Jill Price and Allison Quaintance organized the Brentwood Tea Party, part of a national movement to regain control of a government that “has gone out of control like a dog off its leash at a birthday party,” according to the group’s Web site. The overall message: From collecting too much tax to ignoring the will of the people, the particulars that put America in its current condition can’t be allowed to continue.
Speaker Steve Cichosz urged the crowd to stop being “consumers” and start thinking of themselves as “contributors.” It’s a minor semantic change, he said, that makes a big difference in attitude.
“I don’t need to pay higher taxes as a good American to benefit my country,” he said to shouts of approval from the audience. “I need only turn my attention toward what I give to my society and the contributions of those around me to regain the camaraderie that was once ours as a nation working together in appreciation of one another’s qualities rather than their misgivings.
“In being a contributor, I am a part of something larger and providing value rather than being a consumer and outside of that something feeding from it like a young swine on its mother’s teat.”
Sean Ackley said the actions of the federal government under Barack Obama were not only bad for the country; they were illegal.
“The federal government was created by the states to form a republic, not a democracy. A democracy is mob rule and is not mentioned in the constitution,” he said. “A democracy is when two wolves and a sheep sit down to decide what’s for dinner. A republic is when that sheep has a gun.”
He compared the recent government bailouts to socialism, saying, “Distributing $12.8 trillion of taxpayer money to corporations and banks is simply called theft.”
Like the Boston Tea Party with which the movement identifies itself, Saturday’s crowd sported numerous Revolutionary War flags bearing the legend “Don’t Tread on Me.” Strident sentiments like “Take the Country Back!” and “We’ve Taken Enough!” were numerous, but the often-boisterous crowd was otherwise peaceful.
One man, who declined to give his name, wished there had been a bit more action. “I already know all the stuff they’re saying,” he said. “I want to raise a ruckus. That’s the only way they (government officials) are ever going to listen.”
An e-mail message from Brentwood’s Michelle McClellan agreed on the need for action. “Most of us know what the problem is and many of us know the history of the problem,” McClellan wrote. “What we don’t know is how to fix it. I wanted a plan. I wanted an organized letter-writing, phone-calling, faxing plan.”
Price said she thought the event “went great for doing something like that for the first time.” Following the speakers, the protesters marched to Brentwood Boulevard, inspiring many to “lay on their horns” during the hour-long demonstration, Price said.
She also acknowledged that “we could add some things” and that the feedback received would be the subject of follow-up meetings in the coming weeks. In the meantime, she added, the group will participate in a protest about the health care situation in Sacramento on July 17, and perhaps weigh in on the candidates running for a seat in Congressional District 10.
“This was Brentwood’s first protest ever, and I’m happy about that,” she said. “We’re going to continue to reach out to the community.”
For information on the July 17 event, call Price at 925-550-2359.