Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 20, 2009

Hundreds gather to protest taxes

By Gary Nelson / gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

Under a backdrop of drizzly gray skies, wind and frigid temperatures, hundreds of Cumberland County residents gathered at the county courthouse Wednesday evening for a tea party to protest unfair taxation of American citizens.

Although the Cumberland County Republican Party organized the event and encouraged party faithfuls to join the "Second American Revolution" and become part of the "We, the People" movement, leaders who spoke at the event said it was not party affiliated.

"This is not about being a Republican or a Democrat — it's about being American," Cumberland County Republican Chairman Aaron Snodderly said. "The people are teed off and tired of being taxed enough."

The event was one of 68 protests held in Tennessee and one of thousands being held on April 15, federal tax deadline day.

Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill said, "This is amazing. It's a great turnout for this event."

"There are millions across the U.S.A. doing this right now like we are. This is not a political event. It's about being American. We will keep this civil ... As I look out here and see so many people I am thinking about a tea party that happened around 200 years ago. The people are tired — tired of a government that cares only about itself," Snodderly said.

The group gathered tea bags and strings and labels to be sent to Washington to send a message.

"We are sending these tea bags to Washington to give them a wake up call ... it is time to clean house ... we are going to shout until we have a voice in Washington," Karen Shanks of the Cumberland County Republican party said. "Many of the congressmen didn't even read the budget before approving."

She said the budget puts America $9.4 trillion in debt.

Said Shanks, "It's time to wake up America. Our government can't solve all of our problems — they are the cause of most of them."

Many attending carried signs protesting taxes, the Obama administration and the U.S. government.

Dana Wilson, Cumberland County Young Republicans chairman, said, "I'm walking on clouds here. So many people are here. This is something that's important to them."

He later addressed the crowd.

"Nobody thought we would have anyone out here today. Well, it looks like Crossville and Cumberland County care. We need to continue with activism. Let them know how you feel about this. Let's take care of business every day — keep up the fight," Wilson said.

Several individuals made comments in protest to tax increases.

Many who attended plan to hold similar, local events in the future to continue to voice their opposition.