April 15th, 2009 By | News | Posted In: Bailout, Protests, President Obama

Angry About Something or Another


An estimated 3,000 people attended today’s latest “Tea Party” protest at Fountain Square, this time commemorating Tax Day, and a CityBeat writer and photographer were there to capture the event in all of its sordid glory. [See the photo slideshow here.]

Cincinnati’s protest and subsequent march to City Hall, one of about 600 tea parties scheduled nationwide, ostensibly were held to protest President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus package, and urge city officials not to accept any financial aid.

Judging from remarks made by speakers and signs held by protesters, however, everyone had different reasons for attending.

Although organizer Mike Wilson, a computer consultant from Springfield Township, railed against government spending and taxes as expected, speaker Greg Knox, who owns a machinery business in Franklin, wrapped up his remarks by stating the United States must “return to God.”

Meanwhile, dozens of signs warned against the evils of “socialism” and raised the specter of the old Soviet Union. The most elaborate featured the famous blue and red Obama image from last year’s “hope” campaign poster, but included a hammer and sickle symbol and the tag line, “Welcome to the U.S.S.A.”

Some signs fit the “Taxed Enough Already” theme.

One placard read, “Spread my work ethic, not my wealth”; another sign stated, “Normally, I’d be at work now but I figured … why bother?”

Many other signs were all over the board.

A young boy held a sign protesting some safety law prohibiting small motorcycles for children. Another placard read, “Protect our Constitution, borders, language and culture.” Yet another stated, “I’ll keep my money and guns, you keep your change.” For good measure, one man held a sign blaming labor unions for America's ills, while another sign read "Insurrection, anyone?"

Before the speakers began, the crowd listened to patriotic-themed Country music. At one point, anti-tax activist Christopher Finney could be seen walking around and trying to get people to sing along to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A.

Referring to Rick Santelli, the CNBC commentator whose on-air rant against “losers” inspired people to hold tea parties, Wilson said, “He wanted to know why those of us who did the right thing and took care of our mortgages and paid our bills are bailing out the irresponsible ones.”

Possibly responding to criticism about the first rally on March 15, Wilson mentioned the non-partisan nature of the event several times, urged attendees not to get into altercations and didn’t allow Republican politicians to speak this time. Also, he blasted both major parties for having leaders who leave office and then become lobbyists.

“These aren’t Republican values, these aren't Democratic values, these aren’t Green Party values, these aren’t Libertarian values — these are American values,” Wilson said.

“Our movement has to mean something. It has to be here for the long haul,” he added. “Politicians work for us, and we will continue to build our movement until our voices are heard.”

The crowd wasn’t diverse: An informal survey of participants by this reporter and two onlookers spotted just one African-American woman and one Asian-American man in the throngs of people. There were plenty of smokers, though.

Unlike the March 15 rally, it appeared that no confrontations occurred at Fountain Square this time. As protesters marched to City Hall, though, bystanders jeered them.

A group of African-American teen-agers at Seventh and Vine chanted Barack Obama’s name as the group strolled by, prompting a white, red-haired marcher in his 20s and a business suit to reply, “He’s the Anti-Christ.”

A block later, an elderly, grey-haired black woman shouted at the marchers, “You all don’t even live here!”

As another man on Garfield Place watched the crowd walk by, he said, “I didn’t see any of these people when the last president was fucking shit up for eight years.”

One sign carried by a protester echoed the religious theme. It read, “If 10 percent is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for Uncle Sam.”

Yes, but Jesus never had to build highways, buy missiles and fight two wars.

04.15.2009 at 04:55 Reply
"At one point, anti-tax activist Chris Finney could be seen walking around and trying to get people to sing along to Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A." Finney was also spotted carrying a sign that read, "Let's see David Pepper's birth certificate!" Later he got into a scuffle with a group of Ron Paul supporters when Finney tried to get them to chant, "KISS MY ASS! KISS MY ASS!" Calm was restored when Chris Smitherman told Finney he wasn't allowed to speak.


04.15.2009 at 06:53 Reply
Obama doesn't need to buy missiles and fight to wars either. John Fox said Obama was anti-war, but he's escalating one war and increasing the Pentagon budget. Who would Jesus bomb? I doubt Jesus would have bailed out the corporate crooks on Wall Street, but then again he didn't take campaign contributions from corporations either.


04.15.2009 at 07:43 Reply
"sordid glory"? I'm going to look for this phrase next time you write about a tax-loving rally. You write 3,000; Wilkinson writes 4,000: whom shall the public believe?


04.15.2009 at 10:26 Reply
Citizens Against Joe Deters was in the attendance (5 of us). We figured since SOME in attendance didn’t get the memo or chose to ignore the memo--the tea party is not about showing up with your OWN agenda. We figured we’d show up with our own agenda and some President Obama signs too. We were there for a peaceful demonstration and it started out that way. But there’s always a few angry people who call you names and shout nasty things at you. On the march to City Hall a woman actually came up to me and waved her little flag in my face. The flag swiped my face. It may not have been her intention for the flag to touch my face, but it touched my face. Next thing I know some people from the crowd started shouting that I hit the woman with my sign. I did not. Next thing I know two cops tapped me on the shoulder (Officer Lamb ps234 and Officer Bender p12) They detained/questioned me briefly. I didn’t like the way one of the cops handled the matter. But, oh well I kept it moving, knowing to pick my battles. Later I called Dist 1 and spoke to Officer Martin who told me to fax my concerns to: To Whom it may concern. Yeah, right.


04.17.2009 at 11:39 Reply
I saw a black guy when I was looking out Gargano's window.