Carol Miller, organizer of Wednesday’s downtown protest — one of an estimated 1,000 across the United States — said the rally allowed citizens to vent their frustrations.
“There were quite a lot of people who said they’d like to see a similar event at a different time of day,” Miller said of the rally, which began at noon Wednesday. “We are going to do something, perhaps in the evening.”
The crowd that turned out for the 50-minute event to hear a half-dozen speakers decry federal bailouts, deficits and what they perceived as a White House administration with socialist leanings started out at about 200 but grew throughout the rally. Miller said 386 people signed petitions that will be delivered to U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, who represents Hopkins County in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We’re seeing a lot of people who don’t know what to do, and they’re just churning inside,” Miller said.
Chris Brown, Place 6 Sulphur Springs City Councilman, seemed to sum up the feelings of the vast majority of those in attendance.
“I’m not here as a member of a party, or as a right-winger or left-winger,’ Brown said. “I’m here as a God-fearing, God-loving American that’s willing to do my part to make this country greater.
“It’s time for us to step up and stop being the silent majority,” he said. “It’s time to remind the people in Washington that they are dependent on us, and we will not be dependent on them.”
Brown referenced a recent speech by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who said more money was spent in the current Congress than was spent for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and Hurricane Katrina recovery.
“This budget calls for doubling the debt in five years and tripling that debt in 10 years,” Brown said. “The gross federal debt is $10 trillion, or almost $33,000 per citizen. After my third little girl is born in June, that will $165,000 debt accumulated on my behalf hanging over my household, in addition to the money that is already being spent to run the government.
“We were promised change, and I believe that promise is being delivered right now,” he said derisively.
Brown also referenced a resolution circulating in the Texas and U.S. legislatures supporting states’ rights, and urged people to call their state and federal senators and representatives in support of the measure.
“We need to remind D.C. that we are in control,” he said. “Let them know that we the people, the silent majority, will not stand silent any longer.”
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Beth Wisenbaker also spoke, arguing that the federal government’s spending habits indicate a lack of responsibility.
Our government has run amok. All they want to do is tax and spend,” she said. “If they have the audacity to ignore your voice, then you show them the United States Constitution still works, and those that have been elected to office can be un-elected. The only agenda they have is to serve our country.
“Now is the time for action. Today is the day. Let your voice be heard. Let freedom ring,” she concluded to widespread applause.
Garry Jordan, Place 1 City Councilman, decried the spending habits of the federal administration, as well.
“We’ve got to stay within our means. Why can’t our federal government stay within their means?,” said Jordan. “Who’s representing who? Are they representing us, or are we working for them? I thought we sent them to work for us.”
Like many in the crowd holding up protest signs, the progression of federal bailout programs drew Jordan’s ire.
“There’s so many bailouts,” he said. “Who’s going to bail us out? The government’s not going to. They’re going to bail out all these that need to be more conservative with what they have.
“When our city, whenever we see we’re going into what’s not going to be a big year, you know what we tell our fellow staff? We say, ‘Tighten your belt.’ I think as America, we’ve been tightening our belt so long it’s about to cut us in two. We need to let our president, our congress, our senators know that they need to tighten their belt, that now’s the time that we need to be able to take care of stimulating business, not government, to stop rewarding failure.”
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