I helped inspire and assisted at a tea party protest against overspending and taxing by the federal government today at the main local postal branch in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The event, under the organizational attachment to FreedomWorks, was hastily organized within the last few days, after I had noted at a local political meeting earlier this month that no one had at that point taken the initiative to organize a local tea party. An attendee of the meeting took the initative and quickly put the event together. Despite the short period of preparation, overcast skies and the fact that another tea party protest was held the same day elsewhere in the same county, the tea party protest drew over 100 people.
The event was orderly, as participants carefully kept to the sidewalks and kept out of the heavy traffic of income tax return filers making their way to the post office to meet today's deadline. Many motorists honked or waived their support, while there were almost none who voiced any opposition. There was no foul language, threats or even any manifestations of anger. Indeed, although the protesters were upset about the runaway federal spending, borrowing and taxing, the mood of the crowd was relatively festive. Many of us protesters were participating in our first public demonstration, but knew how to exercise the right to peaceably assemble in an exemplary fashion.
It is important to note that the protesters were not anti-government, but anti-big government. Indeed, many of them held American flags or wore patriotic attire. The protesters were not anti-tax, but anti-excessive taxation, as there was only one individual who had any materials that indicated opposition to all taxation. Otherwise, there were no expressions of any radical opinions whatsoever. The participants were concerned not only about the financial costs of the massive increase in the size of the federal government, but about the corresponding loss of liberty. Although there were a number of conservative activists present who are also active Republicans, and the lone public officeholder to address the protesters was a Republican, the protest had a non-partisan tone, as even the leader of the event expressed frustration with the excessive federal spending by members of both parties.
A spirit of unity with Americans across the union pervaded the tea party that gave confidence to the participants that they are far from alone. The silent majority is finding its voice.