Feds’ stimulus package also draws their ire
They say they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.
Several thousand people attended Wednesday’s “Tucson Tea Party” at El Presidio Park to send a blunt message to government officials that they believe the nation is way off course.
The symbolism of holding the rally on the deadline for filing tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service was not coincidental.
“We’ve been planning this for over a month now,” event organizer Robert Mayer, 22, said as a country singer played on a temporary stage near the park’s fountain.
“We had hoped to draw about 1,000. But we estimate that over 3,000 people have passed through since it started,” Mayer said.
Hundreds brought signs and placards to give added weight to their complaints:
• The federal bailouts of banks and automakers. The federal stimulus package. The economy. Job losses.
• Loss of liberties under the Patriot Acts. Warrantless wiretapping. The Homeland Security Agency.
• Immigration. Abortion. Capitalism vs. socialism.
The event was one of many held nationwide. Conservative television and radio talk show hosts have for weeks been stirring up public anger, mainly against the Obama administration, and calling for a national day of protest.
The Manns – account manager David and stay-at-home mom Donna – were at the protest because they believe they are being charged for other peoples’ mistakes – individual and corporate.
“I don’t believe they should be using my tax money to shore up mistakes by lenders and people who overstated their income,” David Mann said.
“They’re basically pushing this country into trillions and trillions of dollars of debt. . . . Where does it stop?”
No one ever bailed out Heidi Taylor, 63, who came to Tucson in 1967 after escaping from East Germany. She had $150 in her pocket when she arrived here.
“And I never took one single penny from the government,” she said.
The effects of government spending will carry over for future generations, many at the rally said.
“I have children and grandchildren who will have to pay for our mistakes,” Linda Walker, 61, said.
“We’re here because we want smaller government,” Anna Gilman, 42, said.
“This is about government spending,” Ted Hanson, 60, said.
Hanson also opposed the bank and auto industry bailouts by former President George W. Bush.
Hanson attended with son Ryan Harrison and brother-in-law Don Kraska of Coolidge.
The crowd makeup was a mix of mainly Republicans and Libertarians, although Democrats who said they voted for the president were there as well.
Not everyone agreed with the majority’s messages.
“Obama has been in office about 90 days and they want to blame all of it on him?” asked Jack Smiley, 65.
“None of these people showed up for the last eight years when all this started,” Smiley said.
Mayer said word about the local event was spread using many communications mediums, helping attract the higher-than-expected turnout.
“We started on Facebook, letting our friends know,” Mayer said, referring to the Internet social networking site.
“Then, we started up a blog,” he said. “We were on talk radio, too.”
By Garry Duffy, B. William Poole