Tea partiers hold Tax Day protest in Marion

By Carly O'Keefe

MARION, IL (KFVS) - More than 560 Tea Partiers joined together in Marion Thursday to send a message to Washington.

"We're reaching out to Democrats and Republicans to let them know we want to move in a more conservative direction," said Tea Party organizer Pam Ward.

"We're not happy with the way things are going; the way they're wasting our money and taking our liberties and freedoms away. We'd like to do something, peacefully," said Tea Party attendee Joe Foster of Harrisburg.

So who are the tea partiers?

"We're not radicals, we're just good, honest hard working people," said Foster.

According to a new CBS/New York Times poll, 18 percent of Americans now say they identify with the Tea Party movement. They tend to be wealthier and well-educated than the general public; tend to be Republican, white, male, and married. The poll also found their opposition to the Obama Administration is based more on political ideology than anxiety about their own economic well-being.

"Of the people who identify with the Tea Party movement, 64 percent of them thing President Obama has increased their taxes this year. When in fact, taxes have gone down for 98 percent of Americans," said Political Science Professor John Jackson of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. "So what are they so mad about?"

Jackson says organized public dissent is nothing new to American politics, but the demographic leading the protest may be a bit different this time around.

"I'm a product of the 60's where there were a lot of angry people. They tended to be on the left, anti-war demonstrators in the streets mad and shouting, that's part of the process," Jackson said.

It's a process Tea Partiers plan to continue through November.  Local organizers say the Tax Day event was the first in a line of tea party "Remember in November" events leading up to the mid-term election.

"It's like the pen is mightier than the sword. When we go to the ballot boxes next time, if you don't stop the wasteful spending, we're gonna resolve that problem for you," said Foster.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.