On April 15th I shared a moment with thousands of patriots, below are my recollections.
“Tea Party” Protests; up close and personal
By Robert Amoroso
As an author and columnist, I’m usually a lot more comfortable writing about other people and events, or creating intricate plots for my novels, then writing about myself. However, I truly believe that as a nation, we’ve finally reached critical mass, and I personally need to chronicle my own feelings at this pivotal time in our history. I can no longer watch from the comfort of my own anonymity as my country slowly slides into the abyss without raising my fist in defiance, and proclaiming for all to see “ENOUGH”.
And so on this day April 15th, I along with thousands of folks, braved the elements in New Jerseyand stood in solidarity to protest an out of control government, that has long ago abandoned us.
However, as I awoke this morning to a dark and drizzly day, I wondered to myself if anyone would show up. The protest was scheduled for in Belmar, New Jersey, at 16th Avenue on the boardwalk. For those unfamiliar with Belmar, it’s a beautiful picturesque beach town, nestled between Point Pleasant and Asbury Park.
It’s a great place to escape for a summer weekend, however on this rainy day the temperature hovered just below 38 degrees, with winds gusting to about 30 miles an hour.
As the morning wore on and the rain continued to fall I began to have second thoughts and I reasoned that no one would be foolish enough to show-up on a cold dank and rain swept day.
In truth I never felt comfortable being in organizations, and though I was never timed in voicing my opinions in debate or writing political pieces, this was different.
I always balked at joining any political party or group, for fear of being labeled or worse yet being indoctrinated by that party or group, I’m fiercely independent and always prided myself a free thinker void of labels or slogans, and I was uncomfortable in demonstrating outright for any cause, perhaps like those farmers and merchants hundreds of years ago, who just wanted to live their life’s and be left alone.
As the morning slowly gave way to , I decided that even if no one showed up, it was my duty to go, sitting on the sidelines for me, was no longer an option. The drive to the shore from my home is only about 20 minutes, however with the rain now coming down hard; I imagined it would take twice as long, and the drive would indeed prove to be slow and tedious.The constant drumming rain on my rag top began to exhaust my patients and made me irritable, and for a moment I thought of turning back.
I again surmised that anyone who ventured out in this kind of weather was either crazy or committed or perhaps both. I couldn’t imagine anyone standing on a rain swept boardwalk in gale force winds and yet here I was driving in a deluge, to do just that.
I reasoned that perhaps we were being tested, after all it’s easy to protest in beautiful sunny weather, where’s the challenge? Would those colonists of 1773, turn back, because of a little rain and wind?Of course not!
As I finally approached Belmar I began to feel a little apprehensive. What if no oneshowed up?How foolish would I feel? The drive to the boardwalk from Main Street was now only about a minute away.However the pouring rain made visibility almost impossible and I was forced to pull over and stop and I again reasoned to myself “how crazy is this”?
Within moments the rain subsided and I continued on my journey to the boardwalk, within moments I was there, on the corner of 16th Avenue and the Boardwalk. Gale force winds now buffed against my car, as I strained, trying to see through my windshield and the pelting wind swept rain.
Peering through the droplets at the deserted boardwalk in front of me, I realized that perhaps my fears where well placed, in that no one showed up, and yet every parking spot on the boardwalk was taken, not a common occurrence for a beach town on a cold, rainy and dreary April day.
In the distance I could hear the honking of automobiles horns and an eerie glow. I reasoned that perhaps the protest had moved to a more protected location, and I quickly drove towards the eerie glow, as I got closer, I began to realize that the glow was actually dozens of headlights of passing autos, honking their horns and waving American flags, to their counterparts on the boardwalk.
As I slowly passed the throng of protesters, my arm instinctively jetted out the open window, pumping the humid air with my fists I shouted “USA, USA”!And like a ricocheting echo the words bounced back, a hundred fold, and I was elated as I savored the moment, and I thought to myself “they came, in the pouring rain, crazy just like me…perhaps two thousand strong…incredible”.
I drove about a block past the demonstration, parked my car, and quickly got out. The wind swept rain pelted my body and stung my face as I braced myself against the gusty winds and walked across the boulevard, towards the shouting throng of humanity.
I thought to myself how strange it is to feel a kinship to people you’ve never met and probably will never meet again, and yet these are “my people”. Within moments I was engulfed within this sea if well wishers, as a hot cup of coffee was quickly offered by a pretty young lady wearing a large red, white and blue top hat.
“Thank you for coming” shouted another pretty lady, waving a yellow flag that now seemed to be the new battle colors peppered throughout the crowd. “Where are you from”? shouted an elderly gentleman,” here have a cookie”, shouted another, “Do you need a towel”? Asked an elderly lady, sitting in a wheelchair, with a large sign propped on her lap…not exactly your hardcore protesters, that the mainstream media would have you believe, is it?
No paid protesters, or nameless backers, these are average Americans displaced by an out of control government, hard working people, who pay their taxes, and are full of pride in what America was. They’ve lost faith in a government that no longer subscribes to the principles of our Founding Fathers, and like their Native American brothers before them, they understand now, the perils that confront them...
And so it went, on a cold rain swept day, on a boardwalk in Belmar, New Jersey, young and old alike united together on this day, for a common cause. And as I sipped my hot cup of coffee and waved to the honking autos passing by, I couldn’t help but feel pride in this new generation of “colonists”.
Of course, this little beach town on the South shore, of New Jersey, wasn't alone, like-minded Americans around the nation in hundreds of little towns and villages and in big cities alike, took to the streets with their signs and placards, and of course their tea-bags, to remind their government once again, who’s in charge.
The mainstream media for their part, had drawn a line in the sand months ago and decided either not to report on the protests or to discredit them, as much as possible. To that end, a young female reporter from CNN, in Chicago, went from being a none biased reporter to a debating government advocate, within seconds.
She ended her report, by suggesting that the protests were part of a right-wing movement, sponsored by FOX News, and that she couldn't continue because of the hostile crowds around her. The fact that she waded into the crowd, asked a question of a young man holding a child and then pulling the microphone away, as he tried to respond to the question,and then interjecting her own views…thus changing the subject matter on the spot…I suspect had a lot to do with the hostility.
What viewers did not see, after this so-called interview, was what immediately followed. A true civil debate with this reporter and a middle aged lady, who carefully outlined why she was there protesting, and why millions of people have stopped viewing news organizations such as CNN, and why their ratings have plumited.
Perhaps these demonstrations in time will fizzle out, and we'll once again go back to being apathetic, and put our collective heads in the sand, but then again I'm reminded by history, and how a “rag-tag” army of farmers and merchants planted those seeds of discontent that gave birth to a nation…perhaps history is once again distended to repeat itself…you never know.