America Goes to Washington
ONE PHOTOGRAPHER’S VIEW: It’s interesting how a story can be slanted by the selection of certain photos and the omission of others. A picture may be “worth a thousand words,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean those words will be truthful and accurate. Especially in today’s political climate, and especially concerning the Tea Party movement that began in April 2009.
One case in point is the divergent media coverage and commentary on the September 12, 2009 Tea Party event that was held in Washington, D.C. For example, The Huffington Post’s photos paint a somewhat dark and negative view, depicting Tea Party attendees as crass and shallow. Yet that’s not what this photographer saw.
I certainly don’t deny the presence of the less-than-tasteful signs shown in the photos published by The Huffington Post. It’s just that in my trek along the march route down Pennsylvania Avenue, and all around the Capitol grounds, I saw a comparatively miniscule number of distasteful signs out of the huge crowd of enthusiastic, considerably polite attendees.
Whence Comes the “Vitriol”?
There are also those who have described Tea Party — and Town Hall — attendees as vitriolic and racist. But much of the vitriol seems to come, instead, from the Left, including Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. In their descriptions of the Tea Party movement and the Town Hall meetings, the “truth” has been stretched, distorted or fabricated.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann also accused Fox News of “ginning up” the D.C. Tea Party crowd, based on a short clip they showed of a Fox News producer whipping up crowd excitement during a live report by Fox News reporter, Griff Jenkins.
But Olbermann’s commentary gave a false impression of the Tea Party crowd. The crowd did not have to be coaxed to be loud, excited and demonstrative. I know because I was at the front of the crowd for several hours (near where that Fox News taping occurred) photographing the crowd’s genuine, sustained enthusiasm .
Although the all-too-common misrepresentations given by some media pundits, celebs and other well-known individuals haven’t really surprised me, I’ve nevertheless marveled at the vast difference between how some on the Left have described the D.C. Tea Party and what I personally witnessed there.
Exactly What Did This Photographer See?
I saw patriotism. I saw it in the flags lifted high and blowing in the breeze. I saw patriotism in impassioned, friendly eyes and in the homemade signs, and the red-white-and-blue clothing. I heard patriotism, too, in the singing and the enthusiastic chants of the crowd responding to the Tea Party speakers.
Some of the homemade signs I saw were very creative, with topics including cap and trade, health care, national security, fiscal irresponsibility and dishonesty. Granted, some signs were a little edgy and not something I’d want to hold forth myself. But for the most part, the signs were decent and civil, albeit employing hyperbole and in-your-face opinions.
Some detractors — Nancy Pelosi, in particular — would have Tea Party and Town Hall attendees, and all like-minded individuals, to “curb our enthusiasm.” Why? Because, according to Pelosi and others, the Tea Party/Town Hall “rhetoric” is one of violence, hatred or racism. Critics have also been dismissive and condescending of Tea Party/Town Hall participants, refusing to believe that their expressions represent a genuine grassroots uprising
While it’s possible that a few individuals who attended the D.C. Tea Party had their “rowdy” moments (although I never personally witnessed any, nor have I heard of any such documented incidents), those individuals would have been far from being the “scary, out-of-control, gun-toting vigilantes” that some partisans and media spokespersons have alleged. If indeed such “vigilantes” attended the D.C. Tea Party, they were certainly in the minority.
Instead, what this photographer saw was a beautiful sea of Americans peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. They were shouting from their hearts and minds, rallying together as one to say: “We the People have come to Washington to be heard.”
On September 12, 2009 the message from the D.C. Tea Party crowd was loud and clear to those who are listening: “Our liberties were hard-fought-for, and we will not sit idly by and watch them be stolen from us and from our children.”
Visit the Photo Gallery
These are just a few of the photos I made in D.C. on September 12, 2009. To get a more complete view of the route that I walked that day and the people I met and photographed, CLICK to visit the 9/12/09 Washington, D.C. Tea Party photo gallery, which contains more than 300 images. Just CLICK on the “Slideshow” link on the gallery’s menu bar, and then sit back and enjoy a view of the Tea Party movement that’s been denied by the mainstream media.
Spread the Word
Please share this website — 912Photos.com — with others. It’s my view that fair-minded individuals viewing the photos can acknowledge that the 9/12/09 Washington, D.C. Tea Party brought together a great group of Americans intent on speaking out and making a positive difference in the life of our nation.