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TEA'd Off Americans

Experiencing a Texas-style Tax Day Tea Party

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
Colin Connally
April 17, 2009 | 4,411 views | 28 comments

On April 14, 2009 National Public Radio wrote an article about the upcoming Tax Day Tea Party’s that were scheduled across the country. It bordered on hilarious when Texas Public Radio (NPR) gave 5 reasons why they felt the Tax Day Tea Party didn’t make any sense. They claimed there was no analogous meaning between the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and the Tea Party of April 15, 2009. It was even a stretched for them- based on their liberal views- to look at the function of the tea itself, rather than the actual point of the protest. But despite their preemptive attempts, as well as many others (CNN, MSNBC, ABC, etc.), to discredit these events they were still held and the true point of these events were felt not just by Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, or Libertarians; but by Governors, Senators, Congressmen, and by the President. Citizens were there to collectively flex their ‘freedom of speech’ muscle in opposition to excessive spending and excessive government.

Texas Public Radio’s 5 key points were:

1) “It [was not a protest against big government. It was a protest against England's refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all”.

2) “Tea is an affordable drink”.

3) “In the U.S., tea is nonpolitical”.

4) “Tea is a drink of serenity, not anger. Tea is a calming drink. When people sit down to have a cup of tea, they are not in a hurry. It's relaxing and constructive for discussion.”

5) “Tea is not really an American drink”.

Four of the five key points as to why the Tax Day Tea Party’s don’t make since is related to the tea itself? It would be pointless to debate any of these four as they are irrelevant- it’s about TAXES not TEA. But the fact that tea is not a “calming drink” is absurd. Tea is used as a ‘pick me up’ because of its stimulating effects--- IT HAS CAFFINE!!!!

Now on to the only real ground that this article tried to build on: “It [The Boston Tea Party] was not a protest against big government. It was a protest against England's refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all”. Here is Wikipedia’s take on it: “The Boston Tea Party was a direct action protest by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government”. The article also included: “The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act for a variety of reasons, especially because they believed that it violated their constitutional right to be taxed only by their own elected representatives.” This is the exact sentiment of many Americans today.

The Boston Tea Party was in fact, “a protest against big government”. The colonists were protesting against being over-taxed by an over authoritative government that was not in turn, not providing them with their basic needs. These were similar, although not identical, to the sentiment at the almost 1,000 Tea Parties that were spread across the nation. Two of the larger ‘parties’ were held in San Antonio and Austin, TX. Fortunately I was able to attend the one in San Antonio in front of The Alamo.

I arrived around 2:00p. The crowd had already begun gathering and setting chairs up at the front of the stage. I picked up an itinerary of sorts that highlighted the events of the day, which officially started at 6:00. There was a country-western type singer (Steve Vaus) who preformed a patriotic type song, as well as several other small-note speakers- one of which was a bright young man, Edward Jaax, who- for being 18 years old- was an eloquent speaker. The main speakers were Glenn Beck (talk radio host and Fox News commentator), Katharine Moreno (immigrant from Columbia to US), Janine Turner (actress) and Ted Nugent (musician).

As I stood amongst an ever-growing crowd, I began reading the signs that people carried: “I have an American Dream. Don’t rob my future” (with a picture of the woman’s child); “When PIGS fly, PORK will stimulate”; “I am not an ATM machine”; “Texans Remember the Alamo. Does Government Remember the Constitution?”; and “WWTJD. What would Thomas Jefferson do (reference the popular WWJD slogan)?” There were also several different flags for the United States as well as Texas flags: “Betsy Ross”, “Culpepper”, “Gasden”, and “Come and Take It”. These were the flags flown during the American and Texas Revolutions.

These signs and flags were a mixture of protest and revolution. But as I spoke with my elbowroom neighbors the talk was more about protest than revolution and consisted of: lost jobs, nonsensical bonuses, the stimulus package, and biased media coverage. Many people were reading other people’s signs and commenting, “that’s a good one”, or “that‘s funny”. There was no talk of succession or revolution, nor any type of hate language or violent suggestion, with in earshot of myself. The only problem that seemed to arise was getting the crowd to back up from the stage to allow the speakers to walk up. I also noticed several veterans and spoke with one who recently lost his job of 18 years.
The day went on and around 5:00p I went in search of water. I found it only about 50 yards from where I had stood, but the sea of people made the trip take almost 15 minutes. I then found a friend who had secured a better location by way of a hotel and we went there for a bird’s eye view.

From atop the Lone Star Hotel, we gained a truer sense of size and the number of people. We counted a square of 50 people and then estimated about 100 squares; plus what we couldn’t see we guesstimated 6,000 people. I later read the San Antonio Police Department estimated 14,000 (not bad considering SA’s basketball team was in a win-or-out of the playoffs situation at the same time). These numbers will likely become more accurate as the reports come in. But based on the number of these that were held across the state and the nation (totaling over 730), there certainly seemed that many Americans have some serious concerns with their elected officials.

We listened to live news coverage from Fox News as they reported from other events throughout the country. Then heard chants of “USA” and “GLEN BECK”, and the approving, “YEA!!!” and disapproving, “BOOOO!”. The high school student, Edward Jaax stressed to the crowd the importance of being involved in the political process. He mentioned that voter turn out has been at it’s lowest, 1% and at it’s best 50%. The speakers continued to reiterate several points about and stressed that the event was non-partisan. In Mr. Becks words, “Democrats suck. Republicans suck. Libertarians suck. And Liberals suck”. Speakers expanded on concerns over government spending, out of control taxes, and how that the Stimulus Packages will cause a huge deficit that our children will end up paying for. Mr. Nugent seemed to be the most stimulating speaker although he was only supposed to be playing the national anthem. Much to many people’s surprise, this one-time rocker was an invigorating word artist and the Tea Party was his canvas. Mr. Nugent made mention of the refusal, by Governor Perry’s, for Stimulus money that would have ended up costing the State of Texas more money in the long run. He then emphasized that citizens need to follow through on their actions for the day. People also needed to write letters, send emails, and make phone calls to their senators and congressmen. Mr. Nugent stressed the importance of citizens making the government work for them and not working for the government.
The accusations of the Tax Day Tea Party being “pretzelish in its logic”, “radical right wing”, “terroristic”, “violent”, or “toothless” were erroneous. The jokes made by media outlets (Cooper, CNN News) in referring to the event as “tea-bagging” was an insult to the participants and their right to free speech. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi commented, “It’s astroturf [rather than grassroots] by some of the wealthiest people in America to keep the focus on tax cuts for the rich instead of for the great middle class”. But as I stood next to an unemployed veteran, a young Hispanic couple, and an elderly woman in a wheel chair, Pelosi’s words were both ignorant and inconsequential.

The event was well attended, inspirational, exciting, and educational. Collectively there were tens of thousands of Americans from all walks of life; from young to old; from upper to lower class; from each of the 50 states including: veterans, nurses, mechanics, teachers, plumbers, investors, and firefighters. There were true themes that reflected much more that what biased media outlets showed in their coverage (or lack there of). Citizens collectively gathered to oppose not a president but rather a more socialistic type of government. They voiced concerns about excessive government spending on things that they never approved. They beseeched for the future debts of their children and their children’s children. They thundered their opposition of more government handouts and bailouts for the ill decisions of banks, insurance companies, and mortgage investors. They rebuked the change to a radical and socialistic type of government. These Tax Day Tea Parties were quintessentially- American.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 - 2004)

‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

April 21, 2009 5:11pm
I take whatever these people say with a grain of salt. Half the time what we are hearing from Washington is not the truth anyway.

La Vernia  
April 21, 2009 4:27pm
Becky, I think you need to check your sources, Congressman Jane Harman was just interview by CNN and stated she did not do the things you who do we believe, you quoting the Internet/News sources or her own words?

April 21, 2009 9:48am
1. Congressman Jane Harman (D - CA) told a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby. 2. This is known ... More ›

April 19, 2009 11:23am
Thanks Carter, that's what I wanted to know.

April 18, 2009 10:34pm
I pledge to help Mr. Obama exactly the same way that the 'left' helped Pres. Bush.

staten island  
April 18, 2009 9:14pm
The liberals of all parties are destroying our nation, each year we lose more and more of our freedoms.

Carter Thomas  
April 18, 2009 11:53am
To Becky, I was the speaker. The bill is H.R. 450, The Enumerated Powers Act. The author and chief sponsor is John Shadegg from Arizona. I hope this answers your question.

Travis Pruski  
Poth, TX  
April 18, 2009 11:38am
The TEA Parties were about the federal government not following the rules of the Constitution. The stimulus bill, TARP, welfare, unemployment, social security and all the other Socialist program are illegal under the Constitution. ... More ›

April 18, 2009 10:40am
At the tea party, one of the speakers told of a bill sponsored by a congressman from Arizona that would require legislation to cite constitutional authority before passage. Can someone tell me what the # for it is?

April 18, 2009 10:15am
To J.B. Yes, we know when the "Bush tax cuts" expire. Why do you think the economy is in such a tank? Those in business do not want to invest. Why should they? They would be better off burying their money in the back ... More ›

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