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Protesters gather in Springfield for 'Tea Party'

Date: 4/21/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- Between 150 and 200 people from throughout the area gathered for a two-hour protest on April 15 as part of a national movement calling attention to tax inequities and deficit spending.

Lined on the sidewalk on lower Liberty Street and around the corner onto Main Street next to the Post Office, the protesters carried signs, American flags and placards with messages ranging from not trusting mainstream media to impeaching President Barrack Obama to calling for tax reform. Many of the passing cars honked their horns in support.

The self-proclaimed "Tea Party" included individuals handing out tea bags. One protester wore tea bags suspended on his baseball cap.

Dan Rose of Pelham was the co-chair of the event and wore a placard around his neck that read "Taxation by Inflation." Rose said that Congress must control spending in order to protect the country from inflation.

"Our Constitution needs to be defended in all its forms and spending needs to cease," Rose said.

The solution government should follow in reaction to the current economic crisis is "to adhere to the Constitution," which he said doesn't allow for a president to confiscate private or corporate property.

He said that both major political parties are equally responsible for the state of the nation and that "anyone who has been in Congress for the last 10 years is culpable." He added the conditions leading to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and the housing crisis originated under President Bill Clinton and continued under President George W. Bush.

He stressed the reasons behind the protest were non-partisan and he hoped the "voices of the citizenry which are abundant here to day be recorded and also be transmitted to the rest of the population. We're not alone individually. Voices need to be heard by those non-representing representatives."

He directly blamed Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy as well as Congressmen Richard Neal and John Olver for taking roles in forming the present economic conditions.

Although Rose was handing out leaflets protesting deficit spending that he asked people to send to Neal, he declined to speculate whether or not the local protest would produce candidates to run against incumbents such as Neal.

"We're organizing our voices," Rose said. "I'm not taking a position on either side, one party or the other."

Rose said that "it's kind of disguised," but the public will pay for the money spent through the stimulus bills through inflation

"Everything you buy in the future is going to cost more and that is a tax you didn't see coming," he said.

Although the protesters seemed united in their concerns over current government spending, there was one person attending the rally with a decidedly different point of view. Mike Caron of South Hadley carried a placard reading, "FOX Not News, Lies and Propaganda." FOX News carried substantial coverage of the protest movement both prior to the event and on April 15.

Caron said he thought many of the people at the protest were "just angry and misdirecting it."

He added that "most [of the people assembled at the post office] are going to get tax breaks" from the recently passed middle class tax reduction legislation.