1,000-plus come to Lakeland Tea Party to protest Obama listen09/14/09 Mitch E. Perry
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On Saturday, several so-called Tea Party protests were held across the country. In Washington, tens of thousands attended such an event. And in downtown Lakeland, despite a steady rain, at least a thousand people gathered at Lake Mirror Amphitheatre to hear a variety of speakers, including GOP Senate Candidate Marco Rubio.
Health care reform and the growing federal deficit were the key issues animating those in attendance. And there were plenty of signs showing support for South Carolina Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, who accused President Obama of lying while the President spoke at last weekâ€™s Joint Session of Congress address.
Tom Holloway from Lakeland said he supported Wilsonâ€™s â€œYou Lieâ€ chant.
A young woman named Megan echoed Wilsonâ€™s remarks in claiming that President Obama is governing in contrast to how he campaigned. Wilson later apologized for his comments.
Saturdayâ€™s events, on September 12th or 9/12, were spurred on by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, who has declared a platform of 9 principals and 12 Values that he has tied in to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Megan from Orlando said Beck was an inspiration to her.
The Tea Party on Saturday was the latest in a series of such protests held by conservatives this year in the Bay Area and across the country. Of those people that WMNF spoke with, there seemed to be a distinction amongst some citizens ready to attack the Obama administration on virtually any issue, compared to others who were critical of both Republicans and Democrats on issues like federal spending.
Lakeland resident Karen Temple said the discussion regarding health care was of direct concern to her, because she has coverage, and is fearful she might lose it under a new system.
Jay from Polk County said he feared the â€˜relentless push towards socialism.â€
The seemingly irrational fear that Obama wonâ€™t leave office after his 2nd term ends, if he were to win re-election, was also a concern to Jim Scott from Davenport.
Glenn Beck and his supporters cheered last week when the Obama administrationâ€™s point man on green jobs, Van Jones, quit his job in the White House, after a series of controversial statements the activist had made in previous years reached a critical mass.
Barry Foster is Activities Director for the American Party of Florida, which he says is a nascent party designed as an alternative to the â€˜Republicratsâ€™. He was still angry about Van Jones.
A man named Carl from Lakeland seemed a little less ideologically-driven than much of his brethren.
Cora Simon made the journey from South Tampa. She also had an issue with federal spending, and was upset with both political parties.