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Large crowd has their say, and some tea, in Newnan
Thu, 04/16/2009 - 3:46pm
By: Ben Nelms
Smiles, signs and cheers took LaGrange Street in Newnan by storm Wednesday, as a throng of people, perhaps as many as 400, gathered at city hall to attend the Newnan Tea Party. Like countless other events occurring across American April 15, those in Newnan said the statement they were making was about principle not party, and about freedom, not oppression.
Chip Coursey is not a political pundit. He is not an event organizer. But Chip decided several weeks ago that he would go out on a limb and try to do something he had never done before. With no knowledge of what to do or how to do it, he began organizing the Newnan Tea Party. The result was approximately 400 people of all genders, ethnicities and ages coming together in a common cause.
“I’ve been asked why we’re here today and if doing this will make a difference. Yes,” Coursey said to a roar from the crowd. “Most importantly, we need to do this again. This can’t be the last time, no matter what it takes. We have to stand up and have our voices heard. It may take doing this several times to tell Congress, ‘You may not admit you’re wrong but we’re here to tell you you’re wrong.’”
The only state or federally elected official in attendance was state Sen. Mitch Seabaugh. In his brief remarks, Seabaugh acknowledged the efforts of Chip Coursey.
“If every one of us took his initiative we would take back our nation,” Seabaugh said. “We’ve forgotten what our founding fathers did to give us the opportunities we have now. We need not to forget that. They believed in a Supreme Being, God, and the right to govern ourselves. I don’t care who’s in the White House. Hold elected officials accountable, including me.”
Another to address the large crowd was “Ride the Bus Coweta” organizer Wendy Bloedt. She and her mother, Judy Whitwood, have worked behind the scenes to assist Coursey with the tea party in Newnan and Cindy Fallon with the tea party held simultaneously in Peachtree City.
“I believe this fight is worth fighting and I won’t give up. And I don’t think you will after today,” Bloedt said to more cheers. “At the tea party in February it was a cold, wet day. But I came back so inspired. You are inspiring others today. I don’t like the change I’ve seen in this country and I’m not going to take it.”
Bloedt also read a letter from state Rep. Billy Horn, who said he was sponsoring House Resolution (HR) 821 urging Congress to adopt the Fair Tax and HR 492 claiming Georgia’s sovereignty from an over-reaching federal government.
Many others followed Bloedt at the microphone. They were citizens, average people, who came to participate and decided to take the microphone to state their beliefs. As each spoke, they were applauded and cheered.
And there were those that spoke standing on the sidewalk, sharing their thoughts at Newnan City Hall.
Newnan resident Chelsey Sherman said he could not agree with what was going on in Washington. He said the pork spending was ridiculous and had to stop.
Another at street side was Missy White, who brought her home-schooled children to the tea party as part of their instruction.
“We home school because of the Christian education,” White said smiling. “I teach about how the country was founded on Christian principles and how our country was set up. We’re here today to demonstrate against the bad decisions that are being made that are ruining our country economically and how our children’s future will be a lot different because of the decisions that are being made. We’re hoping to change that.”
Diana Fowler also had her say about the tea party and her reason for attending.
“We are here today because we are against all that the government is doing right now,” said the Senoia resident. “My children and grandchildren are going to have to pay for all of this. I’m worried about my kids and grandkids.”
Another of the many mothers with their children at the tea party was Kristin Keating. And like so many others, the Newnan resident and her children were carrying signs and enjoying the camaraderie with the hundreds that stood beside them.
“We’re here because we want the bail-outs by the government to stop. And we don’t want our kids to be plagued with debt when they grow up,” Keating said. “We’re tired of government control.”
Also on the sidewalk was an immigrant from years past. Her words and her message for the United States were striking, and ominous. Douglasville resident Niki Smith was born in Greece prior to World War II and moved to Yugoslavia. As a young girl, she was part of a singing and dancing troupe. Later she immigrated, with her brother, to America. Niki came with one suitcase. She went through the process to become an American citizen. Standing in front of city hall, Niki spoke of her life on both continents.
“I lived in all kinds of orphanages and I obviously survived. I saw a lot of death. I lived in a Communist country. And in Yugoslavia I danced for Mussolini when he came over. He promised us all kinds of wonderful things that would happen. We were going to have food, we were going to have freedom and expression. I was very little, one of the singers and dancers that presented him with flowers . Then within a month we were attacked,” Smith said. “I am here to represent my grandchildren. I want to tell the American people this is the greatest country in the world. If America is so bad why is everyone trying to get to the United States? I’m here today because I believe in the Constitution of the United States and I would fight for this country. I honestly feel that I am seeing Europe and I’m seeing the beginning of how our country deteriorated to the point where we became slaves to the government. The bigger government took over, then before you knew it we lost our freedom. People in this country don’t realize what they have. The freedom. You don’t know what you have until you’ve lost something.”
Before the rally began, groups in the crowd spontaneously began singing. First it was God Bless America followed by chants of “USA, USA, USA” and, minutes later, the singing of The Star Spangled Banner. All the while, many of the cars and trucks passing in front of city hall on LaGrange Street honked horns and waved in support of the mid-day effort.
The tea party began with an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. Throughout the rally, and aside from the obvious discontent with many aspects of what was verbalized as inappropriate federal intervention into their lives, the tea party was nonetheless peaceful from beginning to end. It was a time of controlled frustration that will not be diminished through coercion or control. Many in the crowd spoke personally about the shame that has come over this country due to the inaction of average citizens who, over the years, have refused to take a stand. For many, some said, their time has come.
And many in the crowd said they took little notice to those in their communities that spew hate-filled rhetoric in the attempt to mock and belittle their efforts for what they believe is their right to express their discontent. Some said it was a similar discontent, echoed across the centuries, by those who fought an American Revolution for a new freedom.
And referencing a report earlier this week issued by U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, it was not without note on LaGrange Street in Newnan on April 15 that some of the colonists who dared to hang together in the founding days of this nation would, because of their stand for Christianity and the Constitution, be called right-wing extremists and potential domestic terrorists today.login to post comments
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