Well, this was definitely an interesting exercise in airing our grievances for redress. And let me warn you: there’s a LOT of pictures which go with this post. Let’s start with this one.
As was the case last year, a number of speakers took the podium. Unlike last year, they weren’t being rained upon. It started with ten of us reading the ten amendments of the Bill of Rights (I read the Ninth Amendment) and one of our featured speakers, author and internet radio host Dr. Gianni Hayes.
Speaking early because she had another commitment, Hayes went on at some length about the “new world order” and lack of assimilation from today’s immigrants. As a first-generation American herself she proclaimed, “to be American you must be assimilated,” otherwise “we are losing our identity.”
After a short pause to bring us up to the 5:00 hour and formal beginning to the program, Joe Collins led off and served as a master of ceremonies.
Collins cautioned infiltrators to “free your mind…be not wicked on this day.” He equated control with votes, but more importantly compared the deregulation of health insurance with the deregulation of airlines, including the example of Salisbury being a small market whereas larger airports provide more choice due to their larger market.
He was followed by a number of other scheduled speakers, including event organizer Chris Lewis and Joe’s AFP cohort Julie Brewington.
Conveniently, Julie posted her remarks on her website.
Other speakers included Dr. Greg Belcher on taxes, Dave Parker of the local GOP on their relationship with the TEA Party, and author Patrick Samuels, who noted, “if we’re going to put the genie back in the bottle we need to stop wishing to it.” Dustin Mills also spoke about being an educator and political activist, as you’ll note on his shirt.
Surprisingly, there was a media presence at the event. Channel 16’s Ko Im arrived early on to get some still shots for voiceover and a soundbite or two.
Like sharks to chum, the media flocks to any controversy. Let’s tell the tale of local radio host Matt Walsh.
Things went along all right until he told the crowd “don’t vote Republican” and lashed out at Sarah Palin.
After a verbal volley where an observer called Walsh a “young punk” and Walsh retorted that the man was a “senile old fart” there was no question Matt would be the center of media attention, like a Daily Times reporter.
While Walsh may have a point, the stunt seemed more to attract attention to his radio show than to contribute to the dialogue.
Of course, a number of local and state political campaigns had a presence too. People advocating votes for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge, Congressional hopeful Andy Harris, and State Senate hopeful Michael James circulated through the crowd.
Another minor controversy erupted over this table, as the TEA Party wanted to maintain a neutral tone. But the table was allowed to stay as anyone who wanted to be civil regardless of political affiliation was welcome.
Frankly, I found the attendance disappointing because I expected a crowd about 3 times as large. The final pictures are a view from the back I took a little after 6:00 and four panoramic pictures taken at around 3:20, 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30.
My thought on the TEA Party movement is that perhaps it’s beginning to be a little more celebrity-drawn. Other TEA Parties with “name” speakers did well yesterday while this one didn’t have that same attraction. Also, there’s competition from surrounding areas such as Ocean City, who will have its event Saturday.
I spoke at the event as part of the “open mike.” Tomorrow I’ll post my remarks for all to read.