Amidst biting winds and a smattering of snow flurries, the hometown edition of the Nationwide Chicago Tea Party kicked off at 11:00am this morning at Daley Plaza in the Loop.
It was an enthusiastic group of patriots, and by the time it ended about 400 people were in attendence, many of them chanting "Dump the Tea," "Don't Tread on Me," and "Socialism Sucks!"
The Tea Party movement last week started with an on air rant in Chicago by CNBC's Rick Santelli.
And today there were more forty Nationwide Chicago Tea Parties.
A few impromptu speeches kicked off the rally at the plaza, including one by Sam Adams, pictured on the right, who Wikipedia claims died in 1803.
Then the group, some of whom had tea bags dangling from their hats, marched up Dearborn Avenue to 401 North Michigan, under the watchful gaze of those Midwestern icons from Grant Wood's American Gothic.
Taking inspiration from the farmer and his pitchfork, WLS-AM's Dan Proft, Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, and Sam Adams lit a prairie fire of populism among devotees of smaller, less intrusive government.
In my opinion, the rally was a huge success. Getting conservatives to do something along these lines is very difficult, "like herding cats" is how cartoonist Chris Muir described it on Andrea Shea King's show not too long ago. More importantly, there is talk having more Tea Parties, one is scheduled for Chicago's Grant Park on July 4.
One big surprise was that there was no counter protest. After all, this is Barack Obama's adopted hometown. Oh, there were a few cranks out there: Michelle Jacobsen of Freedom Folks was called (On what grounds?) a racist by a passerby. And a woman with an Obama pennant flying from the roof of her car, who should have been paying attention to traffic, thought it was worth her time to yell at us--I couldn't make out what she was babbling about--but luckily she rolled up her window and managed not to hit another car or a pedestrian as she drove away.
By the way, it just occurred to me that none of Obama's predecessors had their own flag.
There were no troublemakers, the Chicago Police mainly kept an eye on traffic, and I saw only two incidents where the cops had to tell someone to stop doing something. One guy tried to climb up the American Gothic statue--and quickly descended when the police told him to.
And your humble blogger was told to get off a median--but after I got some great pics.
I can't wait for the next Nationwide Chicago Tea Party. I'm sharpening my pitchfork.
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