Let's look at the signs, which I'll divide into three groups. The first group is "their side", the union/MoveOn.org side:
click on pictures to enlargeOh, the irony.
How does collective bargaining help your students?
What is it with the Guy Fawkes masks?
Hanging from that sign were some Keds.
Gotta love college students, especially cute ones.
I saw three different signs referencing "plutocrats". Must be the word of the day for lefties.
Way to stay classy.
This was the among the most reasonable signs I saw among the lefties. At least it leaves some room for discussion and debate.
These pictures are also from "their" side--but what I don't understand is what Code Pink has to do with this rally, and what wikileaker PFC Bradley Manning has to do with union privileges. After all, Manning wasn't in a union!
Next, signs from my side of the political divide. Again, click to enlarge any of them:
Subject-verb agreement, dude.
Note the guy in the white shirt, between the two flags. We'll see him again.
It wouldn't be a Tea Party rally without a Gadsden Flag!
Well, there's "their" side and "our" side--what can the third group be? It's the group containing two pictures I took of a teacher I work with, that's what! He and I don't agree on these types of things, but at least I understand the point he's trying to make with his signs:
By my amateur count, there were maybe a hundred righties and a thousand lefties at these two rallies--a small turnout, in any event. And look at the sky, see how people are dressed--it's not like the weather was keeping anyone away! There were California Highway Patrol and Sacramento City Police on duty, on horseback and on bicycle, to keep the rallies separate, but I had no problem going back and forth across the street to get pictures and video from any vantage point I desired. For the most part it was tame; there were no Kenneth Gladney extremes today.
Judging from the signs shown above, I think it's clear that the Tea Partiers won the day on the merits of their written messages. Unfortunately, whenever someone on either side of the street opened his or her mouth, the result was disappointing. Honestly, can you do no better than talking points that you don't even think about or understand? Lefties, is anyone really trying to get rid of unions? Righties, is the very concept of a union evil? Lefties, do you even know who the Koch brothers are, and had you even heard of them before last week? The only person I really engaged was on the right, shouting into her bullhorn that, among other things, you couldn't be a taxpayer if you were a tax taker (she was arguing with a teacher across the street). I asked her if that same sentiment applied to soldiers, and she said yes. Way to stay classy, gotta love that patriotism. Here's some of her intellectually-stimulating and reasoned debate:
As I said so often today, way to stay classy.
If you're just trying to get someone's goat, I guess this kind of foolishness works. But if you're trying to get people to come around to your way of thinking, well, exactly what demographic are you trying to appeal to with those words? And yes, that goes for both sides, but I was particularly saddened by this woman who, with her ignorant speech, cheapens the side I believe in--and she wasn't the only one. There needs to be some intelligent message discipline--some talking points, as it were, so we on the right can come across as being reasonable, decent, informed, everyday folks. Because if we don't, the media and others will paint all of us with this woman's brush.
Let's watch this angry Teamster for a moment:
Remember the guy I mentioned earlier, the one in the picture, wearing a white shirt and appearing between two flags? Well, Teamster-guy attacked him (I didn't see it) and he needed a bandage on his left hand. Here he is talking to the police behind the News10 van:
And here's Teamster-guy being talked to by the police nearby:
Here's some general-purpose video I shot throughout the rally. As I said, I don't think either side acquitted itself especially well today.
For bandwidth's sake I'm posting only the low-resolution version of this video here on the blog. The clearer, high-resolution version can be viewed here.
Update, 2/27/11: Here's more detail about the injured tea partier and the rabid Teamster. Here's a report about the various rallies held across the country, and how sparsely attended they were.