Tea party protestors take over Union to have voices heard

Ryan Bort and Ryan Bort

University students who oppose Washington’s recent spending practice will get together Saturday to protest in what is being called a Tea Party.

The Tea Party will take place 1 to 3 p.m. in the Union Oval and they are expecting 300 to 500 people.

Inspired by the tea party of the colonists who protested England’s “taxation without representation” in late 1700s, Tea Party Patriots is a national organization that has been holding and encouraging these events around the country.

While many Tea Parties were held Thursday, Tax Day, many more will be held Saturday.

Conor Kendrick, president of the College Republicans, has been planning this event for two months. Kendrick attended a Tea Party in Toledo last year and is also a member of Children of Liberty: District 5, which is co-sponsoring the event.

“There are problems we are facing in this government with money right now,” Kendrick said “If you look at the organization’s history, you’ll see that they’ve been mad at multiple presidents from both parties, not just Democrats.”

Kendrick said the event is about pushing change and communicating the Tea Party Patriots’ three main values: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.

“It’s important that people know we don’t hate anybody, we just want the policies to be changed,” Kendrick said. “The Tea Party movement is not a negative movement.”

Scott Boston, Tea Party Patriot local coordinator and state co-coordinator, said the Tea Party mission is primarily educational.

“Call it a rally or a protest but really what a tea party is, is an opportunity to come out, be heard, and maybe be educated,” he said.

To help educate those who attend, conservative activist Melissa Ortiz will be there to speak and then John O’Hara, who helped organize the original Tea Party in Washington, will be the key note speaker.

Before the event, from noon to 1 p.m., there will also be a town hall style public forum open to people on both sides of the argument.

“The whole point is to engage with people and have real discussion about our issues,” Boston said. “To have a dialogue as opposed to holding up signs protesting an event they really don’t understand the meaning behind.”

Another student organization, Freedom, will participate in the forum and holding a counter protest as well.

According to its Web site, Freedom is an organization who “through non-hierarchical dialogue, examine the root causes of social and cultural issues and create projects to address them.”

Rachael Sample, a member of Freedom, will be attending the protest and said she will be protesting for more “philosophical” reasons.

“I absolutely respect the right of free speech and think they have the right to be there,” Sample said. “But that also means the people who disagree have the right to be there and be heard too.”

Sample said that she believes these Tea Parties have been misrepresenting facts, and under Obama, taxes for the average American have decreased.

“I think protesting the idea of taxation in general is pretty irresponsible because without some form of a taxation system we don’t have roads, a police force and stuff like that,” Sample said.

Both sides encouraged people to attend the event and hear the debate regardless of their personal views.

“We are trying to encourage debate,” Boston said. “And we welcome anyone to come out.”