By Samantha Swindler / Staff/Wire Report
Protesters braved a cold and windy Tax Day outside the Laurel County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon during one of hundreds of “tea parties” across the country.
“Thank you for coming,” said Debbie Harvell as she opened the event. “We know it’s cold today — but we’re all hot, let’s put it that way.”
Organizers said more than 100 people participated in the tea party in London to protest excessive government spending and federal bailouts.
“I’m tired of the government throwing money away like a drunken sailor... not to take that on sailors, being a sailor myself,” said James Jordan of London. “We’ve got to stop. I can’t spend money I don’t have. I can’t borrow money and spend and spend and spend. It just won’t work. It will not work and we’ve got to take our country back.”
Holding a sign that read, “We are the new Sons of Liberty,” organizer Cindi Johnson claimed that two of her ancestors had participated in the original Boston Tea Party of 1773.
That event, in which colonists, dressed as Native Americans, threw tea into Boston Harbor to protest unfair tax policies without representation in Parliament, was a milestone on the road to the American Revolution.
“The Sons of Liberty are what they called themselves,” Johnson said. “They weren’t Democrats and Republicans back then, they were Americans — or not even Americans back then — they just wanted liberty, they wanted their freedom, that’s what this country was all about ... we have to stand up and let our voices be heard from London, Kentucky all the way to Washington D.C.”
Tens of thousands of people participated in tea parties across the country on Wednesday — timed to coincide with the national deadline to file income taxes. The events were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, who is now a lobbyist.
Organizers said the movement developed organically through online social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and through exposure on Fox News.
While FreedomWorks insisted the rallies were nonpartisan, they have been seized on by many prominent Republicans who view them as a promising way for the party to reclaim its momentum.
“All you have to be is a mildly awake Republican candidate for office to get in front of that parade,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
But locally, nearly every speaker at London’s event pushed the tea party as a nonpartisan protest.
Ronnie Gregory, one of the organizers of London’s event, said the issue was not “Republican or Democrat — we know that both parties have been out of control in spending in the last few years.”
“We want to be here today to show that we are Americans first, and that we’re not going to leave a huge debt to our children and our grandchildren,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing, if this keeps going, the spending the way it is, our children and our grandchildren will not be able to pay us out of it.”
London organizers encouraged attendees to mail emptied tea bags to the White House as a form of protest — the bags must be emptied of tea because the office will not accept food items, they said.
Other speakers included Colonel Steve Robinson and Peggy Eubanks of Corbin, who recited Lloyd Marcus’s “American Tea Party Song.”
“Mr. President, your stimulus is sure to bust; it’s just a socialistic scheme; the only thing it will do; is kill the American Dream,” Eubanks recited.
Assistant Laurel County Attorney Jodi Albright also spoke of the original Boston Tea Party.
“They thought that taxation without representation was bad. Well, I think over taxation, even with representation, is bad and that’s what were here for today,” he said. “...We’re mortgaging our grandchildren’s future. We’ve spent a trillion dollars in 40 days... It was called a bailout or a stimulus. I’m not sure who we’re bailing out and I’m not sure how this is going to stimulate the economy, but I do know one thing — as individuals, we cannot live above our means and not except disaster. So I don’t know what the government thinks collectively, how they plan on living above their means and not have disaster in the future.”
There were several small counter-protests across the country, including one that drew about a dozen people at Fountain Square in Cincinnati. A counter-protester held a sign that read, “Where were you when Bush was spending billions a month ‘liberating’ Iraq?” The anti-tax demonstration there, meanwhile, drew about 4,000 people.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Tea parties across the nation protest government spending
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