Monday, September 14, 2009

TeaBaggers Occupy Small Stretch of DC; The Conductors Run A Train On Them

About six months ago I was sitting in my apartment in downtown Wuhan gathering quotes for a Train of Thought Field Trip when I noticed a huge banner on the top of Free Republic. Allow me to slightly paraphrase it: “FREE REPUBLIC INVITES YOU AND ALL YOUR CRAZY FRIENDS TO COME TO WASHINGTON DC ON SEPTEMBER 12th AND WAVE NONSENSICAL SIGNS AROUND WHILE CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS TELL YOU ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU ARE! REGISTER NOW!”

So register I did- thirty times, to be exact. After that I emailed JJ stating in no uncertain terms that we would be there, a statement he agreed with immediately. Over the next few months we watched as Free Republic, Glenn Beck, FreedomWorks, and other leaders of the new post-apocalyptic conservative movement hyped it up as much as they could. T-shirts by FreedomWorks, charter buses by FreedomWorks, sign ideas by FreedomWorks! Just like the first round of tea parties, this was astroturfing at its finest.

Last Thursday we went to JJ’s place and got right to it. Sign ideas were exchanged and improved upon, designs were reworked, and plans were made for Saturday morning. We were happy to find that two friends of the Train, T and La France, were willing to join us.

At noon on Saturday we met up at Union Station and finished some last minute sign coloring before hitting the streets with the first ever live incarnation of The Train. Witness what we’re provisionally referring to as The Conductors:

From Union Station it was only a few blocks to the Capitol, where thousands of confused angry conservatives had set up camp:

The event was like a Free Republic thread come to life, with sign content ranging from merely confusing to hideously offensive. The people there needed no prompting before flying off the handle into all sorts of baffling rants. T was a lightning rod for crazy people, with one woman lecturing him about how he should never compare himself to black people- because, she explained, black people are “willing to do anything,” including “raping and killing.” One ongoing theme we noticed among the signs were ones wondering aloud why people keep labeling them racists. Perhaps we’ll never know…

Still, many of the people who came up to T ended with far more lighthearted encounters, including this woman who was delighted to meet Bobby Jindal’s nephew:

JJ had taped a copy of Obama’s birth certificate to his chest, which ended up being a perfect complement to the many signs demanding that Obama release his birth certificate and/or go back to Kenya. Here JJ poses with one Birther who studiously refused to acknowledge our repeated references to where she could, in fact, find a certification of live birth for one Barrack Obama:

Hahaha she’s literally within inches of it. Damn that Obama, able to hide it within plain sight! Some people went over the top with their preparations, including the owners of this lovely vehicle:

La France clearly approves. We all took plenty of opportunities to put our signs in the background of the major photo-ops, like a Where’s Waldo that ends with bewildered conservatives staring at lemonparty:

Over the course of two hours we took pictures with and spoke to hundreds of conservatives. Out of all of these people only one realized that we weren’t being entirely on the level. “Are you guys for real?” (pause) “No, you guys aren’t for real.” For the most part people looked at our signs and approved, spotting nothing amiss. One man came up and said he was glad to see that it wasn’t just old people hitting the streets- I didn’t have the heart to tell him that actually yes, it was only old people who had come out unironically. Age may have been at least somewhat related to one notable feature of the rally: a large percentage of the protestors brought lawn chairs and merely sat on them, signs planted in the ground to the side. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a group which has spent decades deriding protests now finds itself wholly unable to pull one off with any sense of energy today.

It’s worth noting that while conservatives had a 0.01% success rate for detecting our mockery, journalists were dead on, 2 for 2. We spoke to people from Media Matters and, both of whom recognized our game immediately. They were kind enough not to blow our cover in front of the great masses of the people, and Alex Koppelman from Salon was awesome enough to include us in his article about the event!

One final note about numbers- our sense was that the crowd wasn’t larger than 10 or so thousand where we were. Police and firemen estimates are claiming 60,000 for all three events combined, which is only 1,940,000 people lower than the number being thrown around by Michelle Malkin and Free Republic. I’ll put up some random pictures of especially ridiculous protestors later today or tomorrow.

All in all, I’d like to say that the first convention of The Conductors was a great success.


  1. oh god, not played everyone!

  2. I'm surprised you weren't recognized as LIBRULS for your lack of spelling errors!

    Please keep up the good work.

  3. You guys are awesome. Reading this was probably the most satisfying moment of my day. keep it up.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm impressed...I figured they would have made you in minutes. Well played.

  6. This is really fantastic – I'm glad it was such a success, though it would be nice if the Beckians' reactions weren't quite as predictable...

    Also, fuck this guy

  7. This is fantastic, wish I could have been there!

  8. [url=]amateur female[/url]
    [url=]amateur turkish girls[/url]
    [url=]home sex video[/url]
    [url=]real amateur video[/url]
    [url=]amateur extreme[/url]