I didn't get home til fairly late last night & I was exhausted, so I actually went right to bed. So no pix before now.
First off: We didn't stay much past 6pm, which was the actual start time. Know what's STUPID? Not having the tea party start for an hour after Glenn Beck's show ended. There's pretty much no excuse for that, and it's why we couldn't stay for very much of the actual tea party. We had to take the girls into consideration. They were whining pretty much the entire time about being thirsty. (For the record, we had lunch shortly before going over there and they had plenty to drink then & after; still it was stupid on my part not to bring a lot to drink. Even if we'd have then had to leave to find a potty. Sigh.)
Rob and I planned to go together with my mom and the girls. I should have told him to try to find us there when he first called and said he was going to be late, but I am an idiot when it comes to being nice, and since I could have parked in the church lot for free, I told him I'd pick him up from his parents' house. Which is way the hell gone on the southwest side of the city. So, I had planned on getting there at 3pm and wound up not getting there til maybe 4:45. Because, of course, by the time I picked his sorry butt up and drove back downtown, the church lot was full. We wound up parking by the library and I made him pay for the parking.
That paragraph means: I didn't get to see Glenn Beck. Or Ted Nugent. Or the stage. Or, pretty much, anything other than a whole bunch o' people.
But that whole bunch o' people was the real reason for the party. And so, on to the pictures!
This is walking up toward the tea party on Houston Street. I really feel sorry for the trolley drivers and bus drivers who were rerouted (no busses go up E. Houston anymore, but the Red Route trolley travels it, & the Blue Route trolley & number 7 bus also go in front of the Alamo). I'm not sure what all streets were closed, but it seems to have mirrored the New Year's Eve closings.
Mind you, a lot of people were leaving when we were arriving. And a lot of people were arriving when we were leaving. There was a huge amount of churn. The SA Tea Party website reported more than 9,000 RSVPs before they shut down the system when it got overwhelmed.
According to the SA Tea Party's website, 16,000 people attended. Check out the link; they've got a great aerial photo. This is a bit more than a tenth Bexar County's population (using the 2007 figure which is the most recent I can find). Not bad for a county that went blue in the last national election.
This was one of the funnier signs. There was a pretty good mix of ideologies at our party. There were a few FairTax stickers, some folks passing out InfoWars fliers, even one fellow with a Ron Paul for President sign, the '08 covered with stickers to change it to '12. Hope never dies.
I don't have a real clue how this is being covered in the local mainstream media. I've been on MySA and they have a pretty even-handed article. The comments aren't so even-handed, but I've grown to expect that. One early responder said he'd like to see how many arrests for disorderly conduct/open containers there were. Most likely answer? None. The only beverages were water and tea.
On that, I'd like to note one thing. Bill Miller BBQ, a local chain as noted for their ice tea as their barbeque, was giving out free tea. I had figured the plethora of small Bill Miller's cups to be expected from this city, but my mother wandered off & came back with some tea. I was suitably grateful. I'm not sure if this was a corporate effort, or just kindness on the part of one of the downtown Bill Miller's restaurants, but I must note that the commissary for the chain is downtown.
One of the arguments I knew I'd hear is that we're all simply a bunch of racist white folks. Well. The crowd was pretty pale, as far as I could see. But this is San Antonio, y'all. It's never wall-to-wall white. This little boy wandered over from the end of the bleachers to play with Esther. I took this picture about three seconds before she gave him the first bear hug. She's getting better at not knocking over small children when she hugs them.
This lady (with the Right Wing Extremist sign) actually had a two-sided sign. I don't remember what the other side said. It was pretty wordy. I'll freely admit that part of the reason I took a picture of her is 'cause she's black. She was far from the only black person there, but the others I saw weren't holding signs.
There was one young fellow with a sign saying something along the lines of "Property is Murder." Bit odd, but lets you know the anarchist contingent was also there.
One of the other common claims is that the crowd wasn't just white but old. Well then. Nope. I'm 29; Robert is 35. I'd say at least half the crowd was youngish like we are. There's a picture of a UTSA student in the slideshow up at MySA.com. I know from experience that there's actually a good number of conservative/conservative-leaning college students here. At least at SAC. (For the record, I didn't link to that slideshow earlier because some of the pictures are from out of state.)
Here's my crew. The girls, Rob, & my mom. You'll note that the kids don't look too happy. This is the big reason I hate that there was an hour's worth of down time between Beck's show and the party. It was BORING!
We were all dressed in red, white, & blue. Managed to find some on-sale stuff at a thrift store. Ro has a Texas flag shirt. Rob's in one from his Navy days & what looks like a brand new ballcap his dad probably bought him on Lackland. (This is a ballcap typically not worn unless you have no other choice, by the way.)
There were a few of these flags there. There was at least one of every one of the flags from the Texas revolution. This being San Antonio, no few signs were calling for secession. The yellow "Don't Tread on Me" flag was also much in evidence, perhaps more than anything else due to the fact that at least one enterprising couple had set up with a great deal of small ones to sell. God bless capitalism. (That's actually what I remarked upon seeing them.) Alas, I had no cash.
There were also a couple of flags I did not recognize.
The one on the bottom. That's actually the best picture I was able to get of it. (And for the record, none of that graffiti is from a right-wing extremist). There was some design I couldn't really make out in the center of the cog. The other flag I didn't recognize was a red arm & sword that was dripping blood. IIRC, that was also on a yellow field.
Couple of generic crowd shots. I never did get over to Hemisfair Plaza to see the overflow crowd there. I think at least as many people had cameras as had signs. I wish I had thought to make signs ahead of time, but I couldn't really think of anything to put one one that wasn't crass. So it's probably better for all involved that I didn't.
There was one elderly lady who had a sign saying something about stealing her grandkids' money, complete with pictures of said grandkids. Including one ultrasound photo.
Obligatory Alamo photo:
This was as close as I could get. I'm rather annoyed by how close some of the people got. I was under the impression that no one was to get on Alamo grounds with signs at all, and yet you can clearly see that there's a humongous sign being held against one of the walls to the side there. Maybe they have a different definition of Alamo grounds than I do--although you can't tell from the photo, there was a large empty space directly in front of the Alamo itself. Folks filled up that little street there between the plaza & the Alamo proper, but didn't get directly in front of the Alamo.
The MySA.com article says that the founder of the Alamo Society was upset at Alamo Plaza being used as a "prop for a cause". He is further quoted as saying "I’m hopeful that the city of San Antonio will restrict Alamo Plaza to things strictly related to the Alamo of 1836". I'm thinking Mr Chemerka has been sadly absent from this city. He must not have noticed the blue lights bathing the Alamo last year as recognition of diabetes. Or the red lights bathing it this year as part of World AIDS Day. Or the Christmas tree--surely not related to the Battle of the Alamo--there every year. Or the annual Fiesta events. Or the portion of Miss Congeniality that was filmed on the Plaza. Or, in short, the huge variety of things completely unconnected to the Alamo of 1836 that take place on Alamo Plaza every single day. (I'm also guessing he's never looked across the street at Ripley's Haunted Adventure or Louis Toussaud's Wax Museum or the plethora of t-shirt shops.)
I shall leave you with this picture of sublime Texas humor: