I was there, I was proud and I was surprised. I had hoped for 5,000 people and a ratio 9 to 1 (90% normal people and 10% nut jobs). I was surprised on both counts.
The counts coming in are north of 10,000 and may be as high as 20,000 people. I could not tell because I was up close and surrounded on all sides by 1000s. The fact is that it was filling the street sidewalk to sidewalk for at least four city blocks. How many people is that? Do we allow 4 sq feet per person? Personal space be damned… Putting this to the reasonably test [2 lane road (20ft wide), side walk and curb (5 ft: assuming only one side), four city blocks (.4 miles or 2112 ft) = 52800 sq.ft. / 4sq.ft. per person == 13200 people]. Sounds reasonable on the low side. Add in the grass area, wider streets or longer blocks or less personal space and north of 15,000 is likely. In any case, a mass of humanity that far exceeded our expectations.
As far as the ratio goes, might be about right on the high side, from my point of view. This counts FairTax folks, smaller government, Bush bashers in the normal Obama bashers in the extremist. I counted 12 signs (and people) that I felt were over the top and 100s that I would like to drink a beer with and talk again. To give you a flavor of the crowd there was a group (of two) people behind us that tried to start an “Impeach Obama” chant (maybe 7-10 times). Each time is was them and them alone. The fist couple were immediately drowned out by “USA USA” or “FAIR TAX NOW”. After that they were met with shaking heads and laughter. One guy (in the AJC video [:35]…in front of me… oh yes EFB got air time…and on FOX [2:00]) had his sign taken away. This caused a few around me to get a bit upset about free speech and a few chants of “Give it back.” But the dominant conversation around me was about not letting that ruin the night or become the news item. In the end, cooler heads prevailed [on both sides] and they did give him his sign back; with an apology from the local police. They told him they were only doing as they were told before and they were now told to give it back. Much friendly conversations after that. All in all a decent time and Ms. Napolitano now knows where I am.
I will say that the AJC article was pretty well done and the photos there are a better representation then the video.
Most of the people I talked to were participating in their first political rally (as was I). I would like to thank Sean Hannity for organizing this event… oh wait that was Neal Boortz for.. Dick Army… no .. Newt Gingrich. Well, whoever it was on the vast right-wing for flying around the country and training all these organizers in local towns these past 6 weeks. I think they all earned their union wages this week. [tongue firmly implanted in cheek] I know the local folks here personally and I know that they like many of us that attended are doing this for the first time. The volume of people and the expansion of events pooping up these past few weeks has been nothing but astounding.
There are a few signs I felt were worth mentioning:
What’s in your wallet? HEY that’s MY wallet!
Big [GOP logo] BIGGER [DNC logo] BIGGEST [Obama]
Oh and one more… That would be mine signed by John Rich.