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Waving American flags and signs proclaiming “Cut Taxes, Not Deals”, nearly 100 gathered at the Grant County Courthouse on April 15 to voice their displeasure with increased taxes and unlimited government spending.
The local Tax Day Tea Party, named after the historical Boston Tea Party, was one of hundreds of rallies held across the state and country.
“I don’t want to be a political activist, but if enough of us stand up we’re going to get Washington’s attention,” said Dry Ridge resident John Souder, organizer of the event. “Those folks have a real bad habit of wanting to get re-elected.”
“They alone have the power,” he said. “We hired them. We gave it to them. We all make mistakes. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people. You and I, the voters and taxpayers of this country.”
Souder, who was pleased with the turnout, got the “party” started after 3-year-old Shelby Marksbury said the Pledge of Allegiance.
With attendees waving signs with messages that included “America Unite”, “Revolt Against Socialism” and “Stop Spending Our Grandchildren’s $,” he spoke about the debt the country is piling up.
“We’re spending trillions of dollars of borrowed money that will leave a debt to our grandchildren and probably even our great-grandchildren,” Souder said. “Meanwhile the government consistently gives to special interest groups billions of earmarked dollars.”
Some attendees wore patriotic hats with tea bags attached.
While it was not the Boston Harbor, Grant County resident Bill Page symbolically poured out a cup of McDonald’s iced tea in protest of future taxation he said is sure to happen.
“When we get taxes we lose freedom,” he said. “When we get excessive taxes we lose more freedom and that is what is happening. Don’t let anyone tell you that we’re not going to get taxed and get taxed heavily. You can’t pay off debt with more debt and expect to get out of debt.”
Page urged the crowd to vote any politician out of office who signed on to the president’s recent economic stimulus bill.
“We need statesmen who care about this country and who love this country,” he said. “There are veterans who have died so we may stay free. We are getting shackled right now.”
Keeping with the theme of ousting politicians, Brent Spears told attendees to contact elected officials to voice their displeasure.
He reminded protesters that the Grant County News publishes the names and contact information for local politicians in the paper.
“It’s not government over the people,” Spears said. “It’s supposed to be government of the people. E-mail them and tell them want you want. If they don’t do it, say that we’ll vote you out. Majority rules in this country.”
A petition that will be sent to Washington D.C. was available for attendees to sign.
Bro. Gary Swick, senior minister at Williamstown Christian Church, said if there ever was a time when America needed prayer, it is now.
“Right now, we’re living in a country, folks, that is stumbling badly,” he said. “Without God’s assistance, we will not get this nation back on track.”
One speaker, Bill Workman of Grant County, spoke in opposition to the majority of the crowd.
He shared his views about why taxes are important.
Without taxes, there would be no schools, parks and roads, Workman said.
“We have the best government in the world,” he said. “It may not be perfect. It’s not perfect, but we have that government and it protects us from other countries that don’t want us to live the way we to live. That’s because we pay taxes. Our taxes may be too high, but there not as high as other countries in the world.”