Flat taxers. Fair taxers. Funky taxers. You name it, they were crowded outside the IRS building this morning in honor of Tax Day, and crammed on to the National Mall for an evening round of rallying. Protesting the day of paying up to Uncle Sam is becoming an annual event, as more and more tea partiers join the fight for smaller government and reduced government spending.
The morning events included an activist session held in the Ronald Reagan Building (the same building that houses the IRS) by Freedomworks, one of the main groups responsible for organizing the festivities. Inside the session, a lineup of conservative movement leaders spoke about the need for lower taxes and increased political action, while thousands of protesters built up outside in Freedom Plaza. It turned into a 3,000-man rally that lasted into the afternoon.
The evening's protest, held near the Washington Monument, was maybe three to five times that size. It featured speakers such as Dick Armey, Lord Monckton, and Andrew Breitbart, and performances by artists such as Grammy award-winning Ray Stevens, who sung a rousing rendition of "Ten Percent Is Good Enough For Jesus (It Oughta Be Enough For Uncle Sam)."
Jerry, a retiree from Leesburg, Virginia, came out to the evening events with a small group of friends.
"Basically, I haven't come to one of these before. It's tax day, so its a great day to come out," he said. Jerry wasn't sure whether the protests were actually making a difference, but at least he was having fun, he said.
Shane Aranson, 23, came by because he lived in the area and supported many of the protesters' causes.
"Taxes go up and down, but the trend is up," said Aranson. He feels strongly about abolishing the Fed. "I don't like the way the entire monetary system is handled."
Both the morning and evening protests enjoyed beautiful weather, and activists had some of the best signs I've ever seen out of the tea partiers. One sign was a full-scale replica of a toilet, featuring Nancy Pelosi's head in the pot. Another told Barack Obama to put a sock in it, with a cut-out in Obama's mouth for what the tea partier holding the sign insisted should be a "dirty" sock. Full-scale tar-and-feather costumes adorned another protester, with many others sporting shirts that had messages like these:
Recession is when your neighbor looses his job. Depression is when you loose your job. Recovery is when Congress loses their job.