One hundred enthusiastic Atlas Shrugged fans braved chilly temperatures on the east steps of the Colorado capitol Friday as part of a nationwide “tea party” protest to rail against the federal stimulus package and the government, in general.
Beyond the typical conservative-Libertarian rhetoric was some practical advice on how to “shrug these parasites off our backs” like opening a black market in your own garage.
Jenny Hatch of Louisville kicked off the event with a reading from the fictional anti-government manifesto Atlas Shrugged by libertarian darling Ayn Rand.
Hatch implored the crowd of mainly middle-aged white folk to shrug off medical care, run a subsistence farm with a garden, cows and chickens, and create a black market barter-and-trade system with like-minded neighbors. Presumably all in an effort to block government interference in one’s life from the ills of federally-monitored health care, food inspection, trade regulation and monetary systems.
Despite the “tea party” billing, I didn’t see any crates brimming with cholesterol-busting pills, imported out-of-local-growing-season produce or bulk store discount cards to be burned in effigy or tossed into the nearest harbor — just a sign-up table with individual packets of Lipton tea. A product first introduced by a 19th century British tea magnet, very John Galt-ish by the book’s standards, and now owned by a global Dutch-Anglo consortium. It’s not clear where Lipton-Unilever would land on the Randian oppressive big business looters, moochers and parasites scale.
Flanked by hand-made Obama-is-a-socialist signs in the crowd, the Louisville mom of five thanked the smattering of Republicans, conservatives, Libertarians, one self-disclosed Democrat and “creme de la creme Constitutionalists” for helping to drive out the “Marxist moonbats in Washington, DC.”
Local conservative think tank the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara, apparently still bruised from being called a “has-been” and “loser” by Colorado state Rep. Don Marostica last week told the crowd, “As we go through these four years, these dark years, we’re going to get better at [protesting] because this is going to be the only way we are going to be able to get our word out because it is not coming out of this building.”
While Caldara railed about King George (the 18th-century British monarch not former President George W. Bush), a “Free Markets, Not Free Loaders” handbill was distributed charging “Billions of dollars in spending exclusively devoted to benefit federal employees” will befall taxpayers. It urges members of Congress to repeal the industry bailouts and spending bills, retire from office or risk voter wrath in 2010.
A fellow named Rob took the microphone to list a cavalcade of wasteful pork projects coming out of Congress. One ire-producing project described as $198 million to furnish the Dept. of Homeland Security office isn’t quite the full story (see page 48 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). Beyond desks and chairs the funds also produce thousands of jobs to design and construct a central building for the unwieldy agency that oversees 13 agencies as well as install sophisticated security and information technology systems in the new headquarters. Though I’m not a big fan of the Orwellian-sounding department, the allocation is meeting the president’s job-creating requirement for stimulus projects.
The protest ended 45-minutes later with a call by rally organizer Brian Thomas Campbell, Sr., to remove the rascals from office — a charge he may be leading as a candidate, according to his blog, The Next Senator.