Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nashville protesters blast health-care reform during patriotic rally

By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • September 13, 2009 Organizers called their event at Legislative Plaza on Saturday a patriotic celebration. It wasn't a tea party, they said. "Our goal was to get the patriotic spirit back to where it was in the days that followed September 11, 2001," said Jeff Senters, treasurer of the Descendents of Liberty. "We can get back to where we were if we can put our differences aside and work together." About 700 people showed up for the celebration, coming and going during the four-hour event. Many held signs that proclaimed disgust with politicians and the president's health-care proposals. Some waved American flags. Others brought lawn chairs and kicked back, enjoying the music and the speeches by retired soldiers. Senters, who served as master of ceremonies, said his group presented plaques honoring local police, firefighters and National Guard troops for their service to the community. The Descendents of Liberty had been planning the Nashville event for about four months, Senters said. "We were a little disappointed with the turnout," Senters said. "We were expecting a larger crowd because the event is on a Saturday, but we're happy with those who came." For Sharon George, a West End resident who's lived in Nashville for 37 years, the event was a way to show lawmakers that citizens are fed up with being ignored. "I think people are frustrated," George said. "Surely our elected officials can see that. Not since the Vietnam era have crowds gathered like this." 'Too much control' George said she was also frustrated with the president. "I'm afraid of President Barack Obama's promise to change this nation," she said. "He spends money that we don't have to pursue this change when there's nothing wrong with our nation. "He's never said anything good about this country. It's always, 'We got to change this and we got to change that.' " Roy Poston, of East Nashville, took notice of the people holding signs. "Even when nobody is looking and even in the hot sun, they are that passionate about their feelings to stand out and display them," he said. Poston said he agreed with most of the signs. "I think there is much government control in our lives, and I think the government charges us for that control," he said. He added: "I think people have had enough, and it's more than just health care at this point. I don't want anything to happen to President Obama. I want him to be there to take all the blame."

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