The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. Itâ€™s probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally â€œa bunch of socialist baby-killing maggotsâ€, and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received many nasty, harassing and threatening messages.
So, as I jettisoned myself from the jaws of the â€˜Drill Baby Drillâ€™ crowd and toward the mystery rally at the library, I felt a bit apprehensive. Iâ€™d been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, itâ€™s a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that arenâ€™t sent by Eddie Burke, weâ€™ll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing â€œsocialist baby-killing maggotâ€ haters.
Itâ€™s a good thing I wasnâ€™t tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebodyâ€™s trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.