Tax day tea party: Citizens gather to protest stimulus package, bailout plan

By Kevin McLoughlin

Around 300 people gathered at West Side Park in west Champaign to protest the Stimulus Package and Bailout Plan today.

This protest was part of a nationwide “Tax Day Tea Party,” which invoked the Boston Tea Party to express public disagreement with President Obama’s economic policies.

Many participants came dressed in red, white, and blue, carrying signs denouncing what they viewed as “socialist” policies, as well as some that said “Nobama” or proclaimed the carrier a “Right Wing Extremist.” Many also wore t-shirts or carried placards depicting the Gadsden Flag, a rattlesnake coiled over the slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Kevin Waite, Urbana resident and one of the co-organizers of the protest, began the protest by emphasizing that they were not affiliated with any particular party and that the crowd was composed of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

“Our message is to convey that we will not stand still with our hands in our laps as our children’s future is mortgaged,” Waite said.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
Thank you for subscribing!

Waite described Obama’s policies as “pork-ridden.”

Other speakers followed Waite, many sharing personal anecdotes or quotes from American historic leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, all of which emphasized “hard work” and independence from the government.

Randy Stufflebeam, a member of the Constitution Party who plans to run for Illinois governor, was one of the speakers. His speech emphasized restoring the U.S. Constitution by repealing the 16th and 17th amendments, which he said allow the government to tax citizens and instate senators who are disconnected from local politics.

“We’ve got to eliminate the funding that [government officials] have. We’ve got to repeal the 16th amendment to take our country back,” he said, adding that the government should instead be funded by trade and tariffs.

The crowd greeted the speakers with applause, although there were attendees who shouted out rebuttals and engaged in debates with the participants.

Charles Werner, resident of Paxton, Ill., said he travelled half an hour to participate in the protest, and that the crowd contained participants from all over the area, including Tuscola and Danville.

The crowd parted briefly to circuit around the park, before returning to the speakers.