More than a thousand people gathered in front of the State Capitol on Wednesday, informally hosting what organizers called a "tea party" protest of taxes on tax day.
That may have been the reason they gathered, but in effect it was more of an anti-Barack Obama rally.
Signs being waved throughout the crowd and along Charlotte Avenue in front of the Capitol called President Obama a socialist, mocking him and his brand of "change." Some signs called for the Tennessee lawmakers to declare state sovereignty, others protesting abortion, a number demanding an end to federal bailouts, and even one lone protestor waving a sign calling for the legalization of marijuana.
Perhaps the most ominous sign of all was one that had the words "Soap Box" and "Ballot Box" on it and check marks beside those words, but underneath it also read "Cartridge Box" and was unchecked as if to say that was next.
"People expect more prudence, there should be more respect for the American taxpayers family bank accounts," said Ben Cunningham, a rally organizer and head of the Tennessee Tax Revolt, explaining the event’s ‘draw.’ When he spoke to the crowd he got a roar of support for cutting up a mock congressional credit card and decried what he said would become a trillion dollar a year deficit.
Asked where these crowds were when George W. Bush was president and why there weren't protests like this then, Cunningham said, "I certainly didn't hold back then but for many the size of the deficit now has pushed them to the tipping point."