Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party, Santa Clarita, CA

So we all started to gather in front of the City Hall a little before 4pm. A little sheepishly, like conspiritorial kids. There was a feeling of going to a picnic or fireworks or some other exciting event. There was chatting and laughing and also solemn purpose.

People brought their kids and dogs and...signs, everywhere. I hadn't brought one, but someone had brought extras, so I appropriated a sign that said, "It's Time for a Tea Party!" in red and blue with lots of stars drawn on it.

Some people brought snacks, I brought my water bottle and a chair. It was already blustery and chilly and it got moreso as the late afternoon wore on. It's a good thing we all blocked the wind for each other. I feel sorry for the guy at the end of the line!

It was like being at a football game in the midwest, with numb fingers and frozen cheeks. But it was also as exciting as a football game, with cheering and sign waving every time passing cars were honking. And they were honking almost constantly for 3 hours! Not all of them, but it was rare to have a set of cars pass in silence. Usually one or three or four of them tooted loudly or laid on their horns. Drivers often waved back or otherwise responded. It felt like we were the parade and they were the audience.

I only saw 5 acts of counter protest -- drivers who shouted something or gave us the finger. No one responded to them. We were a happy crowd and we just ignored them. Keep in mind this was rush hour in Santa Clarita on a Wednesday. There were a lot of cars! My pictures don't reflect it as I usually waited for the light to hold up traffic to step off the curb and take another picture.

We're a town of over 150,000 in a sleepy little suburb. I'd say a turn out of 1000 to 1500 people is pretty hefty. They were coming and going the whole while, but mostly coming. At first we were only in front of the City Hall, then people started lining up across the street on the other side. I was more or less in the middle to one side of the entrance. The line eventually stretched half a block in either direction and covered almost that much area on the other side. At one time Newhall Coffee Roasting Co. pulled up (sadly on the other side!) and offered coffee for sale. Ah, American capitalism. You gotta love it. ;-]

The last hour saw us dwindle away, but a good number of us stayed 'til 7pm, when we gathered up our signs and headed back to our cars. It was the most orderly, friendly public gathering I have ever been in and it was a blast!

I can't wait for the next Tea Party on the 4th of July.

And now for the pictures: