No Ocean Necessary: A Tea Party in the Heartland
Approximately 2,500 citizens marched from Julia Davis to Capitol Park in Boise, Idaho, as part of the national grassroots tea party movement.
Many signs focused on big spending, big taxes, the dangers of socialism, out-of-control government growth, term limits, and concerns with runaway government. Some signs focused on preserving gun rights, border security, honoring the Tenth Amendment, and protecting state sovereignty. An even smaller number of signs spoke out against the Federal Reserve, abortion, and global warming.
It was all good according to Nate Shellman, a 670 KBOI drive-time radio host who emceed the first leg of the tea party at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. He noted, "You all have signs expressing what's on your mind." Shellman hailed the cornucopia of messages as a cherished American moment.
Boise's tea party was actually three rallies held in succession at Ann Morrison Park, Julia Davis Park, and Capitol Park, the latter being located across the street from Idaho's capitol, which is under renovation. Each location drew an even larger crowd than the last rally.
Chilly weather and even light rain did not deter the marchers. At Julia Davis, Reverend Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance joked that it was raining because, "God knows we need water for our tea."
A spokesman for Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) forwarded along the senator's best wishes for the event at Julia Davis via an official representative. Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), who recently wrote an op-ed in the Idaho Statesman praising the numerous earmarks he brought home to Idaho, sent along a letter expressing his support for the tea party.
At the Capitol Park rally, former elk rancher and 2008 Independent U.S. Senate candidate Rex Rammel threw his hat into the ring to challenge Simpson in the 2010 Republican primary. He opened with a strong plea for state sovereignty. "Today, the battle to challenge the federal government's usurpation of states' rights begins."
Four state legislators also spoke at Capitol Park. Nine-term Idaho Representative Lenore Barrett (R-Challis) was once described as a potential slam poetry champion by Idaho Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise), herself a former slam poetry slam contestant. The crowd at Capitol Park got to judge for themselves, as Barrett laid out a rapid, clear, and concise conservative program in less than five minutes.