For the first time in three years, it didn’t rain during the Tea Party rally.
That encouraged many of the attendees at this morning’s Patriots’ Tea Party Rally in Center City. A moderate-sized crowd gathered in the courtyard of Dilworth Plaza, on the west side of City Hall to hear their fellow citizens speak about their distaste of the ever-growing scope of government and the disregard for the average voter they perceived that has been coming out of Washington, Harrisburg, and even Philadelphia in recent times.
Those in attendance ranged from business people in suits to casual passers-by. On the southern edge of the crowd, a man dressed in colonial garb listened intently to those who had come to speak.
“We’re here pushing for change in Philadelphia!” exclaimed Diana Reimer in her opening statements. Reimer, along with her husband Don, has organized each of the annual rallies, which have historically been held across John F. Kennedy Boulevard at Love Park until this year.
After her remarks, her son Nathaniel offered a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to open the gathering. The first to speak was local radio host Aaron Proctor, who concentrated on what he considered the long-term decline of the city at the hands of its government. “They don’t care if we’re upset, they’ll just tell us to move away,” he said as his booming voice echoed over the noise of the construction workers on the nearby pavement of 15th Street, possibly attempting to allow those in the above government offices to hear his appeals. “We can’t just stand here any longer. We have got to start looking at who’s running,” he continued, referring to the upcoming political races in the city. Cheers rang out from the crowd in response to his words.
“Stand with me, and stand against a status quo and for a better City Hall!” Proctor said, as people waved their bright yellow Gadsden flags high in the air in support. The iconic slogan of “Don’t Tread on Me” was an integral part of the demands of those in attendance. A number of speakers echoed the sentiment of a more responsible federal government while others stressed the importance of getting the city government back on track as a good starting point, including Reimer, who told the crowd that she has routinely attended City Council meetings in order to keep track of the specific actions being taken as they come before the assembly.
“We sit right up front. They know we’re there,” she told the crowd.
Later, former Chester County Commissioner Colin Hanna stepped up to the microphone to offer remarks as well as facts and figures regarding the recent financial policies enacted in Washington. “We have got to get this nation back on a course, which is sustainable. We must change the course of America’s spending,” he said. Hanna later cited what he claimed to be an estimated 97.5 percent debt-to-GDP ratio in the United States as cause for concern, adding that Greece suffered from an estimated 120 percent ratio leading up to its recent economic disaster. He cautioned that crossing the 100 percent threshold, meaning that the national debt would equal that of the financial productivity of the American economy, would be an impending catastrophe for America as well as its prominence in the world.
Philadelphia was one of many cities and towns throughout the country to hold such rallies for the third consecutive year, as the movement gains momentum nationwide with the recent founding of a “Tea Party Caucus” in Congress, chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), among other accomplishments.