"'Hope and Change' is just another metaphor used to swindle the American people," said Gragg, a Ron Paul and tea party enthusiast. "At its core the Obama promise of hope and change is all hypocrisy.
"We're outraged with Washington and both parties," said Gragg, a laid-off aircraft cabinet installer. "We are mostly conservatives, but not necessarily Republicans. We are all born-again Americans."
Gragg said he is one of those people — criticized by some tea party members — who thinks the investigation of the 9/11 attacks should be reopened.
"I'm not saying the government was involved,'' he said. "I'm saying I don't know, but that we ought to take another look at it."
Most of his anger at the government is about taxes and spending. Far too many people, Gragg said, are paying 50 percent or more of their income in taxes.
"God himself only requires 10 percent," he said.
Ciboski is a political science professor at Wichita State University, quoted often in the local media for his perspective on political movements. He has watched the local tea party with interest.
"I think the movement got started in part because people feel disenfranchised,'' said Ciboski, a Republican. "Washington wasn't paying any attention to what people want in health care, and people did not like that. They were feeling like Washington had developed a certain arrogance: 'We know what's good for you, accept it for your own good.'
"A lot of it started off because of the economic packages Obama was pushing... a lot of people think those policies are driving us toward bankruptcy."
Most of the enthusiasm in the tea party looks like healthy criticism of the government, Ciboski said. But there are some ideas among some of the tea party adherents that make him uneasy.
At one recent gathering Ciboski attended in Wichita, there were people asking others to stand and swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution.
"I wasn't sure how to interpret that," he said.
"The tea party movement is not an angry movement. We're not mean and mad, we're just mad."
Heflin, an engineer, was laid off from Cessna Aircraft a year ago in January. He is married to a physician. The two of them, he said, were paying enormous amounts in taxes.
His enthusiasm for the tea party is not all about Obama, though. And it's not about how much he personally has paid in taxes. It's about how taxes have driven companies out of business, or tempted them to move factories overseas.
"We only have one life," he said. "Taking a dollar from any one of us is taking part of our life away, it amounts to taking away our right to live.
"Beyond that, the bigger the debt we build up, the more someone will have to pay someday.
"We like the president as a person," he said. "But his philosophy is wrong."
It wasn't just the tea party criticism of Republicans that got their attention, said Arnold, a tea party enthusiast who is also the GOP's chairman in Sedgwick County.
"It was the last two national elections in which Republicans got voted out."
Defeat revitalized the GOP, he said. So will the tea party.
"You go back to the election of 2006, the Republicans were in charge, yet budgets kept growing and growing. They got too entrenched, they forgot who they represented.
"The tea party has got the right message about holding people accountable, about reminding them who they represent.
"They want the same thing Republicans now want. They want smaller government, a back-to-basics approach. They want reduced spending. They want their freedoms back in the sense that they want to reduce the regulations and bureaucracy that has dampened the entrepreneurial spirit."
"What happened in the election a year ago was that Republicans voted, by and large, by staying home. They gave the election away."
Townson is retired from the postal service.
"The last election scared me,'' he said. "I'm worried, not only about my own future but about my children, my grandchildren. We've got to get people in office who will fight against some of the agendas prevalent with the current administration."
The tea party has been "a bulls-eye" for critics, he said, in part because of the minority number of members who are what he called "goofs, especially those who say that 9/11 was an inside job."
"It's stupid to make comments like that; it demeans our entire way of life."
Most of the tea partiers in Wichita have concerns more elevated than that, he said — high taxes and government arrogance being at the top of their lists.
"I don't want to overthrow anything. I love my country. I love my family. I hope that both of them will be able to survive."