Maggie Silva of Shippensburg, Pa. said her family moved from Cuba to the United States in 1950, and she supports the Tea Party because she does not want the United States to end up like her home country.
“My father was born in Spain, and he lost it to communism. I was born in Cuba because he emigrated, and we lost Cuba in 1958,” she said. “Now we live in the United States, and I don’t want to lose it.”
Silva, 80, joined the Tea Party contingent from Hagerstown Tuesday in traveling toWashington, D.C., to join the Hands Off Our Healthcare Rally held by Americans For Prosperity on Capitol Hill.
She said that the health care bill signed into law by President Obama in 2010 has been part of a trend of the federal government overstepping its boundaries.
“The government is intruding in private lives,” she said. “ I took care of my health, so why should we have to take care of people who don’t want to take care of themselves?”
The rally comes the same week that theU.S. Supreme Courtis hearing a lawsuit against the health care law.
Williamsport resident Richard Baumgartner, 76, also said he went to the rally because he feels like the country is losing many of its freedoms.
“I feel sorry in my heart for what’s happened overall within our country,” he said. “I’m here so it’ll be possible for my children and grandchildren to retire.”
The protests center around the individual mandate and whether the federal government can mandate that every person purchase health care, according to the Americans for Prosperity website, http://americansforprosperity.org.
Lynda Evans, vice president of the Hagerstown Chapter of the TEA Party, said because of that mandate, the law is unconstitutional.
“Telling us to buy health insurance is not constitutional,” she said. “The federal government cannot tell us that we have to buy something.”
Evans said she wants candidates running for office to know that many people still do not support the law.
“Obviously, the Supreme Court is not going to see us out there, but our presence is there, and Congress will see us,” she said. “Not only is this law unconstitutional, but we just cannot afford it.”
Michele Jansen of Chambersburg, Pa., said the purpose of the rally was not to influence the Supreme Court, but to point out why it is unconstitutional.
“We’re not going down to persuade the court, but they should be following the Constitution,” she said.
Jansen, 46, said that the Supreme Court should rule the law unconstitutional regardless of how many people support it.
“Even if 100 percent of the country wanted this, it’s not constitutional and should not exist in our country,” she said. “We are a constitutional republic.”
The Tea Party members met in the Valley Mall Parking lot between the Macy’s and the Golden Corral restaurant and left on a bus at around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.