More than 200 citizens gathered at the Lowndes County courthouse Tuesday evening in a show of solidarity against the policies of President Barack Obama during a Columbus Tea Party rally.
Beneath looming rain clouds, groups and individuals lined the sidewalk and lawn of the courthouse, some displaying signs expressing their dissatisfaction with the current administration”s active and proposed policies.
The rally was staged by a loose-knit group of like-minded local business people to protest what they see as irresponsible spending on behalf of the federal government.
Columbus lawyer Joseph Randolph Lipscomb, one of the rally”s organizers and speakers, said the short-term goal of the Columbus Tea Party and the nationwide Tea Party movement is to send a message to Washington demanding fiscal responsibility. The long-term goal, he says, is to replace politicians who won”t listen.
“Eventually, I hope we will kick all of these bums out of congress,” said Lipscomb. “I”m referring now to essentially two groups. One is socialists and the other is pork-barrel politicians.”
Lipscomb hopes the issues discussed at the Columbus Tea Party motivate those in attendance to vote politicians in favor of bills such as Obama”s health care plan and cap and trade — a policy tool with a mandatory cap on emissions — out of office.
He says the group stops short of endorsing candidates to replace the “pork-barrel politicians.”
“I think people can make their own decisions,” said Lipscomb.
Lipscomb was the last speaker Tuesday evening and finished his remarks just as a heavy rain began to fall. He was preceded at the podium by former Eupora Mayor Henry Ross, Scott Berry, owner of T.S. Berry furniture sales, and Sid Caradine, owner of Lincoln Home Bed and Breakfast.
Lipscomb says the group also claims no partisan affiliation.
“I couldn”t even tell you what political party (the other speakers) belong to. None of us care. What we care about is being American,” he said.
Topics addressed by several speakers included the proposed health-care bill, the federal deficit, foreign policy, Democratic South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson”s outburst during Obama”s recent national address and a perceived lack of adherence to the Constitution on behalf of the federal government.
Ross, who concluded his address saying he may appear on Mississippi”s congressional ballot next year, entreated citizens and the government to halt unnecessary spending.
“We need lower taxes and the government to live within its means,” said Ross. “It”s up to you and me.”
Berry gave a quick recap of the 9-12 Project march held in Washington, D.C. Saturday. Berry attended the event and told the Columbus crowd what it was like to be among what he estimated were more than one million people.
“It was the most unbelievable feeling I”ve ever had in my life,” said Berry.
He spoke of the optimism he felt seeing so many people invested in the future of the country because, he says, the public has stopped keeping tabs on the government.
“We haven”t kept ourselves abreast of the policies of our government,” he said.
Caradine opened his remarks by saying the federal government has overstepped the boundaries of powers granted by the Constitution before listing several instances of inappropriate government spending decisions.
Following the rally, Rex Dickerson, owner of Rex”s Rentals, voiced his support for the Tea Party”s theme of fiscal responsibility.
“The biggest thing is we cannot continue spending the money they”re trying to spend up there. It”s impossible. Everything the government has ever been involved in has cost way more than the original projections,” said Dickerson.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.