Karen Steelmon used to shun demonstrations, which she called the “lazy person’s way” of being politically mobilized.
That changed on April 15, 2009, she said, when the Tea Party movement garnered national prominence.
Steelmon, who said she had been involved in the political process for many years before the movement, remembers the 2009 Tax Day rally at Sunset Park.
Thousands of people from “all walks of life” were “pissed” about the direction the federal government was heading, she said. “People are finally going to get up and get involved and do something about the country that they live in,” she remembers telling herself.
The sentiment of disillusion remained with her Saturday afternoon in front of the Lloyd George U.S. Federal Courthouse. However, only four people showed for the “Constitution Support Rally.”
But what the four demonstrators lacked in numbers, they made up in enthusiasm.
The group wanted the public to know that “we’re not happy with the federal government thinking that the land belongs to them,” said Steelmon, a member of the Las Vegas Tea Party.
She was referring to disputes such as the one between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over his refusal to pay more than $1 million in grazing fees, and a standoff in Oregon that involves a group led by Bundy’s son Ammon Bundy. That group is now occupying a federal wildlife refuge.
“Nothing in the United States of American belongs to the federal government without our consent,” she said.
A man gripped an American flag, and other demonstrators held signs reading “Restore the Land to the People” and “Nevada Belongs to Nevadans.”
Demonstrators were calm and polite as they talked with each other and with reporters.
Asked why only four people showed at the rally, Steelmon quipped, “We were expecting four—we have 100 percent success.”
National groups decided on nationwide demonstrations Saturday, she said.
The interest for the Las Vegas rally was substantial, Steelmon said, but the group had only eight days to organize and “people are busy.”
Information wasn’t immediately available about turnout in other cities.
Apathy from Americans is what scares Steelmon the most, she said.
“We the people have sat back and watched our ‘I Love Lucy’ for 50 years and let the children run amok and the government is out of control now.”
She paused before continuing, “Not completely. We still have the power.”
Contact Ricardo Torres at email@example.com and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites.