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After Action Report from the Chicago Tea Party. Eric Odom reporting:

As point man and chief organizer for the Chicago Tea Party, I must admit, I didn’t really know what to expect when I woke up this morning. I knew we had about 300 RSVPs on Facebook, but there really was no way to get an accurate reading of what to expect as far as turnout.

Today is a cold one here in Chicago. I think it was probably 15 degrees when I first arrived at Daley Plaza at 10:20 AM. It was starting to snow and the wind was picking up. When I arrived there was a group of people who had driven up to Chicago from Indianapolis who had a sign or two, but the scene was quiet and still.

[...]

I made the rounds with the Chicago Police Department… greeting each of them and letting them know our plans. I spoke to the lieutenant who had been called in to put together a strategy for dealing with the crowd, and was told, much to my delight, that the Chicago Police Department would escort us as we marched through downtown Chicago to the Michigan Ave Bridge where the speeches were to take place.

By 10:50 there were easily more than 300 in the plaza, and by 11:10 I would dare say we were 400+ strong.

At 11:15 I informed the Police Officer assigned to take the lead with us that we were ready to march, and we began our journey through the loop towards the Michigan Ave bridge.

The walk was long and cold, but the energy was high and encouraging. The crowd chanted “No More Bailouts” as we crossed busy streets and intersections, and we were met with supportive honks at every turn.

When we reached the Michigan Ave Bridge, a tea bag was broken open and dumped into the river to signify the birth of a new American Revolution.

I’m not sure which is sadder; the notion that only 400 people in a city of 2.9 million showed up to protest, or the image of Eric manfully tearing apart a Lipton teabag so that the 400+ strong could watch a teaspoon’s worth of shredded orange pekoe flutter and disperse into the wind.

Oh wait! I know what’s sadder:

At the end, I was approached by hundreds of activists and every day citizens who literally BEGGED that we do more of this, and a lot more often. And not just rallies, but collaborative action needed to get government back under control.

And, by golly, there is a way!

The Dontgo Movement is gearing up to launch an aggressive effort to help shed light on what we’re in for in the near future. And not just shine some light on what lies ahead, but also create an environment where eActivists can take action in ways that cause real change in the way government at all levels functions.

To to do this, we need your help. Yes, we’ve been able to build a true grassroots movement unlike any other (with regards to online infrastructure and no funding) without spending a dime in 2008, but there are certain things we just can’t do for free.

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Grassroots Fail.