided.

I explained to her that this was to go to "Anonymous" from their web team, with my thanks. The envelope contained a handwritten note of Thanks, drafted in red across the visit screen shot from the other day, along with my blogger business card. Once she took the envelope, I thanked her very much for her time and wished her a great day.

The Guard/Concierge was completely flummoxed at this point...

I turned to him and said that I was done, and was he ready to go? He followed me back down in the elevator and we chatted briefly about the visit. I guess he doesn't get many people being nice to him at Brady HQ or something.

At least people who show up unannounced.

Go figure.

Attached is a picture of the envelope, note, and card that I left with the receptionist. I fully expected it to be in the round file by the time I got downstairs, as nobody in the office seemed to have a sense of humor. Oh well. At least I tried a little diplomacy.

Tea Party
After finishing with Brady, we went to Lafayette Square for the main event. We arrived there right at 12:00, and it was raining hard. We had intended on arriving earlier, around 11:00, but delays in departing (I wasn't ready on time for a change) caused us to be behind schedule. No worries. The event was going full-steam and had at least 1000 attendees in the park.



In the rain.

Lots of Gadsden Flags and Navy Jacks flying, including ours.

The Grassroots Stage was having lots of people speak their piece, but I wanted to hear what was going on at the main event in front of the Treasury Building. What did I find there?



I found someone who looked to be directing people back to the park and asked. It seems that for some unknown reason, and without any notice, the City of DC revoked the permit first thing this morning.

No permit to assemble, no assembly.

In Washington DC, the cradle and Capital of Freedom, you cannot express an opinion while on the sidewalk in front of a Federal Building without violating some section of the CFR. Sounds like an infringement on Amendment One to me, but whatever. I didn't get arrested for exercising my right to peaceably assemble.

Back to the park.

There must be something about carrying a flag that causes Media to seek you out. I got interviewed by several people, although no major media outlet coverage was there.

Well there was one...

I am not sure why the local media was ignoring us (actually I am VERY SURE, but that is another blog post), but there were several cameras floating about the park on the shoulders of amused camera operators. Liberal camera guys, conservative crowd.

About the one major media outlet that covered this: I was asked if I was willing to answer a couple of questions, and I did so willingly. The interviewer was happy with the responses, said I was very eloquent, and thanked me for my time.

After he walked away looking for another interviewee, someone came up to me and said "You know that they were Al-Jazeera TV, right?"


No, I didn't know, and I don't really care either.

If word gets out that the people of the USA are not going to stand behind a president who wishes to sell us out, maybe he will start paying attention to us. Although, it is really kind of sad that Saudi State TV is more interested in our protests than our own Mainstream Media is.

Pathetic is a better description.

Maybe Fox will have something on it later tonight. We shall see.

Anyway, I met a great many people. Everybody (except for the Gitmo protesters...) was unfailingly polite. I saw people from all walks of life, of all races and age groups. Old war horses from WW2 and Korea, young mothers with their small children playing in the mud holes, business men and women taking a break from the work-day, and every other type you could think of. Real salt of the earth, clean, wholesome, Americans. God bless them all.

Today was a day that I was proud to be an American. I hope your day went as well.



[UPDATE] At the request of the Brady Webmaster (see comments below), I have edited the security procedures to remove some detail. I do not think that this is an unfair request on their part. As someone who frequently has to do work in secure office spaces myself, and given the nature of the office in question, I am happy to oblige the Brady people on this request.

Brady Team: I offer my sincerest apology for exposing your security procedures in too great of detail. I really DO understand...




Brady Webmaster said...

A very interesting report. Your note was routed to the appropriate department, and isn't in recycling yet. We would respectfully like to request that you please abbreviate/ summarize our security procedures with fewer details.

Newbius said...

Brady Webmaster,

In the interest of fair play and good sportsmanship, I will edit the security procedures for you. Although, if you think about it, these procedures are pretty much SOP for any reasonably secure building nowadays.



Mike W. said...

Just so you know, you WERE covered by another major news network, CNN. They said you guys were a minority, but a big minoriy, and the live chat they had titled it under was "Political Debate...or worse?".

They also covered the stockpiling of firearms, showing NRA membership and Background checks going up over the past year, as well as talking about if this fear is rational or not, showed the clip saying Obama will not take away their guns, but SoS Clinton wanted to continue to push Gun Legislation. Obama also said that it's not a fight he wants to get into right now, so I infer that he means to get into it at some later point in time.

Newbius said...


I saw some of the CNN report. It looked to me like they were covering the Tea Party in Atlanta (it was sunny there), near their headquarters.

No such coverage in DC. Maybe the rain kept them away from a good story.

I did note that some pinhead tossed some tea onto the White House lawn shortly after we left the area. Of course, this led to a lock-down of the entire block while the bomb-sniffing (tea sniffing?) robot opened the box. Nothing dangerous, of course, but you can never be TOO careful.

Nothing like living a danger-free life... < yawn >


W.Richards said...

"In the interest of fair play and good sportsmanship" From the Brady campaign? That's a stretch.

Newbius You are truly a gun toting diplomat. If only Paul Helmke had as much integrity. Who's the King of cheap shots and misquoted statistics.

Newbius said...

W. Richards,

I appreciate the sentiment.

Understand this: I will continue to fight them tooth and nail on policy issues. I will do everything that I can do, in my meager way, to beat them fairly by winning the opinions of the voters. I will argue their emotion with my logic. I will argue my statistics against their feelings. In short, I will win. But, I will do so fairly even if they do not.

Taking the high road and honoring a reasonable request (that doesn't infringe my rights), even if it is by a group that we feel is unreasonable, is the right thing to do.

Even though their policy position has the probability of making me less safe when implemented, I will not knowingly and overtly make them less safe by my actions here.

A teaspoon of sugar, and all that...



Anonymous said...

Al Jazeera isn't Saudi state TV, it's in Qatar or Bahrain or something, I forget. It's also often more on the point than BBC, CNN and the like, although, still an MSM outlet so not much intelligence can be expected.

straightarrow said...

here's something you might be inclined to comment on as regards your Brady Campaign experience.

That is, that they don't believe themselves. No guns in DC, yet, despite Heller. No guns allowed in their offices, I am sure. But they have security guards/concierges to keep them safe.

One would have thought where they are in complete control of the environment and in a larger surrounding environment exactly in step with their recommended policies that they claim will make us all safer, they would have enough faith in their position to not need hired security.

What happened? Does good sense infect them in that one address but eludes them elsewhere or is it just their unintended statement of their sense of comparable worth between themselves and "ordinary" citizens? I suspect the latter.

Newbius said...

Take 2...

Straightarrow: I will not publicly comment any further about the observed security practices at the Brady Campaign offices. I have given my word above.



Albert A Rasch said...

Business is business fellows. The Brady people are in a business, a political/ public relations/ advertisement business. As with any business you must maintain your core business values, whatever they may be.

The Brady bunch are in the business of collecting money, not for an end to gun violence, but for power and influence. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is in the business of collecting money for not puppies and kittens... that's right, power and influence.

Salaries have to be paid, social standing maintained.

If the Brady bunch really wanted to stop gun violence, they would be marching for better education, government accountability, law enforcement and judicial reform. If they just wanted to save lives, they could just concentrate on teen driving, fast foods, or heart disease. There's a good one 900,000 people die every year in the US from heart disease. In 2005 (quickest statistic I could find) there were 10,100 homicides. Fatal Crashes in the US for 2007 37,250.

The Brady bunch are in it for the money, it is just like any other business. There are probably some very well intentioned but uninformed folks who's efforts would be better used to combat real problems in this great Nation.

The Rasch Outdoor ChroniclesThe Range Reviews: TacticalProud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit