Residents of Galesburg gathered at Lake Storey last Thursday to support speakers of Galesburg’s second annual Tea Party rally and to cheer the main causes of the Tea Party: fiscal responsibility, limited government and free enterprise.
Tea Party proponents came from Galesburg, Monmouth and other surrounding areas to hear professors, pastors, judges, senators and others express these central concepts.
Although many Tea Party members are seen as right-wing radicals, some were much more mild with their place among the ralliers, like Richard and Marsha White of Monmouth.
“We never thought this is where we would be today,” they said.
Some expressed concern for the current student-age generation. Illinois State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson), who was in attendance at the rally, held that sentiment.
“You are the ones who are going to be paying for it,” he said in regard to the nation’s deficit spending.
Among the patrons was senior Karl Bair, one of very few Knox students in attendance. He said he believes that some Tea Party ideals are radical, and he does not necessarily agree with everything in the Tea Party platform.
“I am a firm believer that people should be dependent on themselves, not on someone else,” Bair said. “Some things I agree with, some things I don’t; that is the nature of politics.”
The tea party website, www.jointheteaprty.us, claims to have started in 2009 as a response to a government spiraling into a socialist paradise, crippled by debt. Their goal is to reform all American political parties to bring them back to the core values of our founding fathers.
Ill. State Senator Darin LaHood, one of the event speakers, proposed some ways to fix the government, with encouraging cheers from the audience.
“I look at four principles on how we do that: end government corruption, create an ethical government, cut wasteful government spending and create a fiscally solvent state budget,” LaHood said.
Another notable speaker was Richard Johnston, a professor of economics and public finance at Monmouth College.
“The Tea Partyers are accused of being terrorists,” Johnston said. “I’m sorry to say this, but we are guilty as charged. Why? I have no doubt the plot of not spending money you do not have, of not dictating we must buy health insurance, and of having a real choice as to the schools we send our children to, terrorizes those who want to keep the government boot on the neck of those who want freedom.”
Some others among the crowd disagreed with the speakers’ propositions, making small comments on holes in their plan and disagreeing with the statements being so passionately cheered on by Tea Party supporters.
Unlike last year’s rally, a protest group was nowhere to be seen. At the first annual rally, members of Alliance for Peaceful Action showed up with others to stand against what they called closed-mindedness.