Our View: The positives of protest
Craig — In an impressive display of citizen involvement, about 221 people gathered Wednesday on the lawn of the Moffat County Courthouse for a Tax Day Tea Party protest, joining hundreds of thousands across the country in a movement to show displeasure with the federal government.
Armed with signs expressing their frustrations, the residents railed against issues including taxes, dishonest politicians, gay marriage, abortion, gun rights, the Barack Obama administration and several others.
However, though the issues were varied and many, the central theme of the peaceful people’s protest was disagreement with the government and, more specifically, its spending practices.
The Editorial Board discussed the protest Monday and again Thursday. Board members came away impressed with the number of people involved, and the passion they displayed in getting their message out.
Wednesday was a social demonstration for people of like-minded views and kindred spirits to convene and vent frustration.
Although it’s doubtful that any governmental change will stem from the Moffat County demonstration – or the thousands of others across the U.S. on Tax Day – the Editorial Board contends change doesn’t necessarily have to be born from the event for it to be considered a success.
Board members are like anyone else. We are all living in an extremely difficult, apprehensive and dangerous time.
The economy is on the rocks.
The middle class, of which America relies upon, is evaporating.
Unemployment is on the rise.
The debt is skyrocketing.
Taxes are high.
And, to some, it seems the only breaks anyone is getting are going to corporate plunderers whose only allegiance, only sense of patriotism, is to themselves and the almighty dollar.
Despite working hard and doing their best – the bedrock upon which this country was founded – more people find themselves having less control of their own lives, afraid for the future and doubtful that they will someday be able to leave behind a better way of life for their children.
These are powerful emotions. These are emotions that need an outlet.
Enter the Tea Party protest.
If nothing else, the demonstration provided good therapy for people to be with others who feel the same sense of frustration they do. And an assembly of passionate Americans voicing their opinions and promoting their ideas in a peaceful and legal manner can never be a bad thing.
Although the Editorial Board doesn’t necessarily agree with each issue protestors argued against, it’s encouraged that we have citizens in our community who exercised their Constitutional right to participate in government and voice their opinions.
The board’s support of the protest isn’t complete, however.
The board questions whether the people protesting Wednesday can take the momentum built by the demonstration and translate it into real government participation.
That is, attending meetings. Voting in each election. Maintaining dialogue with their elected officials.
Most importantly, coming up with solutions.
A day before the protest, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., discussed numerous issues with residents and answered questions during a town hall forum at Craig City Hall.
This was a free, public event, open to anyone.
About 50 people attended, a quarter of those who showed up Wednesday.
Why couldn’t people attend both?
Bennet, by the way, came off Tuesday as a politico who generally wants to help and someone who is a problem solver.
The group Wednesday did a good job of identifying problems, but there was little offered in the way of solutions.
That, perhaps, was their only failing Wednesday.
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