September 17, 2009
4 local men among throng of protestors at D.C. freedom rally
For Cliff and David Norte and Tanner and Jim Williams, it wasn’t about party politics — just a way to voice their concerns about government policy.
The four men were among tens of thousands of people who packed Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., Saturday for a rally to argue against President Barack Obama’s health care reform and other federal government spending policies.
“We got to do one of the most important things I’ve ever done,” McLean resident David Norte said.
The experience was especially interesting to 18-year-old Tanner Williams, who said his Groton High School classmates are often critical of his conservative viewpoints.
“If something political comes up (in class) I hear moans and groans in the back from other students,” he said. “When I went down there, I wasn’t as ‘crazy’ anymore.”
Williams and Jim, his father, live in Groton. David Norte is Cliff Norte’s nephew.
While most in the crowd were fellow conservatives, David Norte, 37, said there were many people of other party affiliations at the rally.
The Nortes and Williams said that from their standpoint, the rally’s objective was to argue for reducing the power and size of the federal government.
“We don’t believe in spending money you don’t have,” Cliff Norte said.
Attending the rally was a spur-of-the-moment decision, he said. They drove to Washington Friday afternoon, stayed overnight and went to the rally the next morning. From what they could tell, there was no formal organization to how the rally worked.
The rally was organized by a small-government organization called Freedomworks.
By about 9:30 a.m., droves of people numbering in the tens of thousands were gathered outside Freedom Plaza, many of whom held signs protesting various government spending policies and health care issues.
Other issues, including abortion, were raised at the rally.
Several speakers addressed the crowd about those issues.
“Even though it was a very peaceful protest, it showed officials they (the people) were very upset with the state of the country,” Cliff Norte said.
The men said they disagree with Obama’s recent health care proposal for a nationalized system.
“There’s problems with the health care system, but turning it over to the government is a bad idea,” Cliff Norte said.
The men supported their stance on stricter control of government from their perspectives as self-employed and independent business owners.
Cliff Norte is a farmer who also does remodeling work. David Norte owns a carpet cleaning business.
“If I do a poor job, what right do I have to go to the government and ask for help, for them to give me money?” David Norte said.
Williams and Norte were disappointed more news media networks did not cover the rally.
“At first coverage was ignored, or it was insignificant, or we were all racists,” said Jim Williams.
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