Tea Parties are Just the Beginning
By Jane Vick and Robert Romano
“We are headed for another Teapot Dome Scandal. Tax and spend equals corruption and destruction. I don't know how that is confusing, but history does repeat itself and we are headed down that same path.”—Chandler Ramelli, D.C. Tea Party Organizer.
Chandler Ramelli was an organizer for the Washington, D.C. Tea Party Protest. She has been a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker for 10 years and has been the author of her blog “A Not So Capitol Idea” since 2007. She never thought then she'd be standing out in the rain in the Nation's Capital leading a protest at the grassroots level.
“It's kind of a phenomenon. I was up until 2 emailing people directions. They are coming from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, we've had people get on planes, Alabama, a lot of North Carolinians and Pennsylvanians are here, and they just wanted to be heard and seen and not in a civil unrest sort of way, just in a power by numbers,” said Chandler when asked about people traveling from out of town.
When asked whether this was the end of the protest, Chandler promised, “This is definitely not the end, this is just the beginning. This is the beginning of where everyone becomes politically active again.” Speaking with tea party activists all day, they agreed unanimously with Chandler. They believe this is the beginning of a nationwide political movement that will forever change America.
“This has really sort of lit the fire under people and they want to be heard. And this is the beginning to say ‘Hi, I'm here, you forgot about me. Please listen to what I have to say.'”
When asked what she would say to Obama if given the chance, Chandler responds, “Read your history book on the chapter of [Warren] Harding. We are headed for another Teapot Dome Scandal,” she said referring to the bribery scandal of Albert Hall. “Tax and spend equals corruption and destruction. I don't know how that is confusing, but history does repeat itself and we are headed down that same path.”
One of the greatest sites of the day for Chandler was the million tea bags that were attempted to be delivered to Congress. “The million tea bag idea started with a group called Reagan.org, and what happened was they decided to put up a website, donate the money to us and we will buy the tea bags and send them to Congress. Well they thought wouldn't it be great to get 10,000 wouldn't it be great to get 20,000 and then it turned into 250,000 and then it turned into a million and that's when they went that's enough. I don't know if anyone knows what a million of anything looks like. A million seconds is eleven and a half days.”
Unfortunately, even though the groups had a permit, they were told by law enforcement that it was not the “proper” permit. The law enforcement shenanigans did not end there however, as protesters were herded away from the Treasury to Lafayette Park.
“What happened was: they kicked us out of the Treasury Department. You know it was our goal—our dream—to be able to protest in front of the Treasury Department. We're not protesting, necessarily, the Administration or Congress, we are protesting the bailout and the ‘stimulus.'” Too bad.
First she explained their motivation for focusing on the Treasury: “This is supposed to be a tri-lateral, Republican, Democrat, Independent movement so we wanted the Treasury Department as our backdrop.” The Treasury is responsible for administering the Administration's unpopular $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Unfortunately (and predictably), the protesters got caught in a little bit of hastily contrived red-tape. “Well, there are 16 federal agencies in D.C. for security and police, Metro police told us they were in charge and when we got here this morning after talking with them repeatedly, twice a day at least, the Secret Service said no they are not in charge, we are.” They were then told to leave. Fortunately, Chandler had a “Plan B.”
“Lucky for us we all live here in D.C. and we knew something was going to happen—we just didn't know what was going to happen,” said Chandler. “So, we have always had this secondary location that was for grassroots because we always thought the Treasury Department was going to be too good to be true.”
The enthusiasm and passion of the protesters inspired a watching nation—its political “leaders” notwithstanding. It was patriotic citizens like Chandler who made it happen on April 15th. Without her and hundreds of thousands of average, everyday citizens like her, the movement would have stalled at the start. And the greatest fear for the politicians now is that it may not be possible to stop.
Jane Vick is a Washington News Observer Reporter. Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.