200+ NYC "Tea Party" Protests Obama as Socialist, Communist, Hitler, Etc.
One of the anti-Obama "tea parties," inspired by a rant by CNBC's Rick Santelli and encouraged by prominent rightwing bloggers, was held in City Hall Park today between 2 and 3 p.m. The event drew between 200 and 250 highly enthusiastic supporters. A series of speakers drawn from the crowd denounced through a bullhorn the stimulus plan as "socialism," "tyranny," "collectivism," etc.
The theme was also carried in protest signs that read "Commander in Thief," "Why Punish The Middle Class?" "NO American Socialism," and imputations, such as the one pictured above, of the President's allegiance to communism.
The event was kicked off by activist Kellen Guida (pictured right) and Alex Zablocki, a candidate for the Republican nomination for public advocate. (Photo via Stephanie Cannon.) Guida said it was time to speak out in public "just like the Democrats do. They rally and they rally and they rally, and Republicans and real Americans, sometimes we don't. It's time we take the rallies right to the steps of Socialism and the White House and we tell them enough is enough and we will not take it any more!"
The first of the citizens to take the bullhorn declined to identify himself, though he said he had spent "ten years" at the University of Chicago, where he said he took an economics degree. "The people who robbed the bank are now in charge of the bank," he said. The Democrats "lied through their teeth when they said deregulation caused [the financial crisis], it was the regulation that caused it. They broke the system, they panicked the people, and now they're in the position where they're using this to hand out more money to people!"
A woman with a flag and a copy of the Declaration who identified herself as "Chaplain Desiree Bernstein" (also an anti-gay-marriage and anti-Khalil-Gibran-Academy protester) said, "I have been in this fight for a long time. I welcome your beautiful faces and we can do it, But I'm gonna tell you now without any offense: if you think we're gonna do it without invoking the Almighty, you can forget it!" She invoked the 19th Century prayer campaign of Jeremiah Lanphier in which, Bernstein said, "10,000 Americans, much like us here today, gathered and cried out, 'Almighty God, we were not created for Socialism, we were not created for Marxism, we were not created for sharia law, which is already here!'" receiving huge cheers.
Bernstein added, "I am also a 9/11 family, who one of our sisters was just recently killed in that plane that went down! Whatever happened to the outcome of that! But that's another story."
Bernstein added that "If we do not return to the foundations that made us great, every Ivy League school that declares in almighty God and in Jesus Christ is our trust, we can, we are a nation of Judeo-Christian values (cheers) before sharia takes us over and we become dhimmitudes! Is that what you want?" She said unnamed enemies "want to take us down to Socialism and Communism and Marxism." Also, "if there's any praise it goes to Jesus Christ! Where are the clergy! Where are the rabbis! Where are they today! It's not time to sit in your synagogues! It's not time to sit in your churches! It's time to do exactly what we're doing here! And I'm asking you now, if we do not invoke the Almighty to come into our midst as we undertake this great assignment, that generations after us would know that we are free because of people like you and me!"
(The crowd eventually tired of Bernstein and encouraged her to cease with a chant of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!")
Jonathan Judge, president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, said, "When it comes to secular Socialism being passed into legislation, being made into law, what are we gonna do? Are we gonna sit around and do nothing? (No!) Are we gonna wait for somebody else to have the wisdom to do it for us? (No!) Or are we gonna do it ourselves? (Yeah!)" He urged the crowd to support "real Republican candidates who are gonna defend our rights, going to defend our principles before this entire city" in the upcoming elections.
A quiet young man from New Jersey admitted he couldn't speak as well as Obama, not only because he didn't have a teleprompter (laughter) but because he didn't have "a gang of stooges behind me to try to attempt to give me legitimacy." Then he said the Declaration of Independence shows that "if the government is not doing their job, we can overthrow, we can replace and we can rebuild. This is what we're here to do."
He added that the appointment of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt as special economic advisor to the President was ominous because "the implication is that the Democratic Party now could have the means to control heavy industry, weaponry, energy production, and also control the dissemination of the media, because Immelt also own NBC and MSNBC."
He was also troubled by House bill HR645 because "what that is, is FEMA is allowed to set emergency camps on military bases. If the government decides that the gathering of people like this is an emergency, we can all be put on military bases, with the concomitant loss of all of our rights.... Didn't we fight World War II against the country that mostly followed these same steps?"
Patrick Gibson, host of the Evil Conservative radio show on WVOX in New Rochelle, said "the same government that gave us the welfare state, the same government that created the problems that we're in right now, is the same government that says, 'Give us all the power and we'll solve the problems for you.'" His proposed solution was "tax cuts for business."
This young woman said, "Obama made his big speech in Berlin, a lot of people in Germany were creeped out by thatspeech. You know why? He reminded them of someone from their past that shamed them a good deal. And he reminds me of him. I'm a Jewish-American and he scares the hell out of me! And you people who voted for him, you should be ashamed of yourselves!... I'm sorry if that's shocking but that's just how I feel!" The crowd let her know they did not take offense at her comparison of Obama to Adolf Hitler, crying "Never Again!"
There was also a black guy. "Do not adjust your cameras," he said. "Yes, I'm black, I'm Republican and I'm proud of it," getting a big hand. "I did not vote for Obama, I did not campaign for him, but I know a whole lot of my people did. And guess what, they got what they paid for. They want more welfare, they want more Medicaid and Medicare, they want all of that garbage. But guess what, there's a price for everything. Because liberalism is a mental disorder. And let me tell you something, I have lived in the inner cities for most of my life, and I'm tell you something right now, they are waiting in line for their free food stamps and free health care and all that kind of stuff, but I would not fall for it."
Other speakers said, "Let these banks fail!" and "The original Tea Party kicked off the beginning of a revolution against a statist government. And what we need now is a revolution... We're here to tell you, comrade President, that you're not dragging this country to socialism without a fight!"
"There are two Americas," said one of the last speakers. "Not an America of haves and have-nots, of Republicans and Democrats, but of capitalists and socialists."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.