We begin in Anchorage, Alaska, where a group of average women decided to hold a small rally to let it be known that their Governor, Sarah Palin, does not represent their views on many of the issues that are important in their lives.
They put together a press release and sent it to the Anchorage media outlets. A local right-wing talk show host broadcast the names and phone numbers of the two organizers over the air. They began receiving a series of harassing phone calls for the remainder of that afternoon. The leading TV station picked up the story on Thursday. Alaska Public Radio Network put up some audio.
An anonymous caller contacted the local media on Friday afternoon and told them they were one of the organizers, and the rally had been cancelled. Someone even faxed forged a document saying the Secret Service had cancelled the permit for the rally, even though no permit is required. Some people were putting an awful lot of effort in to making sure no dissent would be heard from Alaska.
Well, it didn't work. Despite overcast skies and a forecast for rain, there was a rally here today. Oh man, was there! In fact, it was by most accounts the largest protest rally in the history of Alaska. The Anchorage Daily News wrote that the rally drew an "estimated" 1500 people. Let me be clear: the organizers used a hand-clicker and counted at least 1,483 Alaskans, mostly women, who showed up to say that Sarah Palin does not speak for them. They also counted 93 McCain/Palin supporters. The national media loves to say that Sarah Palin enjoys an "80% popularity rating" in Alaska. Do the math on todays rally, and you'd need a faith-based calculator to get 80%. This was grassroots activism at its best - Alaskans coming out to speak their minds on a host of issues. Here are some still pics, I'll update with video later today.
UPDATE 4: All the pics are back up now.
UPDATE 3: Lots of viewers were asking for the lyrics to the song "Shine" by Cyndi Lauper. This version of the music video has subtitles included.
UPDATE 2: Wow, I just have to say how blown away I am this morning. I feel privileged to share the feelings of these strong, independent-thinking women with everyone. The passion of the last woman in the video just takes my breath away.
UPDATE: And the video is here! Gotta love iMovie!
The site of the rally.
At 10:30 AM, the sidewalk was empty.
So was the lawn.
Would anyone show up?
It started out small.
Then a few more showed up.
Was this it?
Nope - the rally gets bigger.
Probably the biggest protest rally in Alaska history. I can believe that.
The Theme of the Day
This woman wasn't buying it.
And neither was this this one.
Or this whole family.
No shortage of Pitbulls and Lipstick.
A smart young girl.
Two of my favorites.
Another good one.
These two women weren't buying the hype, either.
An excellent question. Governor?
Lots of other folks here support her choice, too.
I sense a pattern developing here...
Folks weren't wild about her ideas on war, either.
Here's a hockey mom with a different opinion.
The McCain/Palin supporters came out in force.
This guy was too lazy to make a new sign. Or maybe he's just saying that Sarah's not fit to be VP, and should just remain Governor of Alaska. I'll drink to that!
Let me close with this one. Teach your children well, indeed.
Check out more pics here.
As you can see from these photos, the rally was AMAZING! With few exceptions, there was no friction between the two camps. To help keep things civil, the organizers set up some ground rules for the rally. Here is the "Code of Conduct" that they distributed to attendees:
ALASKA WOMEN REJECT PALIN RALLY
Saturday, September 13, 2008, 12:00 noon
Loussac Library, 36th and Denali
Welcome to the Alaska Women Reject Palin Rally. We invite you to introduce yourselves to each other and discuss legitimate policy concerns and what brought you out this weekend.
Please review the code of conduct outlined below. We are committed to exercising our right to free speech and assembly in a peaceful, respectful manner.
• This rally is non-partisan.
• Stick to issues and speak about your individual experience and views.
• Be respectful of all view points.
• Do not engage with counter rally participants in arguments about the merit of specific issues or value systems.
• No personal attacks on Governor Palin, her family, or her supporters.
• Do not use abusive language.
• Stay off the lawn and do not block sidewalk or road traffic.
• Please recycle this flyer and don’t litter.
And if you're still with me...
Ed Schulz held a town hall meeting here on Saturday night. He'll be broadcasting it on Monday. Be sure to tune in to hear real Alaskans tell the country what they think of Sarah Palin in their own words. Don't miss it!