Tax day rally in Denver steeped in Tea Party discontent nationwide

By Jimy Valenti

Jim Martinez painted a new sign just for this occasion. April 15 — Tax Day. For a movement named after a revolutionary war era tax protest, this was the Tea Party’s big day. A couple thousand gathered at Colorado’s state capitol protesting taxation and big government with speeches steeped in references to Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere and the original Boston Tea Party. Similar rallies were held across the state and country including, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Washington D.C.

Sunny Roseman, a former television weatherman for KUSA Channel 9, riles up the crowd.
Photo by Cory Knight/The Colorado Statesman

Martinez, 66, proudly displayed his sign as drivers passed by the state capitol. It featured a cartoon of Obama mouthing, “I’m so pretty I can’t stop talking about taxes, bondage, socialism, Communism and death care.”

Representing people’s true feelings, Martinez said signs are integral to the Tea Party movement. Throughout the crowd signs and flags flew everywhere on Thursday, proclaiming, “Stop smoking the hope-ium,” “At least drunken sailors are spending their own money” and “O liar, O fascist, O racist, O Kenyan, O am I sick.” A few political candidates had signs floating through the masses — for gubernatorial candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes and senate hopeful candidate Ken Buck.

Kim Dushinski, 44, sat in the grass towards the back of the rally amongst children playing with small “don’t tread on me” flags and enjoying the sunny spring afternoon.

She came to her first Tea Party event and said her favorite sign was one that read, “This is my first sign.”

“Dave” of Denver provides two options stemming from his obvious viewpoint.
Photo by Cory Knight/The Colorado Statesman

Dushinski said she has seen Tea Party rallies in the media for months and figured it was finally time to stop yelling at her television and support smaller government in person. She said the media’s portrayal of the tea party movement is misleading.

“This is not a bunch of right wing crazies,” Dushinski said. “It’s regular people.”

The Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara kicked of the day’s events by reflecting on a year of tea party activism.

“We’re still here and were not leaving!” Caldara said. He later added, “We are not angry [at their opposition]. We feel sorry for our enemies because they have not experienced freedom. Liberty is scary.”

Caldara was followed by a slew of speakers from various Tea Party inspired groups across Colorado, concerned mothers and passionate activists. Matt Arnold of Clear the Bench Colorado received some of the largest applause. His organization targets Colorado Supreme Court justices who, according to Arnold, uphold attacks against the Taxpayers Bill off Rights. Arnold inspired a “clear the bench” chant as he left the podium.

The event’s emcee, Libertarian CD 6 candidate Rob McNealy, presented Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, as one of a handful of Republicans representing tea party ideals. Mitchell warned to be wary of both political parties.

State Rep. Cindy Acree, R-Aurora, stands on the steps of the Capitol listening to speeches.
Photo by Cory Knight
The Colorado Statesman

“I don’t want my rights kicked by a donkey or trampled by an elephant,” Mitchell said.

Many candidates for political office have been courting the Tea Party vote. Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes promised to downsize government and beg forgiveness of the oil and gas companies, who Maes said, were ousted from the state under Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

Both Maes and Caldara quoted Gandhi in an effort to keep tea partiers involved.

“First they ignore you,” Maes said quoting the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule. “Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.”

Sunny Roseman, a former television weatherman for KUSA Channel 9 and currently the self-proclaimed “inconvenient Sunny Roseman” on local Denver radio, said people blindly follow global warming as if global warming were a church. He also touched on illegal immigration, a common topic throughout the afternoon.

“How many of you are tired of being called a racist when you say you’re against illegal immigration?” Roseman asked.

Stan Weekes, director of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform, said Denver has become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. He held up his torn and tattered sign that read, “Sanctuaries are for birds, not illegals.”

A modest size crowd of immigration reform activists gathered across the street from the rally and chanted “no person is illegal” and “si sé puede” as some Tea Party participants shouted back across the street, “you, go home!”

Drawing a roaring ovation as he walked onto the stage, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck concluded the rally. Buck brought an entourage of nearly 30 supporters dressed in blue ‘Buck for Senate’ t-shirts.

State Rep. David Balmer, left, waves on the crowd as they are urged to contact their legislators. State Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, is at the right.
Photo by Cory Knight/The Colorado Statesman

“We are here, among other things, to recognize our founding fathers,” Buck said. “One of the things they did 237 years ago was jump on a boat and throw that tea over board. One of those men was a guy named Paul Revere. Two years later Paul Revere was riding the countryside warning the colonists that the British were coming. We are here today to warn our fellow Americans that the federal government is coming and were not going to stand for it.”

Buck also cautioned ralliers that their anger with Democratic incumbents shouldn’t go unanswered. He encouraged the Tax Day protesters to remain active in the political system and especially to show their support for conservative candidates.

Other andidates who spoke at the rally: Dan Maes for governor, Tom Wiens for U.S. Senate, Libertarian Maclyn Stringer for U.S. Senate, Libertarian Rob McNealy for CD 6, Stephen Bailey for CD 2, Tom Lucero for CD 4, Curtis Harris for CD 2, Jimmy Lakey on behalf of Lang Sias for CD 7, Don Beasley for HD 33, Mark Barrington for HD 26, Danny Stroud for HD 1, Independent Jason Clark for governor and Steve Bosley for CU Regent.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Wiens pledges to Tea Party demonstrators that he’s their candidate.
Photo by Cory Knight
The Colorado Statesman
Colorado Libertarian Party Chair David K. Williams Jr. touts political reform.
Photo by Cory Knight/The Colorado Statesman