Sep 12 2009

Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009

(Note: All images can be viewed full sized by clicking image)

Update: I should have explained my rationale for assessing the Obama inauguration to the 9/12/09 Tea Party. The Inauguration took up more square footage on the mall, but the demonstration was not packed into seats but crammed in and hanging on top of everything in site (walls, statues, the reflecting pool, etc). Therefore the inauguration took more space in a less dense distribution of people. It could be equal in number, it is hard to tell. But half the size is probably the lowest it could be. – AJStrata

Update: If President Obama’s inauguration pulled in 1.8 million last January, then the 9/12/09 Tea Party demonstration was at best half of that number (maybe only a third) given the crowd shots I have seen of the Obama inauguration. That is still an incredible turn out for an event that is not a national ceremony and without any big name draws. Let’s see who shows up next summer. – end update.

I was able to ride my motorcycle downtown today and partake in the Washington DC Tea Party demonstrations for a couple of hours. I could tell pretty quickly this was a very memorable and historic event. I have lived outside DC my entire life and this demonstration was large, interesting and intense.

FYI: Radio Patriot has some great aerial shots (for those with access to the right spots). Michelle Malkin notes the crowds did hit 2 million (easily).

Update: Some liberals living on a different planet are claiming the protest failed to attract any large crowds, so I am adding this incredible shot just to underscore their blindness:

Yeah, nobody showed!

Update: Another great shot showing the size of the crowd – end update

My first observation was how main stream and ‘older’ the crowd was. Plenty of families and a noticeably large number of senior citizens. Not your typical DC event with lot’s of youthful exuberance on display.

This crowd represented the coveted core of America’s electoral voters. And it would be the bane of any party who becomes a target of their wrath. Especially the seniors, who had the strongest messages captured in their signs. I have never seen so much grey hair (as a percentage of the crowd) on parade in DC.

You could not avoid the signs, given the huge numbers of them. They are all unique. Another indication of how powerful this movement is getting (and don’t kid yourselves, we are seeing a fraction of what this could become next year at this time) are the signs and props. People are spending A LOT of time on these in many cases. That investment of sweat and toil is a indication of deeply held beliefs and strong motivation.

But even when the message has not seen a lot of effort, just about EVERYONE is carrying their own home-grown message (or  their favorite quotes from our founding fathers). This is not Astroturf, this is more like some rabid kudzu taking aim at our political leaders – mostly the democrats. It is not staged, it is explosively honest. You have to experience it first hand to really appreciate it.

There were maybe 2-3 signs blaming politicians in general, but this backlash is aimed in one direction. Obama and the Dems may be seeing something firing up out here in the country that is much worse than 1994. President Clinton was spared the tarring of the arrogant left last time around. This time around, with a miserable economy and rampant job losses, I think this political storm will make 1994 look like a mild ‘adjustment’.

Here is what I took from my couple of hours roaming around taking it all in.

  • These people are not an ‘out of control’ angry, they are serious and they are not happy. There is no yelling, no getting in the face, no threatening gestures, no livid faces. They are taking on this country’s liberal leaders with gusto and determination.
  • This is all Main Street America. No irrelevant or impotent margins out here. It could have easily been the fourth of July (which I have also done on the DC Mall many times). Except this time the mood and message was not how great America is. The message is “throw the bums out”. It was clear Main Street wants DC to keep their hands off OUR country, off OUR health care, off OUR income. Main Street doesn’t see DC as the center of leadership for this great country anymore. In the mind of Main Street, DC is a cancer that needs to be removed.
  • Seniors are the heart and soul of this movement. They were out in large numbers, including large numbers of walkers and wheelchairs. They had the strongest anti-government, anti-democrat, anti-obama signs out there. They were everywhere.

The last two observations should worry any Democrat with two brain cells to rub together. This is a rising tide of broad opposition – and this phenomena is not done coalescing or growing yet.

We have a page up at Photo Bucket of the pictures I snapped down at the Tea Party. Be sure to peruse them and zoom in to see some of the signs and characters. It’s definitely worth the time. (and if anyone uses these, please give Strata-Sphere credit).

But let me highlight a few here in this post. First, in the category of investing time and sweat to the cause we have this Obamacare Hearse. How motivated do you have to be to put this together?!

Here are a couple of shots of the crowd around the reflecting pool. Note how relaxed everyone is – they are here showing their support and determination, nothing more:

I had to stop this woman and her daughter to get their picture because it embodied the political tsunami rising in the country. Two very nice and pleasant people, clearly a sweet child. But the message is harsh. It indicates to me how deep the backlash and anger is, and how it has infected the normal, every day family. The message is blunt, even more so given the velvet glove sending the message:

Update: Check out this crap from a left wing site:

Angry mobs of right-wing tea party protesters are converging on our nation’s Capitol today to protest President Obama, health care reform, government spending and anything else they can think of. A passerby forwarded Politico a photo of a sign that was being handed out by tea party organizers that reads: “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy.”

Yeah, right. Check out the angry mobs, of children and mothers. – end update

Finally, this picture just expresses the beauty of the day, the power of the day.

This was when Main Street marched on DC to tell DC to back off. It was a force you could feel, and intensity of purpose. I suspect I will be shooting many more of these as we head into the 2010 election cycle.

35 responses so far

35 Responses to “Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009”

  1. […] AJ Strata: I was able to ride my motorcycle downtown today and partake in the Washington DC Tea Party demonstrations for a couple of hours. I could tell pretty quickly this was a very memorable and historic event. I have lived outside DC my entire life and this demonstration was large, interesting and intense. […]

  2. AJStrata says:

    It depends on the intensity. Johnson has been under fire for months from a lot of people.

    Creating enemies like him just shows how screwed up the ‘true conservatives” really are.

    I am NOT in – never was, never will be. And it is because of the far right I will never be in.

    And we centrists plan to make sure that this time around, the fringes don’t sell us a bill of goods and run off a cliff with an assumed mandate.

    If the far right thinks the GOP and 2010 is for them, they are in for a huge surprise.

  3. Terrye says:


    I get that, but those Republicans were voted into office by Americans, just like those Democrats were, the people are responsible for who they elect. And if those folks turn on the Republicans and purge a lot of people, it will just be Ross Perot all over again. He got 20% of the vote, and yet most people do not even know he was anymore.

  4. […] photos and crowd data to try and ascertain the crowd size of the 9/12/09 Tea Party protests (which I blogged on here). It seems the best, most recent reference point is President Obama’s inauguration, which was […]

  5. Frogg1 says:


    I don’t in any way think this represents a “third party” movement. I think it represents a “wake up call” against business as usual (special interest/corruption/etc). I don’t think they will turn on Republicans, in general, because they have already done that in 2006/2008. If anything, Republicans may unintentially profit a bit from it. The public has still not forgiven Republicans; but, their anger at the Democrats hasn’t even fully exploded yet. The Democrats have their hell to pay yet. The anger is so intense out of frustration that neither party will listen to the people (Repubs in the past; and Dems in the present). Repubs have been trying to win back the trust; but, that always takes a long time.

    Representatives are elected by their people, and you are right that they have to actually represent them. That is at the center of AJ’s whole arguement about the GOP not trying to purge those who aren’t “purist”. I don’t like the way AJ frames the arguement; but, I did find someone who says it….and says it well:

    Let me introduce you to Rep Thaddeus McCotter:

    He is the fourth highest ranking Republican in the House. This in depth interview is done in five parts starting on August 31 and ending Sept 4 (hope the link takes you to the right days). The whole thing is worth listening to. But, if nothing else, listen to Part I:

    MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2009
    GOP Principles with Thaddeus McCotter: Chapter 1 of 5
    Why has the GOP stumbled in the new century? According to Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R., Mich.), the party has erred by shifting from a local to a national focus.

    What a brilliant mind.

  6. AJStrata says:


    I’m not known for my warm demeanor at times. But you got the point. I tend to react with equal force to anyone who tries to push me around, push me out, override my views. But I have to be dissed first. It has nothing to do with disagreeing on issues or points. I can deal with that with easily. It is the attempt to stifle, insult, etc as they lose the argument that sets me off.

  7. Terrye says:


    I hope you are right. Yesterday, I turned Fox off and C-Span on after Glenn Beck jumped all over Teddy Roosevelt, called him a thug for picking on latin America and announced that he was not sure people should vote for either party right now.

    I hear stuff like that and I wonder just where some of these folks are in their heads.

    A wake up call is a good thing, and every now and then it is just plain necessary…but this baby out with the bath water stuff is counter productive.

  8. Redteam says:

    the problem is (or was) that the centrists aligned themselves the the far lefties against the conservatives and voted the socialist in. Some of them don’t like to admit they were fooled…big time….

  9. […] previous posts on the 9/12/09 Tea Party are here and here, but I wanted to note some early indications I see that the Tea Party protests have […]

  10. […] Party protests in DC (though I think he low balled the crowd size by a lot). It dove tails nicely with my experience at the protest. All normal family and small business people. Lots of senior citizens outraged and ready to take […]

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tamara Yahley. Tamara Yahley said: Washington DC Tea Party 9/12/2009 […]

  12. […] was on the mall last Saturday and posted on the fact the ‘protest’ was more like a huge family outing of normal, calm Americans. I think […]

  13. […] went to the Tea Party protest last summer on the Mall. It was peaceful, festival-like gathering that welcomed the all generations of the American family. […]

  14. […] was down (and it may go down again – fingers crossed it won’t). There are MANY of us who have been at the Tea Party protests since 2009, been with the Tea Party in spirit since it began. Promoted it and applauded it for months […]