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Washington, D.C. — The tea party deniers who wanted to see the radicals go home after the April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties were surely disappointed to see those same activists stay involved with the freedom movement—and joined by a growing number of new voices for economic liberty. Far from a flash in the pan effort, the out of control spending and unprecedented growth of government over the past year has yanked thousands of people off their couches and into the streets to oppose a phalanx of bad policies emanating from Capitol Hill. FreedomWorks has been working hard to equip these newly minted activists with good information, plug them into existing networks of seasoned members, and turn this fresh energy toward effective advocacy.
And not a moment too soon—it’s no secret that President Obama’s campaign is still hard at work post-election promoting his socialized medicine agenda. Organizing for America has full time staff in 32 states with plans for all 50 by the end of the summer—in time for big votes on healthcare, cap and trade, and the budget. Healthcare for America Now, a coalition of more than 1,000 progressive and labor groups that has nearly $50 million at their disposal, is actively organizing and running television and print ads. MoveOn.org has also engaged their 5 million online members to ram government run healthcare legislation through the House and Senate.
Taking advantage of the July 4 recess, when congressmen are home in their districts, FreedomWorks prepared to go toe to toe with the leftist machine. June 24 FreedomWorks launched a second wave of attack on ObamaCare, following the success of the Memorial Day Call to Action. Members were sent to a special website where they could find all the tools they needed to organize their neighbors and make their legislators take a stand on health care reform.
Over the next few days 527 people downloaded the Health Care Action Kit that contained talking points, petitions, a spoof ObamaCare Insurance Cards, and most importantly three tough questions for legislators to answer when activists called, visited, or spoke to them at a town hall meetings. Legislators were put on the record with these three questions that cut through the spin to the core of the healthcare reform debate: 1. Do you support middleclass tax hikes to fund government-run health care? If not, how would you pay for it? 2. Under Obama’s plan, can you guarantee that I would get to keep my current healthcare plan and doctor? 3. Can you guarantee that a new government plan will not deny care to individuals in order to control costs?
Activists were also encouraged to attend local July 4 tea parties armed with handouts and petitions. In addition to dozens of boxes shipped to tea parties around the country, 839 people downloaded healthcare petitions and 536 printed off ObamaCare insurance cards to distribute.
Even before July 4 rolled around, FreedomWorks Florida members celebrated early, on July 2nd, the date the Continental Congress voted for independence. Groups gathered throughout the state outside every congressional district office to oppose government-run health care.
Two days later a whopping 578,000 people showed up at over 800 tea parties around the country where, along with spending and taxation, the looming health care bill was on every mind. FreedomWorks staff spoke at tea parties in D.C. and Boston and members attended or organized their own elsewhere around the country. Like before, FreedomWorks helped spread the word providing a map of events that received 1.77 million views. Insurance cards and petitions were distributed at many events, along with hundreds of invitations to the national taxpayer march on September 12.
FreedomWorks’ efforts and the September 12 event were mentioned in many papers and news outlets including Human Events, Roll Call, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, CBS Evening News, and even CNN, which broadcasted live from the D.C. tea party.
Almost daily since July 4 petitions with hundreds of signatures have poured back into FreedomWorks headquarters in D.C., many from key states like Louisiana, Nevada, Missouri, and Florida. FreedomWorks immediately began delivering petitions to Hill offices in person, using the opportunity to again try to nail down where legislators stood on healthcare reform.
Less than a week after over half a million people turned out for July 4 events, activists once again took to the streets, this time to literally go toe to toe with the MoveOn.org and ACORN hydra. In Fort Myers, Florida, 40 showed up to counter demonstrate on behalf of free markets and more choice outside Senator Martinez’s district office.
The scene was repeated on Long Island outside Senator Schumer’s office. And in Greensboro, N.C. 55 activists took on MoveOn and company outside Senator Kay Hagan’s office. Long-time FreedomWorks activist Linda Jolly was spat upon by the opposition, others threatened FreedomWorks organizer Joyce Krawiec using profanity, one used his sign to physically provoke FreedomWorks activists trying to engage a fight, and another claimed the group was trespassing.
Clearly undaunted, the FreedomWorks North Carolina made plans to show up the next week on July 17 with over 200 activists outside Rep. Heath Shuler’s office as part of a nationwide effort coordinated with FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots to have activists outside every congressional district office in the nation to oppose ObamaCare.
It’s clear that far from growing tired and going home, the tea party movement is growing with every bad decision made on the Hill. People who once supported the president are now calling to ask for help opposing the policies that are driving us further into debt. September 12 won’t be the culmination of the tea parties, but the beginning of an enduring, more powerful force for less government and more freedom.