Local Tea Party ‘sick and tired’Published 3:00pm Thursday, April 8, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Scott Davis was sick and tired of sitting and watching what he calls complete corruption of American government.
So when he heard about a tea party rally in Elkhart last April, he knew he had to go. He was so impressed by what he saw from the fiscally and politically conservative grassroots movement that has been gaining in popularity across the country that he decided to go to the Sept. 12 tea party in Washington D.C. that drew 2 million people.
“Tea party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party of 1773 when the colonists protested taxation without representation. Today’s movement focuses on limiting taxes but also a host of other issues.
After the national rally, Davis came back home to Cassopolis even more passionate.
“I’m so sick of the corruption, the lying, the deceit in Washington,” he said. “I’ve got seven grandkids. What kind of country are they going to have?”
Davis said he is not only fed up with what he sees as complete deception from lawmakers but also the constant bickering among politicians.
So he and five other Cass County residents began their own chapter of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots this February. Since their first meeting, the group has grown to more than 30 members, representing many of the townships in the county.
Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots chairperson Gene Clem said the growth of the Cass County group has been impressive.
“You’re growing in numbers, and you have a very active group,” he told them at a meeting on Tuesday.
There are more than 1,000 members between the several groups of the Southwest Michigan Patriots.
The Cass County group hopes to expand greatly after its first rally on April 15 at the old downtown Cassopolis courthouse from 4 to 7 p.m. They will join hundreds of other tea party rallies planned nationwide that day.
Davis said the purpose of the rally is to allow people “to take back control and bring some common sense and principles and values back to the parties.”
“It begins here in each community, in each precinct,” he said. “We’re raising up new candidates to run for various offices, and this is going on throughout the country.”
The event and the group in general is not about endorsing a particular candidate but putting the people back in control of the country and bringing principles back to government.
In fact, no public officials are scheduled to speak at the rally, just citizens ready to see change. Several Cass County residents will give short speeches at the rally, encouraged by Davis to “speak from the heart.”
According to the national Tea Party Patriots mission statement, their core values are fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Limiting taxes, putting a lid on government spending and reducing dependence on foreign oil are other common beliefs of members of the group.
Even though clearly the movement is politically conservative, Davis said more than anything he would like to see Americans unite once again.
“You understand how we all felt on Sept. 11, and then Sept. 12 we all kind of banded together and united together,” he said. “Well, that’s what it’s all is all about.”