On a day when the nearby Troy shopping malls were packed, Ruth Alderisio stood on a nearby sidewalk holding a sign urging the Democrats to take back their party from radicals.

"We came out so our voices can be heard," the Troy woman said. "So all the things we say in our living room can be heard by our policymakers."

Alderisio was one of about 300 people who showed up for a couple of hours in Troy in freezing temperatures to protest President Barack Obama's policies. The event was put on by the South East Michigan 9.12 Project group.

Some tea partiers held signs that urged motorists to honk, and a steady stream of cars did so throughout the demonstration.

But one motorist rolled down the window and yelled, "Racist teabaggers!" as his car slowed at a red light at the intersection.

"We love our country! Love it or leave it!" one female tea partier yelled.

"You have your rights," one male tea partier calmly replied. "We have ours."

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Darryl Duke of White Lake stood nearby with a bumper sticker on the back of his jacket that read, "I love my country but fear my government."

A man approached and asked where he got it. Duke said he makes them.

He said he didn't always feel that way about the government.

"I saw how our country was being taken over by socialists," Duke said. "I couldn't let it go. We want to make (people) aware of what is going on with our government. Our government is just out of control."

Peggy Miller of White Lake agreed that the tea party movement was growing as more people started to pay attention to the conservative grassroots movement.

"I've been coming to everything I can find," Miller said. "We can't stop. We have to win back our government."

Diane Chrzanowski of White Lake said rallies are opening the eyes of those who weren't paying attention to what was going on.

"There are still people who have their heads in the sand," Chrzanowski said. "The more they see regular people out here, they realize what they are hearing and being told in the press is not necessarily true. ... For the first time in my life, I'm frightened by what I see."