The organizers of Operation American Spring don’t really expect their demonstration to dislodge some of the nation’s top elected officials.
At least, not right away.
“When a large chunk of the populace is saying you’re not getting the job done and you have to step down, the House and the Senate have to elect new leadership, that should send a message,” said Alex Coffey, who identified himself as marketing director for the group but insisted he was just a “foot soldier.”
The organization plans to launch a sustained, Occupy Wall Street-style demonstration Friday in Washington, D.C., to voice their concerns about the direction of the country and its leadership.
“We’re not trying to overthrow anything, we’re just saying ‘we the people’ should have the ability to address our grievances,” Coffey told The Raw Story.
However, group members have been asking their representatives to draft articles of impeachment based on alleged wrongdoing by Obama in Benghazi, modifications made without congressional approval to the Affordable Care Act, and IRS targeting of conservative groups.
“Without a doubt, that’s a must,” Coffey said of impeachment. “We’re not going to go out there and shove him out of office, that’s silliness.”
Over the long term, Coffey said, the group anticipates the “incremental nullification” over the next five years by state legislatures of all federally imposed taxes, and some members are urging their state lawmakers to call a convention of the states to amend the Constitution.
“I look at my oath of enlistment – there’s no expiration date on that,” said Coffey, a 15-year military veteran who now works as an information technology contractor for the Department of Defense.
Group members have claimed anywhere from 10 million to 30 million people will show up in the capital to demand the removal of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and Reps. John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi.
The protest is named and patterned after the “Arab Spring” uprising that overturned the Egyptian government.
“Operation American Spring is like a firewall to stop the noise and slow things down, like a corporation bringing in a new CEO for a change of direction,” Coffey said.
Where similar protests intended to drive Obama from office ended the same day they began, Operation American Spring expects many participants to stick around until their presence is noticed.
“If somehow, with the snap of a finger, these knuckleheads in Congress started caring about the American people, people would see that and businesses would see that, and the economy would turn around,” Coffey said.
Coffey recognizes 10 million participants would be a “lofty goal,” but he said the figure was based on the unverified estimate that 3 percent of Americans participated in the Revolutionary War and also inspired the name of an anti-government extremist group that would refuse to voluntarily disarm.
Operation American Spring organizers, however, insist participants disarm before coming to Washington, which bars the possession of firearms in public.
“The Communist forces that control Washington DC do not recognize the 2nd Amendment and have banned all weapons and ammunition from the district,” the group says in its rules of engagement. “Do not give them the opportunity to arrest you and prosecute you. Leave your guns and ammo within the safe proximity of a free state. When the government is changed constitutionally so will the laws in Washington DC.”
The group instead urges participants to carry Bibles and copies of the Constitution, although the rules of engagement twice mention that protesters may defend themselves.
“Of course your 2nd Amendment Rights are God given and no man can disarm you but at this point we must follow the rules laid out by the Communists until we vote them out of office,” the rules state. “You do have a right to self defense.”
Coffey said he flatly denied a request by one group from out west that wanted to march into Washington carrying firearms, and he advocated revisions to the rules of engagement to de-emphasize the right to self defense.
“But hey, you’re not going to be sheeple and get run over,” he said. “You have a right to protect yourself, just not with weapons.”
Groups from California, Florida, and South Carolina have already arrived in northern Virginia, Coffey said, and some of their members attended his local chapter’s weekly meeting Wednesday night to discuss escape routes in case of trouble during the demonstration.
“We fully expect there to be agitators, you know, starting trouble,” Coffey said.
He said he’s met with members of Occupy Wall Street, as well as the Anonymous hacktivist group, and found they shared common concerns – particularly the government-backed bailout of banks deemed “too big to fail.”
“I lean conservative, but I’m not so brainwashed not to see the other side has good ideas,” said Coffey, who conceded he wouldn’t budge in his opposition to abortion. “I won’t compromise on that, but there are a lot of areas I can see the other side of and find common ground.”
In particular, he said his Christian faith encouraged him to support a stronger safety net for the most vulnerable Americans.
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