The National Tea Party Through an Immigrant’s Eyes

Our friend Oleg, an immigrant from Russia, was at the National Tea Party on 9/12. Oleg, whose vision of this country is tempered by his life experience in the U.S.S.R., has written two outstanding articles at Pajamas Media which not only document the events of that weekend, but paint them with his mature views on democracy and freedom in America.

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Oleg is also the creator of The People’s Cube, a website in which he and others parody the socialists in America using the themes of Communism from the USSR, Maoist China, etc…

Some excerpts from his reflections:

For three days Washington was filled with friendly, cheerful working people, easily identifiable by their American flags and their shirts, pins, and signs with clever, heartfelt messages on them. If one were to judge this nation by the people walking the streets of its capital that weekend, one might surmise that America was inhabited by highly rational, creative, positive, responsible, and engaging individuals. Unfortunately, on most other days Washington exemplifies the opposite, misrepresenting this nation in every sense of the word…

One can only imagine that this is what Washington and the rest of the country might look like if the original Jeffersonian trend had not been brutalized by the modern influx of leftist ideologies. In a way, the tea party movement is an effort to revive America’s classic libertarian tradition. That ideal appears to be pretty much out of place in today’s political culture. Even as I’m writing this, the “mainstream” media is dismissing the starry-eyed tea partiers as close-minded racist bigots. In print, on radio waves, and on TV screens, champions of the “liberal” racket are writing off the tea party protests as a shameful inability of white America to accept a black president — as if the desire of individual liberty has anything to do with skin color and as if there exists a race of people that, in the long run, gains anything from a government tyranny.

On the Doctor’s Rally against Nationalized Healthcare (Thurs. 9/10):

My friends and I arrived from New York by car on Thursday the 10th, just in time to catch a sight at which to marvel: hundreds of doctors and nurses waving hand-made posters and chanting slogans in opposition to the government takeover of health care. Protesting in a park facing the Capitol building, medical professionals offered a resounding second opinion about the health of national medical care, with speaker after speaker exposing Obama’s proposal as malpractice…

Doctors had a better prescription: tax reform, tort reform, and allowing patients to purchase health insurance across state lines — a combination of measures that would save $120 billion every year without government rationing. Their rally received no coverage whatsoever in the “mainstream” media…

On the Troop Support Rally at Walter Reed:

On Friday we joined a patriotic rally outside Walter Reed Army Hospital. Several hundred people — generations of veterans and ordinary citizens like us — waved American flags and signs on four crowded street corners at the main hospital entrance.  We cheered buses with wounded soldiers returning from complimentary dinners at a local restaurant…

On the Sign Making Party at the Hyatt:

The much larger and friendlier Hyatt was bustling with activities. It seemed to be a tea party headquarters, with a welcoming “Tea Party Express” sign at the entrance, crowds in patriotic T-shirts, and buses depositing one group of protesters after another. That evening the Hyatt was hosting a busy sign-making event in a spacious conference room downstairs, which eventually transformed into a boisterous celebration inside the hotel’s airport-sized lobby. All TV screens at the bar and the seating area were tuned to Fox News, as hundreds of upbeat marchers mingled excitedly with a drink in one hand and a poster board in the other, conversing in a jovial manner with complete strangers as if they were old friends, and proudly exhibiting their freshly made signs…

The space at the adjacent liquor bar was so jammed with people that the patrons had to hold their signs high above their heads so they wouldn’t be crushed…

The dreamlike effect could be best summed up with the sign “Government off our backs now,” which kept popping up against the rows of colorful liquor bottles. It was the most surreal drinking party I have ever seen. It was also the friendliest and most relaxed…

On the March and Rally:

On Saturday morning September 12, protesters started gathering at Freedom Plaza two blocks away from the White House, eventually filling the whole of Pennsylvania Avenue all the way to the Capitol…

I was walking all day, taking pictures with my big Sony camera and trying to get to every corner of the rally…

As I stopped to chat with the protesters, people shared with me their joy over the spirit of love, connectedness, and camaraderie that seemed to be sweeping the rally. Maybe not in these exact words, but their tone and lit-up faces suggested that much. No doubt the event was unprecedented…

Many of the tea partiers had reportedly taken up protesting for the first time. Never before had they felt the need to raise their voices in the face of political adversity. Times do change, don’t they? My guess is that their experiences of standing shoulder to shoulder with over a million like-minded Americans in defense of liberty were in some ways similar to what I had felt at my first Fourth of July celebration — and that it was just as “therapeutic.”…

Throughout the rally I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with the leftist demonstrations I had witnessed in San Francisco, New York, Washington, and Denver. While the formal methods were similar, they were two completely different species. The differences in slogans, attitudes, behaviors, and appearances were obvious. But these were all superficial symptoms stemming from a major philosophical divide, which I was trying to formulate…

At this tea party, however, the legendary euphoric spirit was real. Apparently, to experience it in a sober, secular setting is an opportunity open only to those who live by their minds and adhere to true human values…

What brought all these different folks together was their love of freedom. They recognized the danger posed by encroaching big government tyranny and acknowledged a need for action. But that’s where the similarities ended. These people weren’t used to speaking in unison. There were no predictable pious clichés or standardized hypocritical speech codes typical of leftist protests. Underneath all the masquerade, the accents, and other superficial attributes, the essential qualities of the million-plus tea partiers were what the term “diversity” used to mean originally, before the collectivist left pulled a racist bait-and-switch scheme and repackaged the term to denote a purely biological and tribal belonging with no regard to our individual minds, liberties, and ambitions…

Both of his articles are worth reading in full:

America Awakes:  Reflections on 9/12

America Awakes:  Reflections on 9/12 (Part II)

His photos are here and the full set is here!

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