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New Boston tea party: Sarah Palin leads defensive, defiant crowd

Sarah Palin headlined the Boston 'tea party' Wednesday, where the rallying cry was once again 'taxation without representation.' Attendees wanted to rein in politicians and combat the stereotype that tea partyers are radical and racist.

By Correspondent / April 14, 2010

The Tea Party Express ended its cross-country tour in Boston where thousands rallied on Boston Common. Sarah Palin was a guest speaker. The populist tea party movement promotes fiscal conservatism.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor



The symbolism of the last stop on the Tea Party Express tour was not lost on the crowd or on Sarah Palin Wednesday morning not far from the original site of the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre.

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Boston, if anyone knows how to throw a tea party, it is you,” she shouted to an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand.

For many of the several thousand who came, the event represents a fight for control of their destiny, as was the first Boston Tea party.

“We want to take back what’s ours,” said Karen Gareau, a dental hygienist from neighboring Rhode Island. “Politicians used to work for the people, now it seems we work for politicians. They’re not even listening to us and yet we have to pay these taxes. It’s taxation without representation.”

It has nothing to do with being racist or an angry mob, as some critics have charged, said Scott Hennessey who works in law enforcement on Cape Cod. He took the day off with a friend from work and his friend’s father. All three have served in the military in wartime.

“I’m not here because I’m angry, I’m here because I’m concerned,” he emphasized.

Placards that portrayed otherwise at other rallies did not represent the true feeling of tea partyers, many in the crowd agreed, and there seemed to be a particular effort to present a more moderate image.

Unlike earlier tea party events, signs insulting President Obama personally were not in sight. (A few showed the Obama campaign symbol with a hammer and sickle imposed over it.)

Instead, signs read “Mister Obama, it’s the politics, not the person” and “I’m a realist, not a racist.” Yellow “don’t tread on me flags” and American flags were selling for $5. People were wearing everything from tie-dye to military fatigues to suits, and some had donned three-corner hats.

Boston's tea partyers: Who were they?

Like most tea party event goers, Boston’s were mainly white – with one notable exception.

Lloyd Marcus, a performer and author of “Confessions of a Black Conservative” is traveling on his third national Tea Party Express tour. He took the stage to sing, “So when they call you a racist because you disagree, it’s just another one of their dirty tricks to silence you and me. I believe in the Constitution and all it stands for and anyone who tramples it should be booted out the door.”

“Are you a racist, angry, violent mob?” he asked the crowd. “No!” people shouted back.

It’s a point others in the tea party movement have tried to emphasize.

“I think it’s just ludicrous that people think this group is racist,” says Brendan Steinhauser, campaign director for the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks and author of “The Conservative Revolution.”