Fresno "Tea Party" Attracts Thousands

April 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Organizers of the Fresno "Tea Party" claim 7,500 people showed up to protest against government spending.Most of those who gathered in the parking lot of the Save Mart Center, on the Fresno State University campus, said they were simply fed up with government.

Bernard Medina of Fresno was among those holding signs protesting higher taxes. "We don't wish to be taxed to death and and we love our liberties." He said.

The sentiment among the crowd that current levels of government spending will lead to government growth and a bigger government agencies will pose a threat to freedom. Brian Blanchard of Coarsegold wanted to warn everyone that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA is just waiting to take control. "And they have Gestapo like powers. They can take your house, they can take your car, they can your money they can take your dog." He said.

Organizers of "Tea Parties" across the country are urging Americans to rise up, just as the early colonists did in the Boston Tea Party, to protest government taxes. Fresno Tea Party Speaker David Spaitz issued a fiery call to action.

"Because taxation without representation is tyranny. Any tyranny has always been an enemy of freedom and liberty. "That's why you're here today. Evil is aggressive, tyranny is aggressive and you've got to fight it, we can no longer be silent about it."

Unlike the colonists the people do have a vote, but Political Science Professor Richard Unruh of Fresno Pacific University believes that because Republicans, and the conservative movement suffered a major setback in the last election many conservatives now feel they don't have a voice. "They feel frustrated that they and their representatives have not been able to influence public policy at the national or the state level." Unruh said.

Republican Congressman George Radanovich attended the Tea Party and said he was encouraged by the size of the crowd.

"Republicans may have lost, but you never stop fighting. And I think everyone wants this president to succeed, with the right policies."

But to Obama supporter Michael Esswein was clear many in this crowd do not like the President or his policies.

"It is more of an anti Obama than an anti tax or anti government rally."

Protestors, like Fernando Marin of Fresno say they came out because they are afraid of higher taxes.

"They're taking over 40 per cent of my wages, hard to support my family pay my mortgage."

Critics of the Tea Party point out that the Obama administration has not raised taxes, despite the massive bailouts to the banking and auto industries. However, state taxes, under Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have already gone up.

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