‘Tea Party Express’ brings Palin to Boston Common

Article by Jeff Fish

The Boston Common was teaming with Tea Party spirit this morning as thousands gathered to see former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin speak for a political movement that has gained popularity and influence since the first wave of Tea Parties only one year ago.

The event was the latest stop in the movement’s cross-country “Tea Party Express” tour, which will end in Washington D.C. tomorrow—tax day. Palin, a polarizing political figure, elicited both support from Tea Partiers and opposition from many others in attendance, who were holding signs that said things like “If she only had a brain.”

A group of Suffolk students had one of their signs taken away by someone running the event. The woman who took the sign, which said “stop talking that blah blah blah,” told the student holding the sign that because the Tea Party had obtained a permit to hold the event, protesters had to hold their signs outside of the designated area. The girl who was holding the sign, freshman Danielle Vassilladis, said, “When we got here, nobody told us that we weren’t supposed to be here. If someone had told me, I would’ve moved.”

Vassilladis was also asked by a Tea Partier if she supported Muslims because of a scarf that she was wearing that she got from a Muslim American museum.

Sophomore Garrett Saparnis, who made the sign, said, “I thought [the event] was cool. We were right in the middle of it.”

“We got a lot of retaliation,” he added, saying that Tea Partiers kept trying to cover up the protest signs with American flags and “Don’t tread on me” flags.

Palin’s speech lasted about a half hour and she began by saluting the veterans in attendance. She also mentioned that her husband Todd was there. “As the former ‘first dude’ of Alaska, he had to go to tea parties with the first ladies [of other governors] of the nation. I asked him, ‘Is this good enough for you?’” she said, gesturing to the cheering crowd.

Palin also tipped her hat to the newly elected Massachusetts Senator, Scott Brown, who “shook up the U.S. Senate.”

Brown declined an invitation to the event, but Michael Graham, a talk radio personality from 96.9 FM which broadcast the event live, gave him a pass on the event, saying that he was doing his job in Washington.

“This is the people’s movement!” said Palin, striking a chord with Tea Partiers who feel they’ve been “Taxed Enough Already,” and oppose big government. “Come November, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda is over! From now on when they say ‘Yes we can,’ we’ll say ‘Oh no I don’t.’”

She called the health care bill “the mother of all unfunded mandates. There is no way to pay for any of this except raising taxes. [It’s] stealing opportunity from this land of opportunity and we’re not gonna stand for it any longer!”

Despite the current state of the economy, Palin is not worried about the future because she has “had the privilege of talking to great Americans” who “get it.” She added that there are a “lot of common sense conservative candidates ready to put it on the line.”

Palin briefly spoke about offshore drilling and chanted, “Drill baby drill!” to which a protester responded, “Let’s destroy our planet,” which Palin most likely did not hear coming from the sea of people. She went to say that God created resources for our use.

Toward the end of her speech, Palin said, “Freedom is a God-given right and worth fighting for!”

A good portion of the crowd left after the conclusion of Palin’s speech, although more speakers were lined up. Along with cheering from the Tea Partiers, the speech was peppered with retorts like “separation of church and state!” and “Tina!” referring to Tina Fey’s now infamous portrayal of Palin on Saturday Night Live.