published Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Chattanooga: Tax Day Tea Party draws big crowd

by Adam Crisp

No actual tea made it into the Tennessee River on Wednesday, but protesters say their message is just as strong as the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

About 2,000 people crowded the lawn near Ross’s Landing for the Chattanooga Tax Day Tea Party. The event was meant to protest increasing spending and high taxes, organizers said.

They hope their message, combined with the uproar coming from hundreds of other tea parties across the nation, will be noticed by those in government.

“You just heard the collective feet of the people coming down all at once,” said Martin Johnson, a Hixson resident who attended the protest. “We aren’t going to take it anymore, and we want our leaders to listen to us for a change.”

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. The protests were not meant to be partisan in nature, organizers said.

“Our government has been out of control for a long time, way before now, during Republican and Democratic administrations,” said Jeremy Wilkey, of Soddy-Daisy. “We’re looking for change, and the change is smaller government.”

Protesters held signs that demanded lower taxes, the return of some portion of their paychecks and common sense from elected leaders. Several took direct jabs at President Barack Obama and his stimulus plan.

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty,” said Mark West, quoting Thomas Jefferson. An Ooltewah CPA and business owner, Mr. West organized the local event. “What we want now is for government to have a healthy fear of the people.”

Across the nation, crowds turned out for similar rallies. In Nashville, about 3,000 people protested on the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol building. In Knoxville, about 1,700 people turned out for a protest at World’s Fair Park. Counterprotesters in much smaller numbers gathered at the site, too.

In Atlanta, thousands of people gathered outside the Capitol, where Fox News Channel conservative pundit Sean Hannity was set to broadcast his show Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported.

In Washington, D.C., protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags toward the White House, causing a brief lockdown at the compound.

Laurie Dorn said she and co-worker Angela Russ decided to attend the protest because it was their way of taking action against reckless spending.

“We didn’t want to sit at home and grumble. We wanted to come out and be a part of something,” Ms. Dorn said. “We hope that our elected officials realize that constituents have a voice, and that they need to listen to us.”

  • Tea party protest
    Several hundred people gathered at Ross’s Landing for the Chattanooga Tax Day Tea Party on April 15 to push for fiscal responsibility at all levels of government.
about Adam Crisp...

Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...

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dshinn said...

It was great seeing so many folks at the Rally at Ross' Landing downtown Chattanooga on Wednesday evening.

Nice to see so many folks that are willing to take a stand against out of control government spending, high taxes, bailouts and the like. Many thanks to the organizers who worked so hard to make this a great event.

It was also great that many folks seemed eager to join in ongoing efforts with others who are like-minded in their concerns. If we carve out some time for these types of efforts, and work together where we can find common ground on these issues, we can speak much more loudly than just one person can.

So, moving forward, please view our Hamilton County, Tn., Calendar at Campaign for Liberty where we post upcoming meetings and other events. If you like what you see on the "About" section of the Campaign For Liberty website, then please join us. Our next meeting will be at the Ryan's in Hixson on April 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.

David Shinn Hixson

April 16, 2009 at 3:17 p.m.
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