Tax Day Tea Party – Rocky Mount Virginia

DSC00897I knew I had to find out for myself what these Tax Day Tea Parties were about once I saw MSM pundits and left leaning bloggers making snide comments about them.

The Liberal contingent seems to be sure that some vast conspiracy lies behind these grassroots events. Well there is sure a lot of agreement in these tea parties that the government is on the wrong path, but the spontaneity is unmistakable.

DSC00863 I attended the Rocky Mount, Virginia, Tax Day Tea Party this noon and came away with a feeling that other people acting independently have reached conclusions that agree with my own observations.

The crowd of more than 150 people (identified by headcount in photos) filled the area in front of the Franklin County Courthouse and were cheerfully determined to make their concerns known. They brought their dogs and their kids and everyone seemed to be having a good time exercising their right to assemble.

DSC00900 Perhaps that is what the MSM fears most. If ordinary people can see through the spin that old media is performing, there will be a vanishing audience for their opinions disguised as news.

DSC00911 I was inspired by the people who attended this tea party. They were friendly and they had come from all over to show that traditional values still exist in this part of Virginia. Most of the attitudes and signs I saw expressed conservative points of view and a feeling that both political parties are on the wrong track.

DSC00922 The tea party was  against big government but was not significantly oriented for or against any political party. There was one Goode supporter in the crowd and there were a few anti-Obama signs, but the message on most of the signs indicated that government is becoming Socialistic and spending is way out of control.

DSC00912 A major point of agreement was that government is taking over responsibilities that belong to the states, is interfering with businesses at all levels and is failing in its biggest responsibility of keeping the country safe.

DSC00875 The pace of the event never flagged. There were several speakers who spoke briefly and to the point and the keynote speaker was Delegate Charles D. Poindexter, of the 9th district, who spoke for only a few minutes but the issues he covered resonated strongly with those attending.

Here are a few points that got extremely strong positive responses from the crowd:

  • There is too much government
  • Spending is out of control
  • Every generation should pay its own  debt
  • The government is wasting the labor of the people under the pretense of taking care of them
  • "Investment" is a new term for government spending to hide what they are doing
  • This administration said "no" to drilling. We say drill, baby. drill.
  • "Progressive" means an ex-liberal, perhaps a socialist
  • The administration is undermining the constitution
  • Defense is the number one job of the Federal Government,
  • but this administration is going to gut our military

Here are some of the signs that people carried:
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0 Responses to Tax Day Tea Party – Rocky Mount Virginia

  1. Marietta Walters says:

    Mr. St.Lawrence,


    THANK YOU for your fair and balanced reporting on the Rocky Mount TEA Party! Your pictures were great! And your article captured the spirit and essence of the rally! I got fired up again just reading it!

  2. dave says:

    we are tired of big goverment trying to spend america out of debt, controlling the private sector with an iron fist. wake up america sociallism is knocking at the door threatning the very beliefs and ideals our great founding fathers established in the constitution. the bill of rights is under attack by the liberal agenda. lets preserve this great nation that so many have fought and died for.signed: one patriot among many

  3. GBGames says:

    I’m still waiting for the protesters to stop saying what’s wrong and start saying what they would want to see. Do they want to stop the bailouts? Cut funding for entitlements? Do they want to cut taxes even more than they have been?

    Protests that are successful at changing minds and policies usually have an agenda. These tea bag protests, which I have a hard time seeing as completely spontaneous when it has been fueled and encouraged by MSM pundits often in the last few months, don’t seem to have one other than to make sure everyone knows that the protesters are upset about the current administration. Tell everyone what you want! How would all of these protesters prefer Obama try to handle the economic crisis? “Cutting spending” needs a bit more detail as to what exactly would be cut, and we still need to know if these protesters would rather see the banks, automakers, etc, fail or continue to receive bailout money. We know what they’re against, but what are they for?

    Again, where were these protesters under Bush’s out of control spending? Where were the fiscal conservatives when Bush and the Republicans were the ones doing what they complain Obama is doing now?

    When the Boston Tea Party happened, it was because the colonists didn’t want to be taxed without representation. There was a reason there: the colonists wanted a say in how the crown governed them!

    Here, with these protests, it sounds more like people who want to commiserate that their guy lost the election.

    You say that protesters seem to be angry at both parties, but considering how the last 8 years went, I would have a hard time believing that we’d be seeing such “spontaneous” protests if the Republicans were behind the current spending.

    This is not to say that I think that Obama’s administration isn’t without fault. While the Republicans and conservatives refuse to discuss what spending they would like to see actually cut, there hasn’t been much information for how this spending will be paid for.

    I just find it strange that the fiscal conservatives remembered their concerns after a Democratic Congress and President get voted in, but they still make no mention at all of the spending that occurred under Republican rule. In an age where anyone can look up the facts easily, it’s amazing that anyone still tries to ignore the recent past and hopes that no one notices.

  4. Zack says:

    Thanks for all the pictures! It was fun to look through.

    Best sign was “I will pay my taxes when our politicians pay their taxes” (

    I think the charges of astroturfing were not a slur against the protesters (who were all protesting SOMETHING though not the same thing in many cases) But the astro-turfing charge is based on how the initial “flash mobs” were “seeded” to get the ball rolling.

    (borrowed from Wikipedia) “Protests are nationally coordinated by the conservative lobbying groups ‘Americans for Prosperity’ and ‘FreedomWorks’ (run by former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX)). Steven Leser of liberal website OpEdNews reported domain name “” was registered during the 2008 presidential campaign by “a right wing radio talk show host”.

    There was also evidence of PR firms in the glossy posters available in many locations nationwide with prepared slogans. I found hand-made signs much more meaningful and true and often different in intent than the PR signs which I saw locally as well as in your photos.

    The protests and the coverage of them was great. I see this as a very positive sign compared to protests where people were locked in “free speech zones” or that never reached the news despite being quite large over the last several years.

    I like that the media is covering the protests and that most protesters had real signs rather than supplied signs. But I think signs protesting against “increased taxes” and “deficit”, and “cuts in military spending” contradictory. Also as for higher taxes I have seen no sign of tax increases and if my girlfriend and I were unaffected with a 6 figure salaries then most Americans are unaffected by Obama’s “tax-increase” on the wealthy.

    I do understand people nervous at the level of spending in the gov’t. It is too high. Hell I think the administration thinks it is too high. But I also think it may go down as economy recovers. Bernanke spent years studying Japan’s crushing decade long recession and the great depression. It is valid to question whether he is doing the right things but evidence so far seems to suggest that the policies have worked.

    Really I think data will be unclear until time passes and people can study the year to year numbers and figure out if the recession was over-hyped or correctly dealt with. But that will be analysis best performed by economists/academics and not political pundits.

  5. Will says:

    There are several points made at this rally that I could get behind. Spending is out of control and smaller government is needed, but there seems to be more than a little cognitive dissonance here. Those attending seem to want to cut taxes, but also believe that every generation should pay its debts and that military spending should not be cut. I have not heard a good explanation of what the tea bag protesters really hope to accomplish (other than ousting Obama) and the speakers seem to be all over the place.

    Some lines (“drill baby drill”) as well as speeches against abortion (in Roanoke) makes this sound like a GOP rally and not a rally/movement for fiscal conservatives. To get out of the hole we are in taxes will almost certainly have to be raised at some point. Spending (and popular goverment services) will also need to be cut. Unfortunately neither major party is willing to take this on. Look at the record of Bush and Dick “deficits don’t matter” Cheney. Obama has accelerated spending big time, but the GOP is NOT the answer.

  6. Zack,

    You make some excellent points.

    Since we are looking at a “smart mob” phenomenon on a national scale, there has been very little theorizing and only a little planning. It is probably not realistic to expect a coherent sense of mission yet, but the mere existence of these events shows a deep seated need for change on a level that Obama and our elected representatives do not seem to recognize.

    I think you will see a continuing evolution of the messages that come of of these events.

  7. mattbg says:

    From the pictures, the types of people attending seem to be significant. It doesn’t seem to be a bunch of angry middle-class students doing their activist bit before they go on to lucrative careers in finance and management and become a part of the system themselves. That in itself is significant…

    On the other hand, it would be nice to see younger generations take an interest in the debt that they’re being shackled with.

  8. Rick Parrish says:

    You crack me up sometimes David. I believe you would benefit by at least trying to develop a more objective point of view. It’s well known that a great deal of (well funded) organizing work went into these rallies. The so-called “grass roots” are almost always organized at some level (look at the success of President Obama’s campaign in organizing support). The main difference is where the funding comes from. As any professional investigator will tell you, “Follow the money!”

    Also, having once been a political party devotee (no longer) it’s obvious to me that you’ve never been to a rally or convention and had a party volunteer thrust a “hand lettered” sign into your hands or had a camera operator move the entire crowd to one area to fill his viewfinder, have you? It’s all part of their game.

    Finally a couple of asides: David, I believe you have a right to your opinion and I don’t choose my friends based on their political views. Some of the personal attacks directed at you by a handful of people are totally uncalled for and represent the same kind of mob mentality that is behind the vicious (if sometimes thinly veiled) racism and hatred seen at the tea parties. Also to Zack: It looks like your writing is maturing nicely and you’re beginning to think for yourself and examine BOTH sides of an issue with a critical mind. Good for you!

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