Abingdon Tea Party Snafu?

While I am hesitant to throw in completely with the Tea Party movement, as I fear that free market ideology may get muddled down in a great deal of populist rage, I am generally sympathetic to their goals. I am most certainly happy to see regular working people rising up against the often Byzantine and esoteric world of budgetary and tax policy. 

That’s why I’m concerned to see various local governments throwing up barriers to parties. First there was the case of Cape Coral, Florida, where it was initially reported that the city had shut down the party. Actually, the organizer could not afford liability insurance. While it can certainly be debated why and if local governments should require permits for rallies, fair is fair in this case and FreedomWorks stepped in to save the rally.

More troublesome is the actions of officials in the City of Burleson, Texas. In this case an unelected “street supervisor” attempted to have state officials intervene, as he did not feel the protest was “in the public interest.” Fortunately FreedomWorks intervened once again, and the rally is back on. 

Closer to home, organizers in Abingdon, a town of about 8,000 people, are experiencing their own logistical issues. Located in Washington County, which was the first place to be named after General Washington in the United States, and founded in 1776, one would think that the town would be more than supportive of individuals gathering to support individual rights and limited government. Indeed, the group planned to gather on the same ground that the brave Overmountain Men, Scots-Irish from the region, gathered nearly 229 years ago for the long slog to Kings Mountain, South Carolina, a battle which many historians consider to be a turning point in the Revolutionary War. However, it appears that the town has thrown some roadblocks in their way. From Tertium Quids:

Here’s a note from the event’s organizer, Ted Dingler, on the group’s Facebook page:

The town of Abingdon has denied us the use of the muster site as well as all town owned property. We are currently working on a substitute site as well as several other options. Rest assured, there will be a tea party somewhere in the Abingdon, VA area.

Now, the comments on the TQ post make it unclear what exactly the town’s position is exactly….some of the commentators indicate that the mustering grounds are rather fragile to begin with, and even moreso after recent weather events. Additionally, they claim that the number of public areas are limited. However, the town has a population of nearly 8,000 people….surely there is some public area that could be utilized? As it stands, the organizers indicate that ALL areas have been made off limits to the group. 

While different approaches abound (some supporters believe they should protest anyways in defiance of permit law), what is needed now is answers. All we have at the current time is information from the former mayor via a third party. This is not sufficient. If you are interested in answers, TQ has the contact information. 

We’ll keep you updated on the Tea Party protests as they occur and if any run into legal roadblocks. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend one, but as Norm points out, it is on the same day as that holiest of all political days in Virginia, the Shad Planking. Norm has clearly made his choice:

So you have a choice that day…

Either pay $25 to huddle in the woods with a plate of inedible fish and a gaggle of hacks, or stand up against rapacious government in the town nearest you (for free) with thousands of average folks just like you.

Not much of a choice, really. At least not for those who’ve been paying attention.

  1. April 4, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Less than two weeks to go… You need to order your Tea Party shirts now!!!

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