Lynne Herring, of Craig, holds signs at the Tax Day Tea Party protest Wednesday in front of the Moffat County Courthouse. Herring said she was proud she "had the right to stand here with a sign and protest the government. Where else in the world can you do that?"

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Lynne Herring, of Craig, holds signs at the Tax Day Tea Party protest Wednesday in front of the Moffat County Courthouse. Herring said she was proud she "had the right to stand here with a sign and protest the government. Where else in the world can you do that?"

Residents lobby for change at Tea Party demonstration

— Flannel shirts, blue jeans and American flags.

It almost looked like the Fourth of July, one woman said with a broad smile peaking out from behind a drape of loose blond hair.

About 15 minutes into the Tax Day Tea Party protest Wednesday afternoon, about 221 residents had gathered to voice their concerns about the government.

Their causes were varied.

Taxes.

Dishonest politicians.

Gay marriage.

Gun rights.

Abortion.

The signs waved on the Moffat County Courthouse lawn showed a wide range of emotion.

Revolution is brewing.

Give me liberty or give me debt.

Abort Obama.

Moffat County resident Mary Bouchard said she loved seeing all the signs lined up along Victory Way. She hoped they and the people carrying them would do some good.

The government has taken too much money, freedom and authority from the people, Bouchard said.

She cited a report on right-wing extremists issued April 7 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an example of the government's persecution of law-abiding citizens.

The report states that military veterans returning home from the Middle East could be targets for right-wing groups with aims to disrupt the government, which Bouchard called "far-fetched."

The Obama administration also released a similar report on left-wing extremists in January. George W. Bush's administration initiated both reports.

Bouchard said she was certain Homeland Security was watching Wednesday's protest in Craig.

"I heard it on the news this morning," she said. "There's only one news channel to watch, and that's Fox."

Others said they, too, believed the government was probably at the courthouse in some capacity.

Craig resident Patrick Germond said federal authorities are afraid for their control because of tea parties across the country - 760 in all, Craig organizer Rick Barnes said.

The people involved are not going to stop organizing, Germond added.

"This is a very peaceful group of Americans, but they are not pacifists," he said. "They are in charge of this country, if it comes down to it. They are not going to let the Constitution be shredded in the dead of night."

Local politicians joined the government protest, as well.

Moffat County commissioners Tom Mathers and Tom Gray each carried a small piece of paper with the letters "IRS" crossed over with a red slash.

Mathers said his only problem with the protest was it seemed too small.

"It's not enough," the commissioner said. "This ought to have everybody in Craig here. There's nobody out there, that I know of, that agrees with the ways the federal government is spending their money."

Despite Mathers' assessment, the courthouse lawn was busy. Protestors waved and cars and trucks - including a Craig road and bridge department dumptruck - honked their support.

Inside, the courthouse was relatively quiet.

Most employees said they took a look out the window once or twice during the rally, but they mostly had to work.

Not everyone stayed in, though. Tammy Villard went out and met some of the crowd, though she did not necessarily support their cause.

"It's good that they're bringing attention to their cause," Villard said. "I'm just not sure what they're protesting against. I don't know if they know what they're protesting against."

There were so many varying points of view, the crowd didn't seem unified around one message, she said.

People are angry about taxes, but how far can that go, asked Villard, a registered Republican who did not vote for President Barack Obama.

"I'm just not sure what people expect to have if they don't pay taxes of some kind," she said. "My kids use the city pool, and I like to be able to go to the dump and use water, and if my house is on fire, I want the fire department to come put it out. That's all paid for with taxes."

Villard also saw a predominant anger about whether federal politicians recognize the interests of the public.

Waving a sign is one thing, she said. Participating in primary caucuses, voting and attending County Commission and City Council meetings is a better way to be involved.

"That's the function of voting," she said. "How many people turned out for the City Council election? Hardly any."

One of the protestors, Maybell resident Larry Spalding, 59, said he will not miss the opportunity to cast his vote in the 2010 general election.

"I'm going to vote out every incumbent on the ballot, no matter what party," he said. "I don't believe we are represented by either party. In the last decade, the Republican Party has veered to the left in their fiscal policy. They're not representing the people or the Republicans."

With Americans organizing like they did in Craig on Wednesday, it's possible that change can come, Spalding said.

"All power is vested in and drawn from the people," he said. "We just need to realize it and organize, and then the politicians will all be in front of us again, saying, 'Love me. Give me money.'"

Barnes said he wants to keep the local movement going and plans to organize another demonstration May 1. For more information, call him at 824-6991 or email dont_treadonme@hotmail.com.

Comments

Patrick Germond 5 years ago

P.S. I teach my Daughter to hit her target. When Darwin comes for her, she'll be showing him a thing or two.

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als362 5 years ago

To wapitipoker You cannot spend yourself rich. Somewhere along the line money should be saved for a rainy day, not throw it all to companies that looking at their current state of affairs cannot manage themselves.

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als362 5 years ago

It is the duty of all RESPONSIBLE Americans to question the people in charge, and make sure they know exactly what it is you require from them.

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Wapitipoker 5 years ago

Ha! This is ridiculous. I wonder if there would have been a "party" opposing McCain's huge stimulus spending if he had won. It started with Bush (TARP) so don't think McCain or the republican party wouldn't have continued it too. It's too bad all of these people are too short-sighted to see that you have to spend money to fix something that is costing you more money down the road (I wonder how many of them have huge credit card bills?) The sad part is they probably feel like they accomplished something when they were just pawns to mental giants like Glen Beck. Viva la Revolution!

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oawow 5 years ago

If you hate the government so bad move to a different country.

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oawow 5 years ago

The government is not at the court house, the goverment is the court house.

I think Bouchard is right. Homeland Security probable was there. I'm sure podunk Craig is on the top of their watch list. And if Fox news said it, it must be true. This is like something out of a South Park Episode, and it makes laugh. ahahahahahah!!!!!!!

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nikobesti 5 years ago

Tea partiers, I hope we can have a constructive discussion about your concerns. I have a couple questions. I echo Ms. Villard's question: What exactly WAS this demonstration about? Spending? Taxes? Lack of representation? Abortion? Gun rights?

I have respect for anyone willing to speak their mind, regardless of the cause. However, I never have a ton of respect for people who complain but offer no solutions. So I want to provide that chance to tea partiers now. What would you do if you were president? If you lower taxes, what government programs are you going to axe? Do you think the government should abdicate its responsibility to maintain infrastructure? Public schools? What about subsidies for oil and gas companies and ranching on public lands?

Thanks,

niko

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Patrick Germond 5 years ago

Great questions!!!!! First off I'd like to explain who was there. It was in large part, former Republicans. Everyone there was protesting the path we where starting down and we are now on in this country. This has been building since the Bushes started their new world order crud. This attempt to sell America down the road, shred the Constitution, enslave our children for social engineering, displace the American voter and worker with foreigners, taxes, and more, is what this is all over. Pretty big tent eh?

Pent up anger building over 20 years, that's what its over.

And since it's being down played and ridiculed, I'm sad to say we'll probable look back and say it was the peaceful part of the movement. All movements this big with this much passion, escalate. I believe Darwin is going to teach some leasons here. These are the people who when they snap, governments fall. This time their mad at our government.

Sad, I hope we can make it to the election. But if just 1 to 3% have bad inpulse control, well you can now see a possible future. I'm going to try and incite peace all I can, but I think the odds are going to be slipping from people like me.

The first Tea Parties where not about representation. The where about opression. If the taxes would have been a third what they where, there would have been no revolution.

If this was Iran, the White House would be all over it's self to find leaders to talk peace and comprimise.

And as for answers, get the competent department heads together and tell them to cut thier budgets by 30%.

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Patrick Germond 5 years ago

P.S. Another point, trying to talk symantics with someone thats ready to fight is not a good tac. Miss steps by the White house and media will only make this worse. I would sujest a very serious attitude and an air of respect.

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nikobesti 5 years ago

Patrick, I'm glad folks are conceding that this is about both parties and their respective leaders. That's a consistent argument. However, as you said, I sure don't see many folks from the other side of the political fence at these rallies. I'm not aware of any Democrats supporting or attending these rallies. I think that's because some of the forces high up organizing the tea parties are traditional Republican big shots. FreedomWorks is a right-wing think tank that lead the tea party charge. FreedomWorks is bankrolled by right wing billionaires, corporate interests, and Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, who helped facilitate the largest budget deficit under any president in history. Plus, this was pushed by every pundit on Fox News. That's a combination very hard for Dems to swallow as a non-partisan activity.

I disagree that the Boston Tea Party was not about representation. It was more about representation than taxes. The Tea Act of 1773 actually lowered the price of imported tea. The protesters were concerned that a foreign government was taxing them without representation and saw this as an infringement on colonial rights.

I hear a few people from these rallies say that they don't feel like they're being represented by politicians. Well, I can understand that. I'm of the liberal persuasion and was born and raised in a very conservative state. My US Senators, Representative, as well as my state Representatives did not represent my views. This isn't some gross injustice. It's just how our system was designed to work. It stinks to be in the minority sometimes, but this is not some conspiracy or travesty anything contrary to our constitution.

I'm still interested in what some of you would recommend as far as cutting taxes. Which government programs would go? Apparently you're not in favor of deficit spending, so we would have to cut costs drastically. We already have one the lowest tax rate of any developed nation. How can our government provide basic services by taxing even less?

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DAILYREADER 5 years ago

SURELY NONE OF US LIKE TO PAY A LOT IN TAXES, AND THE TEAPARTIERS HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO PROTEST. I WONDER HOW THEY WOULD REACT TO THE DECREASE IN SERVICES LOWER TAXES WOULD PRODUCE! ALSO, IN VIEWING THE PROTEST AS I WAS PASSING BY I NOTICE SEVERAL YOUNG CHILDREN WAVING SIGNS AND YELLING TO PASSING CARS. I DOUBT IF ANY OF THEM HAD THE SLIGHTEST IDEA WHAT THEY WERE PROTESTING. WHY WEREN'T THEY IN SCHOOL? IF THEY ARE BEING HOME SCHOOLED, IS THIS ANY INDICATION OF WHAT THEY ARE LEARNING FROM PARENTS?

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Patrick Germond 5 years ago

My 14 year old daughter was there. I got her out of school, this was an historic event. Not the election. She understands more then most people out there. Like when you spend all your money, everything crashes. Like all the services the left talks about. KA BOOM. There all gone. The left is setting up the poor for a Darwin choke point, every nation thats tried this, their poor come out the losers. Like Kenya, there no hope, the economy isn't bad there, it's gone altogther.

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Neal Harkner 5 years ago

Our country was founded in part by slave owners, people who used blacks like cattle and treated them even lower than dirt. It's been less than 50 years since blacks were freed from the racial segregation of Jim Crow laws.

I'd venture to say that electing a black president, regardless of his political affiliation, was an historic event.

I think it's great to see folks standing up for themselves because that's what democracy is all about, but my question to you is a simple one. Where was this angst 10 years ago when laissez-faire Republicans like Phil Gramm were busy de-regulating the financial markets? Without the financial collapse there would have been no justification for the bailouts.

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