History echoed through the streets of downtown Lynchburg Wednesday evening as nearly 2,000 people gathered to participate in the local chapter of the national Tax Day Tea Party.
In a manner similar to colonial Americans who resisted heavy taxing from the king of England with the Boston Tea
Party, U.S. citizens gathered across the nation on April 15 to express their concern about tax spending.
The local event was engineered by third-year Liberty law students Brendan McIntyre and Raymond Coble.
“As active and concerned citizens, continuing to watch our elected officials grow government, restrict freedoms,
increase taxes and attempt to spend their way out of a recession was not an option for either of us,” McIntyre said in a letter to the editor of the News and Advance.
Preparations began nearly six weeks prior to the event, according to McIntyre and Coble. The event was advertised on
Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Craigslist and radio.
The gathering was held at the base of 9th Street behind the Depot Grill and Amazement Square. People came bearing
signs, T-shirts and posters of protest. Activities began at 6 p.m. with musical entertainment by Rick Rizzi from the band
Low Flying Angel, and continued with speeches given by local businessmen and elected officials, including Congressman Bob Goodlatte, former Congressman Virgil Goode, state Senator Steve Newman, city councilmen Scott Garret and Jeff Helgeson and radio personality George Caylor from “On the Right Side.”
A team of people clad in powdered wigs and colonial dress dumped a small amount of tea into the James River at the end of the event.
It was important to have local business owners voice their opinion, because “they’re the people who are affected,” McIntyre said.
The Tea Party was a non-partisan event.
“It wasn’t Republican or Democrat; it was a rally of average Americans who see the direction the nation’s going,” Coble said.
Many Liberty students attended the event to voice their support.
“I expected the people in attendance to be Republicans, but there were a few people however that appeared not to be, as well as a guy walking around with an Obama 08 shirt on,” senior Amanda Haller said. “This was surprising to me, but kind of encouraging at the same time because it shows that some people are willing to ignore party lines and
voice reasonable and rational opinions.”
“I was impressed by the amount of older people. I thought that it would be a bunch of college kids because to me it was kind of a Facebook movement,” senior Jared Peterson said.
Liberty students are given a unique opportunity to be involved in the election of responsible government officials, as college students are able to register to vote in the state that houses the institution they attend. Both Coble and McIntyre approve of Liberty’s encouragement to students to take action.
“I feel the people of America are now finally deciding to come together to voice their opinions, instead of letting the media decide what their opinion should be, as we have let them do for several years now,” Haller said.
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