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December 20, 2014

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ACTIVISM:

Many Tea Party attendees felt compelled to rally

Tea Party: "Showdown in Searchlight"

The Tea Party Express buses kicked off their latest national road trip Saturday with a rally in Sen. Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nev., which only has a population of 700. Sarah Palin gave the keynote address to the thousands who showed up for the "Showdown in Searchlight."

Showdown in Searchlight

Dressed in period costume, William Temple from Brunswick, Ga., calls for revolution at the Launch slideshow »

While fractious, the Tea Party movement is united by the overwhelming sense that government has overstepped its bounds, that President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress are marching the republic toward socialism.

It could become to the right what the Obama campaign was to the left, a galvanizing force for disaffected Americans who have traditionally avoided the grunt work of modern politics.

If the cars at Saturday’s rally were any indication, they span the socioeconomic spectrum, from the Lamborghini to the Yugo.

Many said their outrage over government spending had been building over the past decade and that the Obama administration’s efforts to prop up the economy and reform health care pushed them into activism. The name of one of the movement’s grass-roots groups in Nevada is telling: Anger is Brewing.

Richard Nixon’s “great silent majority” is speaking up, in a big way.

Below, Tea Partyers in their own words.

•••

Red Slover, a 63-year-old retired computer engineer, said he had never been politically active until he traveled from Riverside, Calif., to attend the rally.

“I figured it was time for this government to be by the people, of the people, for the people, instead of by itself, of itself, for itself. It’s time for the people to take this country back. If that means peaceful, civil unrest, I’m all for that too.”

•••

Kathleen Kendra, 60, a chiropractor from Riverside, said the administration and Congress are “railroading our citizens into socialism.”

Disgusted with both major political parties, Kendra joined with friends to revive the Whig Party in Riverside. The group elected officers in January and is fielding candidates in local races.

•••

Tony Camarco, a 58-year-old sales manager from Henderson, reveled in the atmosphere Saturday. “I missed Woodstock, so I figured I’d come here,” he said.

He said Congress and Sen. Harry Reid in particular had lost touch with the public. “I don’t feel Harry Reid represents me as an average American. I don’t know who Harry Reid thinks he’s representing. You don’t have a common-man Congress anymore. We need to vote these guys out.”

•••

Gloria Gunn, 76, a retired line-dance instructor, is new to politics. She and her husband drove from Utah on Friday. She held a homemade Sarah Palin sign:“She’s Alaska’s Real American Heroine.”

“All the Tea Parties have brought out the fervor I have felt for some time. They are an indication that our country is slipping away from us. We don’t want to be like Europeans. We’re Americans.”

•••

Kevin Benesch is a diesel mechanic from North Las Vegas. He got stuck in traffic, parked his car on U.S. 95 and walked for an hour to reach the rally.

“More and more people are waking up. This is to show we’re here and we’re not going away. If you don’t listen to us, we’re going to get bigger and bigger.”

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