Angry conservatives flooded the Minnesota State Capitol Thursday, Tax Day, to protest the current state of government spending, national health care and the American political system at large.
More than 500 flag-waving, self-described “Tea Party Patriots” attended the event, which hosted numerous speakers and a roaring crowd. The mixture of people and speakers present were striking, but the principles of freedom and liberty, support for the Constitution and a healthy dose of anger were shared by all.
“People have been asleep, they’ve taken a higher and higher increase in taxes all along because it didn’t hurt them,” said Colin Wilkinson, a St. Paul resident who was wearing a traditional colonial outfit and beating a snare drum. “But now it is hurting, we’re now to the point where people can’t survive and thrive the way they should,”
Wilkinson said he was impressed by the rally’s turnout, a far cry from the 50 people attending protests when he began about 20 years ago.
A host of right-wing radio hosts and local grassroots organizers spoke at the event.
Leon Moe, state chapter coordinator of the Minnesota Tenth Amendment Center , called for the election of a new breed of politician, one true to the Constitution.
“We need to get the cesspools at the state level cleaned out and that should begin to drain the cesspools in Washington, the ‘District of Criminals,’ ” he said.
Adding to the diversity of viewpoints represented at the event, Donnie Allen, Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Business News Network , stressed the importance of inclusiveness and of attracting minority voters. He also criticized the mainstream media’s portrayal of the Tea Party movement as a whole.
Matching his angst were numerous signs held by attendees.
“The evil Republican Machine is trying to hijack our tea party,” one sign read. “Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Obama, Pelosi, Reed,” said another.
Joe Palawa, who attended last year’s event, agreed with the message.
"We are a free country,” he said. “Everybody achieves based on their abilities and hard work and determination, and I just hate to see all the hard work … I do go to support people that just don’t do anything.”