On April 15 in Monticello, and the next night in Blanding, county residents of various political pursuasions voiced concern about many of the policies of the Obama Administration and about the steps that have been taken by Congress to try to fix the ailing economy.
These meetings were dubbed “tea parties” because of the date (tax due day) and the tea party held in Boston Harbor before the Revolutionary War protesting higher taxes by the British. There were reportedly up to 2,000 tea parties in many areas of the United States the same day, with crowds ranging from 25,000 people in Atlanta to 42 in Monticello.
At the meeting in Monticello, host Micheal Martin explained how we got into the economic mess. The United States is more than $10 trillion in debt as now. If the Obama budget is passed, and budget projections for the future are realized, including universal health care and other social programs, more than $1 trillion per year may be added to the debt. Out-of-control spending has many Americans scared and worried.
Trying to get the human mind to comprehend how much is a trillion dollars is difficult, if not impossible. Martin gave an example: If you spent a dollar every second, how long would it take to spend a trillion dollars? Answer: 32,000 years.
In Blanding the next night, a much larger crowd, hosted and moderated by Tyler Lyman, focused on what local people can do to reverse the disturbing trends in the nation.
At least a dozen prominent County taxpayers rose to address the gathering. Participants were challenged to hold additional meetings at their own homes and invite friends.
Many suggestions were made about how the group could form a network of like-minded citizens, who could be organized into a movement that would have a real impact with city, county and state government. The point was made that one thing politicians will listen to is a large group of well organized, angry voters.
While elected politicians were not invited to attend, many of Utah’s delegation attended the Salt Lake City Tea Party. Senator Orrin Hatch commented briefly and said, “I want all Utahns to know that I share their outrage at the direction this country is headed.”
Democratic leaders characterized the tea-party demonstrations as corporately funded and orchestrated by Fox News and right wing radio. Left wing liberal media dismissed the tea parties as the lunatic fringe of the far right, and virtually ignored the reporting of it in liberal media outlets.
The first tea parties were held in February, when 30,000 people attended in a few scattered locations.
There is no way of knowing how many people attended the nearly 2,000 tea parties in the second round on April 15, but if the comments and sentiments of those who attended local tea parties are an indicator, these first meetings may grow into a huge movement nation wide.