Operation American Spring, the mass D.C. rally aiming to force several top government officials — including the president — to resign, spent a portion of its first day at the capital assuring people tuning into its livestream that more people are on the way. The protest's lead organizer, Harry Riley, promised 10 million to 30 million people would show up for his event; Friday's crowd appeared to be in the dozens to hundreds.
"Where you at?" one guy yelled at the live stream, adding, "We're HERE." A woman stepped up to the camera and assured viewers that a number of rally participants were stuck in "camps," because of the floods caused by today's rain.
This, understandably, has caused a lot of schadenfreude among those who might not care too much for militia-style anti-government groups — the organizers set expectations for this rally astronomically high, and their turnout was even worse than we thought it was going to be. Weirdly, the only people who might understand how the Operation American Spring people my feel right now — virtually everyone who trekked to D.C. is a true believer, to be sure — might be the early Occupy Wall Street organizers who were there on the first day of the protests in 2011. They, too, had a crowd of just hundreds at first, after advertising a mass rally for months. But Occupy, at least temporarily, became something bigger. There are no signs at this point that Operation American Spring will become something too. One of the Texas-based organizers for the protest put it this way to the Washington Times: "This is a very poor turnout. It ain’t no millions. And it ain’t looking like there’s going to be millions. Hundreds is more like it.”
That's in part because of the hard-to-swallow rhetoric present at the Operation American Spring camp, and in part because the rally based its entire plan of action on the assumption that about 10 million people would show up, at the very least. How do you have 1 million people occupy the capital when about 250 show up, total? Via Right Wing Watch, the event's speakers got a little bitter about the whole situation:
Based on their statements on Friday, those who did make it to the rally were interested in the Benghazi attacks, in the feeling that God was with them, in reclaiming America as a Christian nation and — as planned — to force Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and Eric Holder to resign from office. If that happens, no word yet on what organizers plan to do about the line of succession, which, as many have pointed out would leave the President pro tempore of the Senate to run the country. Right now that happens to be Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.