The Denver Tax Day Tea Party drew several thousand people to the capitol. Why did they come? What do they think? I interviewed several dozen ralliers and compiled their comments in a 25 minute audio file. (If the previous link fails, try the backup.)
In my first article I make some general notes about the event. Here my goal is to compile photographs and audio interviews of typical ralliers whose messages were basically in the spirit of the event as advertised. I had originally planned to do a third article covering off-point messages, two agitators (self-styled comedians), and a Democratic “liberal” couple, but this article took me longer to create than I anticipated, and the other material is of lesser interest.
I have a very short video of the crowd. Also check out El Presidente’s outstanding collection of photos and videos of the event, as well as reports by Mr. Bob, Ben DeGrow, Rossputin, and Thomas James.
Peter Perry of Centennial, a volunteer with FreedomWorks, advocates “lower taxes, less government, and more freedom.” “Get back to the original Constitution,” he urges. “We cannot become a nation of debt, nothing but debt, debt all the time.” He added, “This is the first time I’ve been involved, and I think that’s a significant change for me… I’m hoping that more concerned citizens are becoming involved.”
Thomas James of the People’s Press Collective (not shown) explained the goals of that organization. About the rally, he said, “I hope that the elected officials who this is aimed at… develop an awareness that the people are not happy with what they are doing, are not happy with the taxing, spending, government growth, irresponsibility, and that people are waking up and they want their liberty back.”
Anthony Gillis of “Colorado Tea Party” — a distinct group from the rally’s organizers — said, “We need to take a stand for liberty and for our livelihoods… The spending is simply out of control, and with it goes a grab for power, because he who pays the piper calls the tune. Peacefully, through the democratic process, we need to stand up for our rights now, and it’s going to be a sustained effort.”
Valentina Montague attended the rally with her daughter Christine and granddaughter Lindsey. Valentina said, “I am a grandmother… and I am concerned for their future and the future of our country.”
Lance Olsen voiced concern about “taxes across the board at the local and state level.” He also advocate transparency in government spending, achieved by putting all spending records online.
Cindy Johnson said Congress and the President are “out of control, spending too much money.” Alexandra Harden pointed out, “Most of the people who share our views are working right now, to pay the taxes that they live off of.”
Ed Carter came to the rally with his son Branden. Ed said he attended “to try and take this government back for the people, basicaly what the Constitution is all about, that we have the power, and I think we’ve let it slip away to people who don’t have the best interests of this country at hand… I think we’re being taxed, not to prosperity, but to the opposite end, and we need to get back to what our forefathers intended this country to be all about.”
Skip said, “We’re sick and tired of it, no earmarks!” Carol added, “I have eight grandchildren, one of them is 22, she’s in college, she’s going to have to pay the brunt of paying this off, and so are my other grandchildren. And I’m mad as hell about it, too. Our kids shouldn’t have to pay for somebody else’s misappropriation of funds.”
Bob said, “I think a lot of this is due to our government spending. People are just fed up with it.” Bob also expressed concerns about businesses “going over seas,” which I don’t regard as a problem in itself. However, various federal policies encourage many businesses to move overseas by artificially increasing the costs of doing business at home, and that should be stopped.
Terry said, “I’m sorry of seeing the Constitution stepped on. I’m sick and tired of it. It hasn’t started just now. Government is out of control, they’re spending money left and right, and I’m just mad about it.”
Bob Tender said, “The government is spending too much money. Congress doesn’t even read its own bills, comes up with stimulus that has hidden pork in it, taking away our future, taking away our kids’ future, taking away our grandchildrens’ future. That’s why I’m here.” Barbara Benito, who supported Obama during the election, added, “I want to see my money spent responsibly, and I want to make sure there’s accountability.”
Dave Wiliams (not shown) of the Gadsden Society said, “It’s got to go beyond today. People have got to stay involved, get involved, show up, and continue to make a difference.”
Sandy said, “The government is out of control with all their spending. My grandchildren are already $187,000 in debt. It’s too much, and it needs to stop.” Kay added, “Congress is out of control… to pass a bill that they didn’t even read is absolute irresponsibility.”
Marilyn was “concerned about the taxing and the spending.” Pam said, “We’re concerned with our kids’ future, our grandchildrens’ future, and what’s going to be left for them? And they’re asking the same thing.”
Mel, who served in Vietnam in the Air Force, said, “I didn’t serve 22 years for socialism… I feel this taxation and also overspending of the budget is definitely wrong. It’s a free-enterprise country. If you can’t run your company, you should resign or default, and not have the government pulling you out.” Sharon, who served 20 years in the Air Force, fears Obama is “pro-socialism. We’re a capitalist country, and thank god of it.”
El Presidente himself (with the video camera).
Alex Hornaday complained about the “complete irresponsibility in an administration from a party that spend so much time complaining about” the previous administration.
Ryan Call, chair of the Denver County Republican Party, said, “I’m excited, to look at how many people came out for this event, talking about less government regulation, lower taxes, and all these kinds of things that make America great.” Steve Schultz, chair of the Clear Creak GOP, wants to “return the country to the roots it was founded on, because we’re going farther and farther away all the time.” Both men granted that the Bush administration and some other Republican leaders “didn’t live up to many of the principles that we think the party has long stood for,” meaning “fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and freedom.”
Melissa Peters said, “I came to support the Tea Party because I disagree with all the spending going on in Congress today.”
“We’re here because we really feel our government is going in the wrong direction, and we feel we need to speak out.”
George Palmentaro said, “A lot of us served our country. I don’t think it should be sold by the administration.”
Ron Lewis said, “I’m here to join with my fellow Americans, to stand against unconstitutional policies in our government, and to let the government know that we’re tired.” Ron also argued that the Federal Reserve should be abolished.
Linda, who attended the rally with Marie, complained about “the taxes, the bailouts, the pork, Fannie May, Freddie Mac.”