The size of the 2010 Denver Tax Day Tea Party was about the equivalent of last year’s; however, in terms of noise it was much quieter. The tone of this year’s rally was very different than the previous one. The 2009 event was the first large scale Tea Party in the region and the first time many who attended had ever protested. In comparison, at this year’s event it was a reunion of sorts for all the activists who had become friends and acquaintances throughout the past year working to form the Tea Party movement.
In 2009, individuals passed out flyers to websites offering ideas on the next steps to take after attending the event. This year, activists sat at tables and tents handing out marketing materials for now well established groups which did not exist last year.
Even the form of protesting had changed. Campaign signs for grassroots candidates unknown in 2009 seemed to be replacing those protesting the government’s agenda. There were also highly organized petition drives for Initiative 42, which would limit Colorado’s adherence to UN treaties in regards to the right to keep and bear arms, and Jon Caldara's amendment to the Colorado Constitution, which would opt the state out of Obamacare.
The police, who in 2009 had been more reserved and unsure of the protesters, now laughed with them prior to the beginning of the event and then disappeared to patrol on the other side of Lincoln where about two dozen Tea Party crashers, who had arrived via a school bus and appeared to dislike any form of the U.S. government, shouted profanities through a bullhorn. Tea Partiers lined both sides of the street where the majority of passing vehicles showed their support by the honking of horns.
The media, as has become the custom, did not appear to be present. KMGH (Channel 7) did cover the story. There were not any visible signs of other stations reporting the event, although they may have been present. Here too, however, indicated a change. The Peoples Press Collective, an ensemble of Colorado bloggers considered one of the state’s most credible sources of political news by Tea Partiers, live streamed the event via their website. They reported they had more than 10,000 unique hits in the four-hour broadcast, which is an incredibly large number of hits in the local blogosphere.
It was apparent that those who protested at the first Denver Tax Day Tea Party had not gone home and about their lives as usual. They had left last year's rally and organized. These once political neophytes now discussed their delegate positions for the upcoming state assemblies in May, their candidates, and the campaigns they hope they will bring to victory in 2010.
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