We drove into B'ham last Wednesday to see the Tax day tempest in a teapot. I drove and jpeg shot video of the protesters. I estimated the crowd at between 1000 and 1500. An impressive turnout for Whatcom county.
We had a momentary encounter with some of the protesters when we stopped at a traffic signal there on Meridian. You can see & hear it in the video. When they saw jpeg's camera, they asked "Are you from ACORN".
It seemed like an out of nowhere question at the time. We looked carefully for counter-demonstrators as we drove on, and didn't see a single one. As it turns out, wingnut provocateurs had been warning potential attendees that ACORN was going to disrupt their tea party.
And that imaginary threat turned out to be a convenient excuse for the tea party organizers to not produce the sign-in sheets they had originally claimed proved their inflated attendance numbers. The Rightie rumor mill told people not to sign anything at the demonstration because infiltrators from ACORN would be there, gather information on them, with fake petitions and sign-in sheets.
All that talk about ACORN made me curious, so I made enquiries. I don't know everything that goes on in Whatcom County, but I do know people who know people, who know people... who know people. So given a little time, I usually hear something about any sort of political activity that's gone on locally.
Not a word about ACORN, not a single word, and no word about anyone at all making any effort to disrupt the teabaggers party. I saw some of the local MoveOn.org folks, Thursday, and they were busy with other things. The local Peace & Justice folks weren't stirred up. The local Democratic Party barely noticed that the Conservo-publi-tarians were having a public hissy fit on Tax day. Everybody left of center seemed to think there wasn't anything new about people on the Right complaining about taxes and government. And they certainly weren't interested in preventing anyone from exercising their right to free speech on a public street.
But as the '60 song says; "paranoia runs deep" and the Right seems to just loves wallowing in delusions of being plotted against.
Saturday, I attended Congressman Rick Larsen's townhall meeting in Blaine. In the foray of the city hall, as I signed in, someone in the line behind me said, "Ah, ACORN is here". I looked around the room and couldn't figure out what elicited the comment. There were no protest signs, no one was wearing political buttons or an ACORN name tag. There were no young hippie/anarchist types.
ACORN wasn't there but the teabagger's were. As the meeting proceeded, it became clear that about a quarter of the people there were Rightwingers. There were lots of Republican talking points posed as questions.
Congressman Larsen spent much of the Question & Answer time patiently explained what Congress had actually done and not done, as opposed to what the Righties thought was happening. Clearly FoxNews, Michele Malkin, Glen Beck, etc. haven't been giving those folks accurate information.