Stimulus protest channels the Spirit of 1773, tea party style

Friday, March 13, 2009 | 7:16 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Hundreds of protesters gathered in Flat Branch park Thursday to protest the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the "stimulus bill."  The tea party was inspired by the 1773 Boston Tea Party, an event aimed to protest the idea of taxation without representation.

Several protesters and public figures spoke in the park gazebo, including Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who addressed the protesters via phone, and former state Rep. Ed Robb.

“There need to be tax cuts,” Kinder said. Kinder urged the protesters to participate in the grassroots activities that coincide with the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party occurring in major cities on April 15.

Robb took the stage and shared his expertise and opinion on the $787 billion stimulus package.

“As an economist, the strategy that Obama has chosen hasn’t worked in the past, and it is probably the worst strategy that could've been chosen," he said.

Protesters from 2 to 70 years old joined the festivities. Nearly all brought tea and several made posters. Others sported traditional colonial attire and a few brought pitchforks. No matter what their means of expression, those who gathered wanted to send a message: The stimulus is hindering the nation, and something needs to be done about it.

When Linda Porath, 65, heard of the event she took action. She called newspapers and radio stations to spread the word.

Porath, like many of the protesters, is worried that more power is being taken from the people.

“We're losing more rights everyday,” she said

Porath was impressed by the turnout and passion shown by fellow protesters.

Eric Pope, 12, and his father, Tony Pope, 30, participated in the event.

“They’re spending too much money,” Eric said. His father made a poster that said, “Stop the bailouts/stimulus; Fire Washington.”

After leaving work early for the protest, Van Wills, 37, said, “It’s a good thing that I came out here, cause I can’t do anything else to voice my opinion."

Many protesters chose to express themselves with posters.

Gary Russel, 56, made a sign that read: “War on Success Conscientious Objector.” Russell has T-Shirts with the slogans in production.

“I decided that yelling at the TV doesn’t help, I wanted to do something about it,” Russell said.

Clint Matthews, 26, came out because he is worried. He says spending is what got us in economic trouble.

“You can't solve the problem by doing the same thing that started it,” he said.

The protest concluded when Tom Bradley, morning host on KSSZ/93.9, put a few bags of tea in the Flat Branch Creek.

"We're just going to put a little bit of tea in the creek," he said as the protesters cheered.

KSSZ plans to send the tea to state and national officials.

“It was better than I expected,” radio personality Gary Nolan said. "A highlight was looking out and seeing the community come together and the passion of the protesters."


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Kevin Gamble March 14, 2009 | 3:20 p.m.

Excessive government spending, erosion of our rights, misguided economic policies...with all due respect to these people's present concerns, where have they been for the last eight years? Do they really believe that all of these problems they're upset about just started in the last couple months?

I like to believe that this kind of event isn't just partisan--that it hasn't just been waiting for Obama to be in office--but there's really no excuse not to have been this upset sooner. Or did a Republican President, majority in Congress, Governor, and majority in our state House & Senate make it more awkward for them to hold to their ideals and challenge those in power? Does having more Democrats in power now make it okay to protest?

Though it's more fun to play angry colonialists, the truth is that these people *do* have representation--so it's pretty obvious where their energy should be directed.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 14, 2009 | 3:55 p.m.

Kevin, not everyone who is opposed to the stimulus plan are Republicans. Disaffected independents, Libertarians, and other third-party candidates have been speaking against Bush's fiscal policies pretty much since he got into office. Don't forget that your Democratic leaders were in charge the last two years when a budget was passed by Congress.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble March 14, 2009 | 10:25 p.m.

I agree with you, John, though I didn't make that claim and I'm not a Democrat. I know that many of those at the rally were Republican, and any public resistance among Republicans to Republican-dominated government has been in short supply, or mostly absent, replaced by attacks on anyone who'd question those in power. I'd like to think that the economic situation will be a wake-up call to those who've been enabling those closest to the debacle, but it will take a lot more than this staged event to convince me.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 16, 2009 | 4:42 a.m.

>>> Even with the comments on here all I read are individuals complaining with no solutions to the overall problem. <<<

I have noticed that with almost every post that is made on this site and other local sites too.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 16, 2009 | 9:31 a.m.

Does that include your posts as well, Chuck, or are you the only smart person posting here?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 16, 2009 | 11:33 a.m.

John Schultz Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Boone County.

You should really look in the mirror some time before you post.

Your entire party has yet to come up with any reasonable ideas that this nation really likes and puts themselves behind 100%.

If you stop being so exclusive and more inclusive maybe citizens might actually take your party seriously.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 16, 2009 | 12:22 p.m.

Chuck, self-professed hater of Libertarians, it's pretty darn clear you don't have a clue about the party.

Let's see:

1. Lower government spending and reduced deficits for our future generations to bear.
2. Reduced taxes tied with the first item.
3. US should not have gone into Iraq and needs to hand over the country back to the Iraqis as soon as possible.
4. USA PATRIOT Act, REAL ID, and NAIS are bad legislation.
5. Bush (and Obama) should not use signing statements.
6. Bush (and Obama, especially with the new copyright treaty) should not claim state secrets except when absolutely necessary.
7. The so-called stimulus bill is a pork-laden monstrosity.

Tell me which of those ideas at least a sizable portion of the population does not agree with? You should do a little more research on the party than a disgruntled post office employee's blog before you speak about the party. The Libertarian Party is not about inclusiveness or exclusiveness, it is about holding true to our principles.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr March 16, 2009 | 12:52 p.m.

>>> it is about holding true to our principles. <<<

There is your main fault right there in that one phrase that reaks of exclusiveness.

No wonder your party is only the third rate party it is and always will be.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 16, 2009 | 1:06 p.m.

Chuck, you have absolutely no clue about what I said or what that statement means. It does not "reak (sic) of exclusiveness", it means that Libertarians choose not to make their decisions based on how the political winds are blowing. For example, if Republicans in Washington were truly fiscal conservatives, the Bush budget-busting years would never have happened.

If you want to argue with me about what my political party does or does not believe and do, please get educated on it first:

(Report Comment)

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