Tea Party on Tax Day

Published 8:11 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the last day to file income tax returns, about 30 demonstrators marched west on Water Avenue, onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge and tossed tea bags into the Alabama River to protest government spending, particularly President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package.

“I’m absolutely disgusted in our government with this excess spending,” Greg Brown said.

The demonstrators carried posters, pumped their fists into the air and chanted phrases that expressed their distaste for a tax system, which many said places too large of a burden on a small number of wealthy citizens.

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“For years, I’ve been convinced that our tax system is just too much of a burden on certain people,” Kay Alsobrook said. “I feel like it’s unfair.”

Alsobrook expressed concern for her children’s future. She said it is unfair that they are paying into a social security program that may not exist in the near future.

“That’s very upsetting to me,” she said.

Darrel McILwain agreed that America’s tax system was broken. He said the burden is too large for a small group to carry.

“It’s overburdening to everyone, from the rich to the poor,” McILwain said. “The best way to tax people is a flat tax.”

After the group returned from the bridge, the demonstrators stood on the corner of Water Avenue and Broad Street, waving signs at passing cars that read: “God only requires 10 percent” and “No taxation without representation.” Joan Friday leaned over the curb on the street corner holding her sign. She said our tax system needs to be totally overhauled.

“It needs to be completely changed,” Friday said. “I’m fed up with the politicians in Washington. They’re treating us like a bunch of cattle.”

While the demonstrations became heated at times, Friday just stood and grinned.

“I didn’t know this would be so much fun tonight,” she said.

A small crowd of Obama supporters quickly joined the demonstration on the corner. They leaned into car windows, holding Obama signs and urging the people inside to support the president. Abina Billups said the tax demonstration was not really about taxes, it was about who is in the White House.

“It’s like they’re pointing the finger at Barack Obama,” she said. “I feel like this is hatred.”

Rose Sanders said if the group of demonstrators were truly concerned about excessive spending, they would have stood on the corner during the Bush administration, too.

“When Bush ran the deficit in the trillions, no one came,” Sanders said.

McILwain said the demonstration was not about who was in the White House. It is about the policies, he said.

“We’re not against Obama,” he said. “We’re against his policies.”