“Action is the soul of revolution.” The declaration rang out as new protesters approached the Upper Senatorial Park for the D.C. Independence Day tea party. This sentiment echoed throughout the crowd as various attendees sported t-shirts and signs to incite action in congress and the presidency and to protest from the cap-and-trade tax to nationalized health care.
One particular camo-clad and Bible-brandishing participant, who wanted to be referred to as simply Mark, willingly discussed with anybody who would listen about “what’s happening to this land. Times are changing and not necessarily for the better.” Mark’s reason for protesting, he said, in part was his sacred mission from God. Mark was just one example of the vocal protesters in the crowd composed of moms and dads with children in tow, groups of friends, patriotic veterans, and college-age students.
Tea party organizer, Patrick Beck of march4liberty.org, wanted to bring people together in support of “Constitutional government and fiscal responsibility, pure and simple.” Beck explained further, “The ignoring of these two basic principles has caused the disintegration of our nation at the federal, state, county, local and even personal level.”
The group of protesters “is not a top-down, centrally controlled, organization but a bottom-up groundswell of engaged citizens dedicated to finding candidates who will uphold the Constitution and be proper stewards of our tax dollars,” Beck emphasized. Protests like these encourage people to support candidates that uphold these values and to hold current-officeholders accountable for their actions.
Protesters sported t-shirts ranging from, “Jefferson is my homeboy” to “Big brother is watching you” and “Party like it’s 1773”. Creative signs littered the crowded lawn. “Hope and Chains” sign played on the famous (or infamous) Obama catchphrase, with the Obama logo illustrated in chains. Another, protesting pork-barrel spending, took the shape of a pig diving head first into a barrel.
Protester Michele Johnson from the Philadelphia area traveled to the Capitol’s tea party because “instead of sitting at home and complaining, all of us are acting.” “People are absolutely rallying together to take back our rights and our representative democracy,” Johnson said. “Congress’s actions are the antithesis of the Founding Fathers,” Johnson explained as the reason for her presence.
“I pay taxes. I believe in paying taxes, but I want to be represented fairly in deciding where they go.” Johnson said as she stood with her other female friends, some who were from the area and some who were not, “More people in the crowd are from outside the D.C. area then from inside; I’ve heard people say they were from as far as Texas, Florida, and Illinois.”
One of the main concerns of the protesters, Beck said is that, “We are the first generation of parents to believe that our children will have a lower quality of life than we do and that I cannot allow.” Beck himself is a father of five.
Beck said he hopes Washington’s Fourth of July protest will spread their message and motivate participants “to go back to their respective communities and create those community coalitions, and begin a new era in America where we, the people, are active and engaged in maintaining the type of governance our Founding Fathers intended for us to enjoy.”