By Josh Tolley
This past weekend I spoke at a Tax Day Tea Party Rally in Watkins Glen, NY. My attendance of the event was the first testimony as to the community building around the freedom message.
The Tea Party organizers, who were staunch Romney supporters, were convinced by a liberty loving insurgent to allow Dr. Paul to have at least one speaker represent him, as there was to be a straw poll following the presentations. With full knowledge that I was a Ron Paul promoter, the organizers allowed me to take the stage. The agreement was originally to allow all speakers to have 20 minutes to address the crowd. Due to Rick Santorum’s exit from the campaign, the time allotment was increased to 25 minutes per speaker. A welcomed development as there were some topics I wanted to drive home in the hearts of the audience.
So up to the stage I go with excitement thinking I have the same amount of time allotted the speakers who spoke before me. The beginning of the presentation goes well. I was doing a slow ramp up which would culminate in a crescendo of liberty ovation. About ten minutes into a speech which had already brought audience members to their feet I decide now is the time to bring up the name; Ron Paul.
It was then the fangs of neo-con sympathizers sprang forth. Not from the general audience but from the Tea Party organizers who evidently got their undies in a bundle after someone dare mention the unmentionable candidate. As screams of “Romeny” came from these noble organizers I decided that not only does that show their immaturity, lack of professionalism, and disconnect from what the Tea Party was founded around, but it also deserved a rebuttal. It was at that moment when the head organizing “lady” came charging up to the stage with her head shaking “no” while she was beating on the paper in her hand. Upon her arriving at the foot of the stage, she began to make the standard “Wrap it up and get off stage” gestures to me. Wanting to remain a man of integrity, I reminded the audience that freedom was the most important message of the day and that my attendance there was for them, not for the Tea Party. This of course was met with a rousing symphony of applause and ovation.
Fearing the worst, I made my way back to those who brought me to New York in the first place. Prepared to apologize for the Tea Party’s lack of professionalism I was greeted with huge smiles and “worth every penny” comments, although I forfeited my charge for attending as a speaker and was brought to New York on the generous donations of Liberty lovers!
It was also encouraging to notice that the line of people wanting to meet me, was larger than the line for any other speaker that day. Of course this had little to do with me personally and more to do with the message that was given.
My day got even better when later in the events I happened to win $307 in a Wounded Warrior Project raffle (those funds, of course, I donated back to WWP and they were matched by one of the event’s emcees). The look on the organizers face as I made my way back to the stage from which they previously banished me from was priceless!
Then, after the last speaker had cleared the podium, it was time for the main event, the straw poll. Would the stifling of my presentation harm Dr. Paul? Would Romney supporters rally in defense of their overzealous local leaders? The answer was clear as the ballots were tallied. Coming in at a resounding first place was Congressman Paul. Equally as gratifying was the VERY distant THIRD place finish of Mitt Romney!
In retrospect I knew my message was not going to be welcomed. I was approached by one of the lead Tea Party organizers prior to taking the stage. He told me that he was aware of who I was “one of those Ron Paul supporters” and that I should “be aware of the audience and not be divisive.”
The bottom line is simple; the message of freedom produces results when it is allowed to be heard and produces results when oppressed. The embers burning for freedom in the hearts of people still can be stoked when the breath of freedom billows upon those hearts.
As Dr. Paul continues to gain support during Romney’s decline and as freedom becomes the leading issue going into the future of our nation, do not be afraid of the ignorant, immature, and immoral. Our bite is far worse than their bark!