This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published June 19, 2013 on the Tea Party Unity website.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2013) – At an “Audit the IRS” rally staged today in front of the U.S. Capitol, Glenn Beck told a crowd of about 10,000 to draw on their faith for courage in opposing tyrannical government.
My wife and I attended the event, which was held under cloudy skies on the lawn facing the mall.
“Stare down the bullies with the full armor of God,” Beck said to enthusiastic applause at the event, which was sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and emceed by Jenny Beth Martin.
“The Constitution is designed to constrain the government,” Martin told the crowd, as reported by CBN. “This knowledge in the hands of free people is a threat to those who lust for power and authority.”
Rejecting media myths about the Tea Party as hateful toward minorities and immigrants, Beck quoted Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass and other civil rights leaders in proclaiming that the Tea Party is the natural outgrowth of the civil rights movement, not the left-wing groups that have hijacked it to create dependency on government.
The crowd, which occupied nearly all of the lawn directly in front of the Capitol, was festooned with yellow Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and signs such as “Abolish the IRS–Now” and a photo of President Obama touched up to make him look like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. (“What? Me Worry?”) Neuman. The sign said, “IRS? It’s the Chicago Way.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who had delivered a 13-hour, old-fashioned filibuster on March 6 demanding that the Obama Administration vow they won’t use drones in the United States to kill noncombatants, got a thunderous welcome.
Mr. Paul joked that he had borrowed a cell phone from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and that the National Security Agency, which is at the heart of the scandal involving government agencies obtaining information on more than 100 million Americans, was probably surprised when they saw it turn up–at a Tea Party rally. Mr. Reid at one time had famously referred to Tea Party members as “evil mongers.”
Mr. Paul drew applause when he declared, “Anybody want to fire some IRS agents? Why don’t we start with the 16,000 IRS agents that are going to implement Obamacare?”
CNN reported that, “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gained big applause when he declared that the IRS needs to be abolished. ‘And I’ve got a second idea: We need to take every one of those IRS agents and put them on our southern border,’ he said, drawing laughs.
‘Now that’s mostly a joke,’ he continued. ‘But I got to admit that if you were coming over illegally and you crossed the river and saw an army of IRS agents, you’d turn around and go home.'”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), referring to the establishment of the income tax in 1913, said, “Don’t you think that a century of oppression is enough?”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), another Tea Party favorite who released a book this week, Why John Roberts Was Wrong about Healthcare: A Conservative Critique of the Supreme Court’s Ruling, predicted that Americans “won’t tolerate” what is about to happen to them under the Affordable Care Act. He criticized Congress for passing a law that they “didn’t read,” and the Supreme Court for “rewriting the law twice” to make it constitutional.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) warned about the net effect of the government’s unprecedented information gathering.
“And if this broad federal government can track every phone call, if they can track every Internet activity you have, if they can track your credit card, if they can track your cell phone, and if the IRS can then have a software package to focus their enforcement on the enemies of the president of the United States, this big brother has gotten a lot creepier than George Orwell ever thought it would get,” King said to applause.
Other speakers included Media Research Center founder L. Brent Bozell III, who led the crowd in chanting, “Fire Eric Holder!”
U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) got a laugh when he said that IRS stands for “It’s Really Sickening.”