An admitted flag lover, Jerry Thompson stood at Perrysburg’s Hood Park on Saturday with one of his favorites blowing in the wind: a white banner adorned with a simple pine tree and the words, “An appeal to heaven.”
While the flag was a replica of one commissioned by Gen. George Washington during the American Revolution, Mr. Thompson said that to him, it was an appropriate flag for the occasion — the annual Northwest Ohio Tax Day Tea Party Rally — and a “good flag for America” too.
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“I think this country ought to be praying more,” Mr. Thompson of Perrysburg said. “I feel like our First Amendment rights are being trampled on. I don’t care what religion you are, you have a right to it.”
The rally, under sunny skies for the first time in recent memory, attracted a slim crowd of about 50, and several of those were candidates for office.
John McAvoy, a board member for the Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition, attributed the modest attendance to the Easter holiday.
Brad Reynolds, president of the Maumee Republican Club, said the event also was not promoted as well as in past years. Still, he was there with his three young children.
“I think we all need more participants than spectators,” Mr. Reynolds said, explaining that he got involved with the local Republican Party after the 2008 elections, campaigning with local candidates in 2009.
Linda Bowyer, the coalition’s president, said it’s vital more people in the movement step up to run for office.
“That’s what we need to do. We need to be more involved,” she said.
Tea Partyer Scott Allegrini of Sylvania, who is challenging state Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township) in the May 6 GOP primary, told the group he got involved after Ms. Sears voted to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio with federal Affordable Care Act or Obamacare dollars.
He said he remembers the first Tea Party rally in downtown Toledo five years ago when no one was quite sure what their role was.
“Since that time we’ve really morphed into an activist group, into pushing for candidates, realizing we have to fight from the inside,” he said. “That we can’t just stand on corners and protest. That’s not going to get it done. We have to get involved in the nitty- gritty, the dirty business of politics.”
He said the T-E-A in Tea Party once stood for Taxed Enough Already.
“I think we need to change it from Taxed Enough Already to Totally Engaged Americans, and that’s what we need to become,” Mr. Allegrini said.
While the rally attracted an older crowd, 21-year-old Ron Johns gave an enthusiastic speech about “spirituality and taxation.”
Mr. Johns, president of University of Toledo Young Americans for Liberty, drew laughter and applause when talking about tithing.
“God only asks for 10 percent. Government asks for 30 percent,” he said. “So my question for the government is, why do they think they’re three times more valuable than God?”
Expressing a theme that many in the crowd agree with — less government, more liberty, lower taxation, lower spending — he said, “Complete opposites: God giveth and the government taketh away.”
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