There's something in the air. It's the smell of roasted pork. President Obama heralded the signing of the trillion-dollar "stimulus" bill in Denver and promoted his massive mortgage entitlement expansion in Mesa, Ariz., at tightly controlled campaign events. But outside the Secret Service perimeters, a raucous grassroots rebellion against Beltway spending binges has caught fire. The new Boston Tea Party is here, baby, and it's doused in barbecue sauce.
The first revolt took place on Presidents Day in Smurf-blue Seattle, where mom-blogger Keli Carender hastily organized a downtown demonstration to oppose what they called the "stimulus rip-off." A motley band of nearly 100 protesters -- moms and their kids, college students, libertarians, taxpayer groups, GOP activists -- raised their voices and dined on pulled pork (donated by yours truly). They assailed both the substance of the overstuffed stimulus package and the short-circuited, nontransparent process by which it was passed.
Some wore pig noses. Others waved Old Glory and "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Their handmade signs read: "Say No to Generational Theft"; "Obama'$ Porkulu$ Wear$ Lip$tick"; and "I don't want to pay for the SwindleUs! I'm only 10 years old!" The event was peaceful, save for an unhinged city-dweller who showed his tolerance by barging onto the speakers' stage and giving a Nazi salute.
Carender, a newcomer to political activism, shared advice for other first-timers: "Basically, everyone, you just have to do it. Call up your police station or parks department and ask how you can obtain a permit, and then just start advertising. The word will spread. I am only one person, but with a little hard work this protest has become the efforts of a lot of people."
Why bother? It's for posterity's sake. For the historical record. And hopefully it will spur others to move from the phones and computers to the streets. For Carender, it's just the beginning. She gathered all the attendees' e-mail addresses and will keep up the pressure.
"We need to show that we exist. Second, we need to show support for the Republicans and Democrats that voted against the porkulus. If they think, for one second, that they made a bad choice, we have no chance to fight. Third, it sends a message to Obama and Pelosi that we are awake and we know what's happening and we are not going to take it lying down. It is a message saying, 'Expect more opposition because we're out here.'"