“We voted them into office, and we can vote them out again.”
That’s the message Bob Schultz, one of the speakers at Ashtabula County’s TEA Party, sent to elected officials from the steps of Ashtabula County’s old courthouse Wednesday afternoon, where a crowd estimated at 200 to 350 gathered to protest everything from gun control and abortion to the nation’s $11-trillion debt.
“Beginning today, we are serving our leaders notice that we are mad as hell, we’re watching them and if they fail to listen to us, we will hold them accountable at the ballot box,” Schultz told the crowd.
The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party was one of at 2,049 planned for the United States, according to the Web site, www.teapartyday.com. The American Family Association sponsored the events, which found favor with followers of conservative broadcast commentator Glenn Beck and the 9-12 Project, as well as others.
“Once you pull back the curtain, you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons and that their voices are weak. The truth is, they don’t us surround us at all, we surround them,” said April Sabo of the 9-12 Project.
“Today really could be the start of the second American Revolution,” said Schultz.
The party was non-partisan, but Democrats were clearly in the cross hairs of protesters whose signs dropped everything from Ashtabula County’s lodge debt to a dismal future at the party’s feet. Republicans were likewise under fire.
“The biggest problem with the Republicans is they are letting it happen and doing nothing about it,” said James Von Tesmar of Ashtabula, who warned that Barrack Obama is taking the United States down the road to “fascism.”
“Remember, we are capitalists, money runs our country and the world. This government has already taken over a large portion of our banking, automobile, insurance. They already run our passenger rail system. The newspapers, TV stations, magazines are singing the praises of Obama,” said Von Tesmar as the crowd booed the name “Obama.”
The local rally was put together by Al and Tammy Roesch of Kingsville and Melanie Busch of Ashtabula. The organizers were upbeat about the response to the event, especially given the cold temperatures and rain.
“I thought things went really well, especially considering the rain,” said Busch, who estimated the crowd at 300.
The Roesch family continued their support for the effort by attending the Cleveland TEA Party immediately after the one in Jefferson. Tammy Roesch estimated the Jefferson crowd at 350 or larger.
They were united by one big issue that weighs on every American’s mind: April 15: taxes.
“I don’t like the way my money is being spent,” said Adriane Marrison in explaining why she, her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren endured the rain to be a part of the event.
Bernadette Wheeler of Willoughby protested from her wheelchair.
“I came to say the government is spending far too much of our money and I’m getting tired of it,” she said.
Ron Craddock of Ashtabula held a sign that said, “Impeach them all and let God sort them out.” He said he voted against every incumbent in the last election, but is still unhappy with the direction both the country and country have taken. “Right now, I’m just disgusted with the whole lot of them,” he said.
Schultz, who served as mayor of Rock Creek, said lower taxes and lower spending, not government bailouts, would revive the economy. He spent a portion of his time promoting the fair tax concept (fairtax.org).
While the focus was primarily on national issues, the speakers and crowd also had the county’s budget crisis on their minds. Jason Keeler, an Iraq War veteran, said commissioners ought to abolish the Convention Facilities Authority (CFA), and direct the bed tax toward reducing the lodge debt rather than funding the CFA Schultz encouraged the crowd to send the message “leave the sheriff’s department alone,” referring to appropriation cuts commissioners made Tuesday.
Speakers, organizers and participants said they want to continue the momentum created by the TEA Party events, all the way to the next election.
“We need to tell our representatives that ‘We’re the ones you represent, not the special-interest groups or lobbyists that are padding their wallets.’ Listen up Ashtabula County, listen up Columbus, Ohio, listen up Washington D.C. If you don’t listen to us, some of you are going to find yourselves unemployed,” Schultz said.
TEA Party sends message to politicians
“We voted them into office, and we can vote them out again.”
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