Thursday, April 16, 2009 , Updated 10:56 a.m., April 16, 2009
UPDATED with video: Protesters rally at Denton “tea party” on tax day
Many held signs with messages such as "We can still secede" and "Obama nation is an abomination."
Shouts of "enough is enough" reverberated across the Courthouse-on-the-Square on Wednesday as hundreds of people protested government spending, many holding signs with messages such as "We can still secede" and "Obama nation is an abomination."
Some demonstrators wore tea bags as necklaces or earrings, reflecting a national conservative movement to call for a modern revolt with a symbol of The Boston Tea Party, a key event during the American Revolution.
"I've never been political," said 44-year-old Molly Hyde, who describes herself as a stay-at-home mom. "I'm just passionate about it and I'm not going to give up easy."
Though she grew up liberal, Hyde said she voted for Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. She never participated in politics until she felt recent bailouts threatened the financial future of her three children.
"This is not about Republicans or Democrats," said Hyde, a resident of Shady Shores. "This is about spending money we don't have."
Organized by the Denton County Republican Party, the event featured several speakers who criticized the Obama administration while standing on the Courthouse steps.
"We wanted to bring certain things to the attention of the public, so we had this tea party," said Avie Raburn, an organizer of the event and member of the Denton County Republican Party.
The group also set up booths to take signatures for a petition "opposing irresponsible government spending and bailouts." Several volunteers said the number of signatures had probably reached 1,000 by the end of the evening.
The size of the turnout forced volunteers to use spare paper for more signees after running out of the official petitions, which presented John Hancock as the first signature.
Rebecca Walton, a 47-year-old from Oak Point, said she signed the petition because she is "tired of the taxes and the people getting a free ride."
But not everyone at the courthouse on Wednesday agreed with the event's messages about the new administration.
Although he agreed that government spending is out of control, UNT sophomore Adam Martin said the demonstration was a rally for Christian fundamentalists and die-hard Republicans who would sacrifice their principles if the Republican Party were still in control.
"President Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jesus got the most cheers," said Martin, who is majoring in political science and history. "Just look at their legacies, they're closer to socialism than Obama is."
As a self-described libertarian, Martin said he is against any stimulus bill on principle, but said that President Obama's economic policies are similar to those of President George W. Bush.
"This illusion that Bush had a stable economy for eight years is a total f---ing lie," Martin said.
The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the economic stimulus bill, was signed into action by President Obama on Feb. 17 to spur an economic recovery and create jobs.
Lathan Watts, the final speaker for the protest and Lewisville City Councilman, said both parties were responsible for the economic downturn.
In his speech, Watts referred to President Obama as the "Pied Piper" of the White House and received loud applause for his summation of the event's significance:
"We're here to send an unmistakable message to our oppressors: Enough is enough!"
Denton Tea Party
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