Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - August 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Local Houston County residents visit Washington for Tea Party
Houston County Courier - August 2009
By Virginia Lewis
East Texas Tea Party members joined the march amassed at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday Sept. 12.
The activists came from Crockett, Lindale, Tyler, Jefferson, Palestine, and surrounding areas.
A total of 55 people from the Pineywoods chartered a bus to join other Tea Party members throughout the U.S.
Virginia and Billy Joe Lewis represented the Houston County Tea Party.
The attendees from the area were quite meek and were unsure of exactly what to expect, this being the first time in their lives to protest.
When they stepped off the bus there was an enormous crowd, so compact one could hardly move.
Then they were greeted by a sea of protestors chanting “Can You Hear Me Now.”
Many of their fears evaporated and they joined in the chant with their voices ringing through the air without the slightest hint of embarrassment, rancor or incivility.
“Waving the Texas flag the excitement continued as the group waved placards propelled by their belief that runaway spending of the government needed to be challenged, the voice of the people should be heard and the safety of our country must be protected,” said an attendee
The parade route was not supposed to start until 11:30 a.m. but the plaza was so full by 10 a.m. the police had to close Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Many of us believe this was the day the silent majority in our nation stepped up and could be referred to in the future as the day that changed America,” said Mrs. Lewis.
The majority of the placards reflected the concern over massive spending, TARP, the stimulus, Health care reform, cap and trade and the social change.
The focus of much of the anger was directed at the overhaul of the U.S. health system, along with growing resentment over negative remarks made by political leaders at town hall meetings calling them “an angry mob, racist, Astroturf, and un-American.”
“Other new gripes reflected the opposition to the number of czars Obama appointed. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia speaking at the rally picked up on the theme,” Mrs. Lewis said
“It’s people, not czars, that run the country. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana too reminded the audience that nowhere in our Constitution can you find the word czar.
Addressing the crowd he said, “after years of fighting runaway government on the hill, you people look like the cavalry to me.”
He said I believe we are on the verge of a great American awakening.
The massive outpouring of distrust of government was evident at the rally and the organizers who took to the stage repeated over and over the purpose was to show Washington and the media that “We the people” have a voice that should be heard.
Many felt the politicians and president were bankrupting the country, not protecting the nation’s security, apologizing to terrorists, and eroding the values and principles the Christian nation was founded upon.
“The echo was clear – you can hear us now or you will hear us in 2010-2012,” Mrs. Lewis said.
Andrew Moylan, of the National Taxpayers Union, received a roar of approval after he told protestors, “Hell hath no fury like a taxpayer ignored.”
Signs reading “Go Green, Recycle Congress, and I am not your ATM,” “Don’t share my wealth – share my work ethic” reflected the taxpayers’ outrage over borrowing, spending and bailouts saying enough is enough.
Organizers said they had built on momentum from the April “tea party” demonstrations held nationwide and would continue to step up and speak up as long as the deficit spending was out of control and placing our country at risk.
The police told the group members the crowd was estimated at 1.5 million and based on the high density, massive and intensive crowd they were very pleased that there was not even one arrest.
They were quoted saying “The volume exceeded their expectations but it was an orderly, respectful, march and actually they left no trash behind at all.”
The East Texas group started the march around 8:30 a.m. and stayed until the end around 4 p.m.
A highlight at the end of the rally was an invitation by Congressman Louie Gohmert of Tyler to tour the capitol.
He spent three hours sharing the history of the nation, escorting the group into the Hall of Congress, House and the Senate Chambers and responding to questions the group members asked.