Springfield Tax Day Tea Party
Taxed Enough Already! DC Greed! The Solution to 2009 is 1776! Those were but some of the slogans seen on signs at the Tax Day Tea Party in Springfield Massachusetts on a beautiful April 15th afternoon. A crowd of some 250 to 300 lined two blocks of the busy corner of Liberty and Main streets, right in front of the Post Office, carrying signs, tea bags, “Don't Tread On Me” flags and with a festive if frustrated spirit.
According to Dan Rose, one of the organizers, people had started showing up prior to the scheduled 4:00 pm start time.
“I think people are just frustrated and have had enough. We can't just file our complaints at the voting booth anymore.” He said when I asked how the event was going. There was representation from all three of the local television news stations; CBS 3, WWLP 22 and WGGB 40 as well as the local paper The Republican. I asked Mr Rose if he'd spoken with any of the reporters and what his impression was of the interviews and he said that he'd been interviewed by a couple of the television reporters as well as The Republican and overall he thought he'd been treated fairly by the television stations but that the Republican reporter wasn't very receptive.
Mr Rose gave a speech every half hour of the protest, during which he outlined 29 points of frustration. Some of the highlights of the list include;
No one in Congress should be allowed to vote on a bill they haven't read in its entirety.
The Congressmen responsible for allowing this situation to increase
should be removed from office in shame (at this stage a chant of “Bye
Bye Barney” started, referring to Rep Barney Frank of Cambridge
As of this writing, all articles online from the news media had to be searched for in order to be found so I have included the links:
CBS 3 Springfield: "Tax Day Deadline Features Protests."
22News - WWLP.com "'Tea Party' draws hundreds in protest."
The Republican, Springfield Mass, "Protests, placards dot Tax Day," Thursday, April 16, 2009 By STAN FREEMAN
Not all protesters were there in support of the movement, there were two in attendance who held the other view. One who I spoke with (but we were interrupted before I could get his name) felt this protest was a result of “misdirected anger” that was being guided by the likes of Hannity and Beck on Fox news as well as Rush Limbaugh and others on talk radio. He felt that protests like this were fine and people should speak out against the government when they disagree, but this anger was being misdirected.
Others disagreed; I spoke with a 33 year old man who had been a Democrat for 30 years and an independent for 3. A grandmother had brought her four grandchildren because she wants a future for them. A mother in attendance with her children said “we can't sit in our houses and complain any longer we need to get out and be heard.”
I was able to speak to some people at length. Ellen Manolakis, a retired Grandmother, told me she was “disgusted with the Government taking away freedoms.” For her, this protest went beyond the economy and she was worried about the nation her grandchildren would inherit. As she said to me “when a President can fire a CEO, what's to stop him from closing down any businesses he doesn't like?” She had come to the protest after hearing about it on the news but mostly through word of mouth. It seems in the 21st century with all our technology, word of mouth is still the king of communication.
Donald Gray also brought his children to the protest hoping to educate them about the importance of their freedom of speech. What brought him here, or more specifically, what drove him to take action was that he'd reached his breaking point. Excessive spending, the growing government, broken promises and most especially the rewarding of failure which he said went beyond the high profile CEOs.
Grandmothers, parents, students, lawyers, truck-drivers, some on welfare and of all races; Black, White, Hispanic and Asians were present to express their frustration and exercise their first amendment. Tea bags hung from the corners of glasses, protest signs, side-view mirrors on cars and dangled from wrists like bracelets. During the hour I was there, I heard plenty of honks of support for the protest and about a half-hour before it ended people started pointing skyward to a small rainbow directly overhead the protest. They took it as a sign from that highest authority and in whose name they ended each of their 29 points of protest: By the will of My God.