Taxpayers couldn't wait to protest for April 15 to arrive here in Wilmington, North Carolina. Catching the growing "tax day" revolt, approximately 700 angry citizens rallied at the Federal Building in Wilmington on April 7. Across the nation, almost 2,000 modern "Boston Tea Parties" are now expected on April 15. The intensity and number of events suggests a massive groundswell continuing to build. Leaders are urging Americans to "Party like it's 1776," to take back America.
The favorite chant of the crowd on the steps of Wilmington's Federal building was "Throw the bums out," along with "Who do you work for? WE THE PEOPLE!" The crowd was filled with yellow Colonial flags -- large and small -- proclaiming "Don't Tread on Me" along with many American flags. A gentleman dressed as a Colonial officer of the Revolutionary War waved an enormous Red, White, and Blue flag.
Hundreds of home-made signs attacked out-of-control spending, socialism, taxes, bail-outs and Obama policies. One sign simply said "NYET !" over the hammer-and-sickle sign of the Soviet Union (Russian for "No"). Many signs are becoming standard tea party items, such as one saying "Obama Motors" crossed through and another spelling out "OBAMA" as an acronym for "One Big A** Mistake America." Others decried the burden of debt imposed on children and grandchildren. Another proclaimed "If you like socialism, move to Europe."
However, a major theme of the protest here in Wilmington and nationwide is the arrogance of elected officials who simply don't listen to the voters. More than any particular issue, the crowd was infuriated by the general attitude of Washington and local politicians in seizing people's rights and money without caring what the voters want. This anger is directed at all levels of government: Federal, State, and local.
In Wilmington, the crowd marched from the Federal building to the City Council building, where they accidentally caught the Mayor, Bill Saffo, walking out the front entrance. The surprised Mayor, looking like a deer caught in headlights, was forced to cheerfully acknowledge the angry, yelling voters before racing back inside. Then their chants on the front steps could be clearly heard by the City Council meeting going on inside. The crowd broke out singing "God Bless America," after being informed that the City Council could hear them. Chants of "Throw the bums out" then resumed.
Dozens of organizations are calling for a national day of protest on April 15 -- the deadline for filing Federal tax returns. The protests invoke the memory of the famous tax protest of the Massachussetts Colony against the British as a key moment in American history. In 1773, Colonists fed up with the many taxes imposed by the English King, threw British tea into Boston harbor, rather than pay the tax on the tea. (The protestors disguised their identities by dressing as Indians, but announced that they were in fact Masschusetts Colonialists.)
Today, the massive tea party movement is being "organized" by almost every conservative or libertarian political group imaginable, of every kind. There are so many unrelated organizations involved that essentially no one is actually organizing this movement. The idea materalized after a now-famous, impromptu "rant" by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp-Jw-5Kx8k] on February 19, when he called for a Chicago Tea Party throwing tea into Lake Michigan.
At first, a coalition led by Americans for Tax Reform and the National Taxpayers Union staged tea parties in February. They were tracking plans for 170 more on April 15. Then Don Wildmon's American Family Association upped the ante by promising to organize 1,000 more. Soon afterward, almost every organization that exists jumped on board the movement. Organizations that normally never talk to each other, or don't even know the other exists, were suddenly working together to set up tax-day tea parties. Now, tracking of events suggests the total will approach 2,000 events on April 15.
The Wilmington event was sponsored by half-a-dozen groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Fair Taxation (Fairtax.org). However, local talk show host Curtis Wright turned out many listeners not connected with any organization. Such spontaneous involvement by citizens is often hoped for, but rarely achieved. This time, the movement appears to be a chain reaction exploding nation-wide. Even beyond April 15, tea parties are already being discussed for tea party rallies on July 4 -- Independence Day.