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Countdown to Tax Day Tea Party: The view from Asheville, NC

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By mmguestblogger  •  April 12, 2009 06:01 AM

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of guest-blogger posts from tax revolt/Tea Party activists across the country. Erika Franzi is a homemaker, mother of 4, and business owner in Asheville, NC. The Asheville Tea Party blog is here. Franzi blogs at Jane Q. Republican.)

Six weeks ago, I sat in my living room, checking the status of my Facebook invitation to area patriots to attend the February 27th Tea Party Stimulus Protest. In two days of timidly gauging interest and finally issuing an invitation, I had found a grand total of 80 people to invite to the “Tea Party.” Eight had confirmed their intent to be there. The day of the event was rainy and cold but, hot cocoa and fliers in hand, I headed to the protest location to await the diehards. Before the day was over, 40 people had registered their attendance and The Asheville Tea Party was up and running.

In the intervening 6 weeks, the momentum has built and our focus has become clearer and more defined. Our first Tea Party was a “Stimulus Protest.” The Tax Day Tea Party is a protest of wasteful government spending, confiscatory taxation, the selling of our posterity into the bondage of debt, the devaluation of our currency, and bailouts of private enterprise. The refinement in our message has brought us clarity on the issue of non-partisanship as well. The abuses to which we stand in opposition are abuses which have been perpetrated by elected officials from both sides of the aisle. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can claim to be champions of our cause. These are not partisan issues; they are Constitutional issues and all citizens, Democrat or Republican, should be concerned with them.

The media would like nothing more than to portray our movement as a partisan effort to attack the Democrats and Obama. It would please them greatly to find our Tea Parties populated by partisan Republicans and professional Republican speakers. In this vein, we have turned down multiple offers from area politicians, political figures, and partisan groups to participate in and speak at the Asheville Tax Day Tea Party. Our Tea Party will instead be carried out by the citizen patriots who attend it, a cross section of folks that defy the media’s preconceived notion of who we are.

So who are we really? Well, I can tell you who I am. I am a Republican. Yep, you got me. Not all of us are, but I happen to be one. If you think you know me now, you might be surprised. I lean strongly Libertarian. I read Ayn Rand, but I read Michael Pollan too. I am nearly as concerned about sustainable food supplies as I am about our economy. My husband and I have four kids who we are raising in the Christian faith. They also attend a liberal secular school with kids from all kinds of family settings so they’ll know how to be compassionate and how to live in this world. I grind my own wheat to make bread for my family, I shop at the local tailgate market, and I used cloth diapers on three of my four kids. I’m not sure what Tea Party detractors imagine when they conjure up an image of a Tea Party protester, but I’m betting I am not it. I doubt any of us are.

“Why now?” some may ask. “Where were you 8 years ago?” I have heard. To those questions and others, I offer this. Perhaps no legislation has ever been more aptly named than the “stimulus.” It remains to be seen if it will have a stimulating effect on our economy, but it has already had a stimulating effect on the consciousness of our nation. The commitment of our Federal Government to spend $1 Trillion in taxpayer’s money on projects and programs that are beyond our control pushed us to action. I am the first to admit that we were asleep at our post over the last 2 decades while the Federal Government was growing with increasing speed. We are awake now and we can thank President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid for providing the $1 trillion alarm.

In any case, we don’t have the luxury of looking back and mourning the day that we should have acted. We have to begin today because tomorrow is the day my children ask, “How did you let this happen?”

The turnout at the Asheville Tax Day Tea Party looks like it might be slightly larger than the February 27th protest. Three hundred and twenty confirmed so far…

Will you be there?


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