Tea Parties are so unlike what the liberal media portray. YES the crowds are angry and want to take back the country but its not the kind of anger or hatred that one needs to be fearful of.
I encouraged my friend to bring his children with him to the National Tea Party in Berea last Sunday so they could witness history but his wife was concerned if their kids would be safe. For the same reason I couldn't even begin to sway a few other friends. They think Tea Parties are attended by nothing but dangerous right wing wacko's. They base all their opinions on listening to the media or a photo of a sign rather than attend one of these meetings to find out for themselves how safe, patriotic and friendly they are. These same people vote without taking the time to see the other side, how can they make an informative decision?
Tea Party One - National Tea Party in Berea.
The set up:
It was an event that I wish my family and more of my friends would of attended. The weather threatened with rain early on but then cleared and was near perfect. I drove the GoGo Bus. The parking staff gave me carte blanche treatment and had me park it right in front of the entrance.
Our enthusiasm and excitement was high not knowing what to expect and how big of a crowd would gather. We arrived early while booths were still setting up and then the fairgrounds started to fill. It was a decent sized crowd but smaller than I expected.
The atmosphere was almost fair like. People walking around, greeting each other, going from booth to booth or stand to stand. Most people had some sort of sign. Some signs were hokey and almost like something you would see at a sporting event. I understand how humor can be used to stress a point but some signs made you feel that these people didn't truly understand the seriousness of the event.
They had a smaller stage set up instead of using the grandstands.
Two speakers really stuck out and made the biggest impact. Senator Tim Grendell and Coach Dave Daubenmire running for congress.
Senator Grendell was his usual self. Some speakers make you feel good but you walk away feeling yeah right he's just saying that to get elected but not with Senator Tim Grendell. He has a track record to back up his words. He has taken on many fights and won. Grendell personifies the Tea Party movement.
Coach Dave was so fired up and vocal it gave me goosebumps. I could just imagine Coach Dave being in charge of a large battalion. He spoke of the time he was arrested for giving water to a dieing person in Florida, that person was Terry Schiavo. He talked about when he was sued by the ACLU for praying with his football team in London, Ohio. His righteous anger and energy is sorely needed in Washington.
The rest of the speakers were good but their names or words didn't stick with me as did Grendell and Daubenmire.
Candidates and Causes:
The booths and stands set up were for candidates and causes with just a few selling things. Mike Guiterez and Pastor Cohen were passing out literature to fight human trafficking in Ohio, SB.235. Another stand had petitions to get on the ballot the repeal of the death tax. I didn't pay to much attention to other issues as I was more interested in speaking with the candidates.
Of the candidates, besides Coach Dave, two impressed me. They were W. Benjamin Franklin and Scott Rupert.
W. Franklin is an author of children's books one of which has a political theme. He is running against Corrigan in the Republican primary and the winner takes on Kucinich in November. Corrigan has the backing of the Republican Party. Ben Franklin is going at it alone, all alone. He has a couple of friends but for the most part he is running his own campaign and doing what he can. Ben impressed me. All he had was a table and a couple of jugs of fruit drink he was passing out in small cups. This is about as grass roots as you can get. I liked him.
Another candidate that impressed me was Scott Rupert. Scott has never ran for office, never held any political position. He is a truck driver. I asked him why does he qualify? He said I read the constitution and I can't possibly do worse than those elected now. Scott has a point. If you are looking for an independent candidate, one who knows what its like to be a common working man, Scotts your choice. I feel he has enough common sense and street smarts to make a difference.
The Arrival - The tea party bus:
I've attended other Tea Parties but never the National so I wasn't sure what all the noise was about concerning the arrival of the Bus. It ran late but they kept giving updates that it was getting close. The Tea Party Bus had the entertainers/national speakers of the movement. Comedians Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live) and Jim Labriola (Home Improvement) were some of the bigger known names.
I am not sure what to make of the tour bus. IF this was the original intent of the Tea Party movement to have known acts and entertainers to spread the word then they are doing their job. IF these Conservative entertainers are the counterpart to the Hollywood Left then I can go along with it. But IF they were just added to make money and to commercialize the event then its wrong and will kill the movement.
They had their faces on the back of the bus, one of which is of Sarah Palin. Seeing her face didn't excite me at all. Campaigning for McCain has damaged her with the Conservative cause.
I have mixed thoughts. I thought the location was wrong. Unless you knew the event was going on outsiders could never hear the message. Its these people we want to reach.
A lot of the people in attendance are already actively involved. Almost like preaching to the choir. BUT on the other hand an event like this helps candidates, activists and people who sincerely want to get involved network, promote ideas, get out information, and strategize. Its an excellent opportunity for that.
I thought the first half of the event was much better with local candidates speaking. It was more sincere and they had no strings attached, they spoke from the heart, real grass roots. The National Tea Party entertainers/speakers were entertaining and got out a good message, it might not appease the real political junkies but it could attract the general public, lets hope they are sincere.
In all, I though it was fun, very informative, safe and made me feel proud to be an American.
Carey K. Masci