Perpetual precipitation did not stop hundreds of tea party protesters from gathering at the intersection of North 4th and Pine Street on Thursday.
Sterling Hilliard, senior business management major from Midland, and Eric Emerson, class of ’09, stayed out of the rain but focused on the speaker’s words. Hilliard said he follows politics more now than ever and heard about the protest through Twitter.
“Since the health care bill, I keep hearing about it in the news and through word-of-mouth. It makes you want to know what’s going on,” Hilliard said.
Dozens of signs proclaimed their bearers’ dissatisfaction with the Obama administration and its recent decisions. Jansen Yarbrough, 26, held a sign with a single word in bold, capital letters: SECEDE.
“I think that’s the only thing to do at this point,” he said. “People don’t want to take care of themselves, and I’m sick of taking care of them.”
Yarbrough attended Thursday’s demonstration despite jeers and jokes from coworkers.
“A lot of people laughed at me when I said I was coming, but I told them, ‘What else are you going to do?’ At least I’m doing something,” Yarbrough said.
Jon Dickenson, 75, recently had surgery on her right hand and wore an intricate splint to prove it. Dickenson relies on Medicare and said the health care bill prevents doctors from ordering extensive therapy – therapy she said is essential and impossible for the average citizen to afford. Although Dickenson is worried about the future of the country, Thursday’s crowd comforted her.
“You know there are other people who feel the exact same way, and when you find those people, it’s encouraging,” she said. “When [President Obama] gets through plowing and leaves this pile of dirt, there will be remnants – citizens, like us, who will band together.”