Thursday, April 16, 2009
An orderly yet passionate crowd of several thousand gathered on the south steps of the Minnesota State Capitol yesterday evening for the Saint Paul Tax Day Tea Party to protest high taxes, deficit spending, and excessive government intrusion, especially from the federal government. The bright white capitol rotunda contrasted with the bright blue sky to greet the after-work crowd, many carrying homemade signs and American flags.
Speakers included Barb Davis White, former candidate for Congress; Dave Thompson, former talk radio personality and candidate for chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota; President of the Citizens Council on Health Care Twila Brase; 100.3 KTLK-FM personality Chris Baker; Taxpayers League of Minnesota president Phil Krinkie, and others. The program was emceed by KTLK-FM personality Sue Jeffers. Jeffers ran against Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the 2006 gubernatorial primary election. (That's the irrepressible Jeffers at the end of my video embedded in this article.)
Many in attendance dropped a tea bag into a wooden crate, to be delivered to the Minnesota Legislature as a symbolic statement opposing any new state taxes and spending.
Contrary to orchestrated liberal talking points repeated on the Internet and in the mainstream media, the protesters were obviously not opposed to taxation for legitimate functions of government such as roads, public safety, and veterans affairs. Contrary to liberal ad hominem attacks, the protesters were clearly educated, veterans, families, young and old, men and women, many of whom had never attended a political rally before (including some of the event organizers). Contrary to what the leftmedia and the Department of Homeland Security would have you believe, they were far from extreme in appearance or behavior (very different from your typical Code Pink rally, for example).
And contrary to Internet reports, the Saint Paul Tea Party, and hundreds like it across the country, was staged by volunteers, not by any political party, special interest group, or Fox News(!). Notably, the mention of politicians like U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Pawlenty were greeted with audible ambivalence.
Baker and others urged the crowd to think of the Tea Party as a beginning, not an end in itself. Another speaker encouraged everyone to see the web site After the Tea Party for ideas to continue the movement toward liberty, lower taxes, and limited government. Krinkie reminded the crowd of the May 2 Tax Cut Rally featuring nationally-syndicated talk show host Jason Lewis, beginning at 11:00 am on the Minnesota State Capitol steps. Additional rallies nationwide are also planned for Independence Day on Saturday, July 4.
For coverage of this and all other national Tea Party events, with video and tons of photos, see Pajamas TV and True North (the latter was a local Tax Day Tea Party co-sponsor). I will also post some additional video within a few days.