Serving Up TEA In Douglas County

DCTeaParty018Have you ever attended an event and known that you were part of something truly historic? That’s the way I felt when I attended the Douglas County TEA Party back in September of 2009, but it was nothing in comparison to what I felt last night at the latest and greatest Douglas County TEA Party, dubbed “Only In America”.

Having attended a few TEA Parties since that first one (for me) in Douglas County, I thought I knew what to expect, but apparently I didn’t get the memo and I had no clue that things were going to be completely different this time around.

DCTeaParty002As a volunteer for the event, I had been part of all of the planning meetings. I knew (by way of those meetings) how much work was being put into this event, and I knew this TEA Party was going to be awesome. I just didn’t realize how awesome it was going to be until I arrived at the Clinton Nature Preserve yesterday afternoon.

As I parked the truck I could see that some politicians had already shown up and set up their booths. Iron Horse BBQ was set up and preparing to serve some of their delicious BBQ sandwiches, and the organizers, Maureen Miller, Brenda Bohanan, and Teresa Ott were running around making final preparations.

DCTeaParty010Members of the band, The Constitutionalists, were warming up, and you could feel the electricity in the air. Some say it was the storm that passed by just hours before the official starting time of the event, but I know otherwise.

There was so much energy in the air, you could feel it. From the volunteers helping with parking to those helping to decorate the stage, everyone had an upbeat attitude and was working hard to make sure everything went off without a hitch.

So, what was different this year? Everything. Well, almost everything.

Last year there was an issue with sound equipment and people in the back could not hear the speakers, this year Sound Effects took care of the sound and made quite an impact. Needless to say, no one had a problem hearing the speakers, even from the booths farthest from the stage.

DCTeaParty027Max Arnold gave a moving invocation to start things off and Dakota Kuykendall, keyboardist for The Constitutionalists, performed the National Anthem.

Maureen Miller welcomed everyone to the TEA Party and then The Constitutionalists performed live. The band played some great music and really got the crowd fired up.

By this point, the park was really filling up. Having been in the middle of the crowd last year, I could tell things were going to be much bigger this year. Why wouldn’t they be? At the last TEA Party some people were still under the illusion that the problems we were facing in our nation couldn’t get much worse. This time people knew better, so it was only natural that more people would show up for the event.

DCTeaParty045Sharon White, a local Douglas County citizen with a clear message was the first speaker of the night. I’ve listened to a lot of people at a lot of political rallies, and Sharon rivals many of the best speakers I have heard in the past. Her speech was heartfelt and full of passion. She is a woman determined to make sure people know what their government is doing. Sharon’s speech was the perfect way to start the evening, and if Herman Cain would have been unable to appear as the keynote speaker, I have no doubt that Sharon could have handled the job quite handily.

Current Douglas County District 4 Commissioner, and owner of Bud’s Benz, David Latham was the second speaker on stage. With a lot of thought, David decided not to seek re-election this year. He is walking away from his political position because it’s someone else’s turn to make a difference in the community.

The people of Douglas County are lucky to have had someone as down to Earth as David Latham serving them for the past eight years.

DCTeaParty059At one point toward the end of his speech, David asked “Where are the patriots”?

As far as I could see, there were about 3,000 of them sitting in the crowd at the Clinton Nature Preserve, listening to him. Both Sharon and David spoke about the problem with big government. The TEA parties are held to protest big government, excessive spending, and out of control politicians.

One big difference this year, was the lack of any mainstream media. The WSB Radio truck was there to record The Herman Cain Show, but none of the Atlanta based media outlets were on hand to cover the event. I was all over the park, all afternoon, and If they showed up I didn’t see them. Of course, last year the local Fox affiliate didn’t do a very good job reporting about the event, so maybe it’s a good thing none of them showed up this year.

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I was a fan of Herman Cain’s long before he spoke at last year’s TEA Party, and I was excited to find out he would be our keynote speaker again this year. One small detail escaped me, however, until he arrived at the park. I was right there by the stage and I was going to get the chance to meet The Hermanator!

DCTeaParty071Sure, he’s just another citizen like the rest of us. Sure, he’s just a “local boy” there to support the TEA Party movement. Sure. Whatever. I was as nervous as ever when I got the chance to shake hands with someone as REAL as Herman Cain. It doesn’t get any more real than meeting a man like Herman Cain.

Herman took the stage, the crowd went wild, and we were suddenly at the beginning of The Herman Cain Show. That was another big difference this year.

The original plan was to air The Herman Cain Show live from the park, but due to technical problems, they had to record the show instead. It will air during the week of June 7-11, so make sure you listen this week. If you have listened to Herman’s show in the past, you know that Friday is called “Rapid Fire Friday” where callers have one minute to ask a question and Herman has one minute to respond.

DCTeaParty100After a brief speech about the ongoing problems with the current administration and the reality slap that things are indeed much worse now than any of us thought they could get, Herman began the Rapid Fire segment with members of the audience.

Those asking questions did not have to submit their question in advance, they weren’t screened beforehand. No one knew what each person would have to say, let alone what they would ask, when it was their turn at the microphone.

Concerns over Social Security and Medicare, a government out of control, and veteran’s issues were some of the questions at hand. A couple people, including a young boy, asked whether or not Herman would run for President.

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As things were winding down with the Rapid Fire segment, the last person to come to the microphone was a former Marine whose name was Lewis. He was worried about what we would teach our young people and began singing the final stanza of the Star-spangled Banner.

 

You could feel the emotion in the air as people stood and placed their hands over their hearts. As I said before, you could feel the electricity in the air. As soon as he finished, Louis disappeared back into the sea of people, and many of us were left to dry our eyes. There are, in fact, four stanzas in the original version of the Star-spangled Banner. It’s a shame that most people do not know this, let alone the words in the other stanzas.

DCTeaParty128No one could have planned a better end to the TEA Party than that. But it wasn’t over quite yet. As he wrapped up his speech, he explained what he meant by the fact he was in “prayerful consideration” in deciding whether or not to run for the highest office in the land.

There is no doubt that Herman Cain is one of the most eloquent and intelligent speakers of our time. It was awesome listening to him, photographing him, and most of all, meeting him. I’ll be praying that God sends him the message he is waiting for, because in reality, we need more people like Herman Cain in public office. If there were, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.

Last year I took over 200 photos and posted 33 of them to my Flickr page. This year I took more than 550 photos and 128 of the best ones are on Flickr. There are photos of the candidates and vendors, various shots of the crowd, and a few of Maureen Miller presenting “Brewmaster” Herman Cain with a jacket of appreciation.

DCTeaParty117When I walked in the door after the event, I was exhausted. I was all over the park, all afternoon, and my feet were killing me. I had a headache for most of the day too, but I wouldn’t have missed the this Douglas County TEA Party for anything.

I believe the only way real change can come to our country is to start at the local level, and it doesn’t get more local than a TEA Party, or any other political event, organized by local citizens. I truly believe that we, as ordinary citizens, can and will make a difference.

Someone asked me the other day why I was involved in the TEA Party movement. I simply asked them if they were happy with the current state of our nation. As they shook their head in disagreement, I asked them why they weren’t.

Do You Want To Look Cool?

The Douglas County TEA Party will be held June 4, 2010 from 6pm until 9pm at the Clinton Nature Preserve on Ephesus Church Road in Villa Rica, Georgia. The keynote speaker for the event is Herman Cain who will be broadcasting his show on WSB Radio LIVE from the TEA Party!

There’s going to be LIVE music, professional sound, vendors with food, and lots of information for everyone! Make sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets!!!

I know the economy is in shambles and money is tight, but if you were saving your money in hopes of buying the coolest TEA-Shirt on the planet, then have I got a deal for you!

You can order one of these 2010 Commemorative Douglas County TEA Party TEA-Shirts directly from the Douglas County TEA Party website. They cost $15, with an additional $4 for shipping.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait, so I have some more news for you.

The day after tomorrow, May 15, the Douglas County Tea Party will be holding a “pre-TEA Party” sale from 12:00pm until 3:00pm in the front office of Ott Gun Works in Douglasville. They are located at 5493 Westmoreland Plaza, Suite B-500. (View Map).

If you come to the pre-sale you can get your shirt well in advance of the TEA Party and make everyone else jealous because they don’t have one. All of the shirts are black but come in sizes small to 2x.

The best part about the pre-sale is that you save the $4 shipping charge!!!

Make sure you get your shirt soon! You never know how long these awesome shirts are going to last!!!

All of the proceeds from the sale of the shirts is being used to offset the cost of supplies and equipment required to stage the TEA Party.

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Spreading The Word, At Home

While many people I know talked about the TEA Parties in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, I was focused on our local TEA Parties because that’s where the real change and momentum will come from. The local communities. You can’t change things on a national level if you ignore the issues in your own backyard.

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I had several things that I needed to get done today, but I made sure to stop by the Carroll County TEA Party. They had a great lineup of speakers for the event, and I’m glad I took the time to participate even if I wasn’t able to attend the entire event.

I arrived as Gerry Purcell, Republican candidate for Georgia Insurance Commissioner, began his speech. I’ve been wanting to meet him in person for a couple months, and it was awesome to get that chance when he concluded his speech. He even made sure I got a yard sign, which is now standing proudly in my front yard.

Gerry Purcell Speaks at the Carroll County TEA Party

 

The next person to take the stage was Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, who is running for the Georgia District 13 Congressional seat. I thought her speech was great, and she did a good job energizing the crowd when she spoke about the Fair Tax.

Dr. Debra Honeycutt Speaks at the Carroll County TEA Party

 

Dr. Honeycutt has been on my radar for a couple months now, and my only regret is that I don’t live in her district (not that I would trade Rep. Phil Gingrey anyway).

Carroll County Sheriff Terry Langley followed Dr. Honeycutt, and he delivered another great speech about the last line of defense being local law enforcement.

Sheriff Terry Langley Speaks at the Carroll County TEA Party

 

When Sheriff Langley wrapped up his speech, I needed to head back home. I still had a couple things I needed to get done, and it was getting hot. I didn’t want to make my headache any worse than it already was. I posted more photos on my Flickr account, if you want to see them.

The Douglas County Instant TEA, which was held at the corner of Chapel Hill and Douglas Blvd. was another instant “hit”. A small group of TEA Party die-hards (including myself) met on the grassy knoll to remind people that we’ve been Taxed Enough Already.

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While many people were focusing on the larger events held in large cities, others were making sure the message was getting out at the local level. The very place it needs to be sent.

When all is said and done at those larger TEA parties and people drive 20, 30, 50, or even 100 miles to get home, what message was sent to the people who stayed home in their communities? How many of their neighbors got the message from that grand TEA party in downtown Atlanta?

While they were attending those large parties, hundreds, if not thousands, of their fellow hometown citizens drove down their local roads on their way home from work.

Taxed Enough Already!

 

Our group may have been small today (you can see more photos at my Flickr account), but we carried a loud message, and based on the people honking and waving their support I’d say we got the job done.

I hope everyone else had fun at their big city TEA parties, because we had a blast here on the homefront.

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Enough Is Enough

As I said the other night, I was busy with a project.

Last Friday, after an organizational meeting for the Douglas County TEA Party, I began production of a new website for the organization. At 11:00 pm this evening, I put the finishing touches on it, and put it live.

You can view it at www.douglascountyteaparty.com.

I need to acknowledge all of the hard work that the organizers of the Douglas County TEA Party have done. The upcoming TEA Party will be the best one yet, so you might want to keep June 4th free on your calendar.

In a world where most people used to care less about what’s happening in Washington, let alone right outside their own door, I have to thank President Obama, Speaker of the House Nanny State Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Scary Harry Reid for awakening Americans across this great nation. If it wasn’t for their insane economic and political policies, people would still be oblivious to what’s happening around them.

Now that they are awakening it’s our job, as fellow citizens of this country, to educate and inform them. It’s time we all stand up and say “ENOUGH!” It’s time to stop the spending. It’s time to stop increasing the role of the government. It’s time to stop trampling the Constitution. Enough is enough!

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Raising Cain In Douglas County

Tea Party #8Today was a day I will never forget. I’ve participated in political rallies in my time, but none of them were as energized or as honest as this one. If you haven’t attended a TEA Party, or you avoided them because of what you hear on the news, you have truly been missing out.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got there, but having been to the Clinton Nature Preserve in the past, at least I knew where I was going. As I turned off the interstate onto Post Road, there was no traffic. I thought it was a bit odd, but then I figured because it was Labor Day there might not be a high turnout. As I turned onto Ephesus Church Road there still wasn’t any traffic.

I double checked the date on my iPhone to make sure I was in the right place on the right day (at the right time). I turned into the Clinton Nature Preserve and I found the traffic. Lots of it. There were people everywhere. I guess I just hit a lull in the traffic that was still on the road, because there were already hundreds of people milling about.

If you’ve ever been to the Preserve you know they have several small meadows on the right hand side of the main road, and every one of those meadows was filled with cars before the event began. Organizers estimate 1,000 people showed up based on the number of people who registered when they walked into the event. I know for a fact that for every person who registered at least two people walked right by the registration table. I watched at least two dozen people walk by while I was registering.

Tea Party #1As I made my way down to toward the stage, I was stunned by the number of people I saw. The turnout was much greater than I thought it would be on a holiday, but then, like I said before I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got there.

I walked around taking candid shots of the crowd as I looked for a place to “set up camp”. I didn’t bring a lawn chair or a blanket (as was recommended) because I figured I would be standing to take photos most of the time anyway. Okay, I admit, I was lazy. I didn’t want to carry a chair or blanket with me while I milled about in the crowd.

I found an excellent vantage point right up against a tree. I could lean against the tree for support, and there was a stump to the side of the tree I could stand on to get the height I needed to get clear shots over the top of people’s heads.

Tea Party #6The Christian Community Orchestra was playing music as participants filled into the park.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Orchestra played the National Anthem, and there were two elderly gentleman to my right side who were singing every word of the anthem and they sounded awesome.

I have never heard the National Anthem sung so beautifully. My first instinct was to grab the Kodak Zi6 for video, but thought better of the idea out of respect for the song, and the gentlemen who were proudly singing it.

Maureen Miller, the President of the Douglas County Republican Women’s Club, welcomed everyone to the TEA Party and Joel Aaron served as Master of Ceremonies.

Tea Party #19The first speaker of the evening was Retired Lt. Col. Beth Martinez who spoke about health care reform. While the current health care reform bill was a topic of discussion it is not solely the reason for the TEA Party movement.

The TEA parties are held to protect our country and the Constitution upon which it was founded. They’re about educating people about what’s going on in Washington, then standing up for what’s right. Protecting our freedoms and stopping big government in its tracks.

Brian Ott took some time out of his day to talk to the crowd about our Second Amendment Rights and then Bert Blood, a local small business owner, took the stage to talk about government, taxes, and small business.

Tea Party #24With the exception of Herman Cain, Bert was my favorite speaker of the day. He greeted us all by saying, “Good Evening all of you Right Wing Domestic Terrorists”. I saw Bert as I was pulling into the parking lot, as he drove up in his Smart car. Those things are small, and Bert is not a small guy.

After listening to him speak tonight, I think he’s the perfect candidate for “Small Business Czar”, but then again I don’t think he’s radical enough to serve President Obama. He was just an ordinary citizen talking about the things that matter to me, another ordinary citizen.

Tea Party #27It wasn’t long before Herman Cain took the stage and the crowd went wild. He spoke about making the world a better place for others and the problems with the current administration. He reflected on issues important to him (and all of us) and what we could do as individuals, and as a group, to make our voices heard.

The Douglas County TEA Party was one of the most inspiring events I have attended in my lifetime. There was no shouting (well, other than by the speakers trying to make up for the weak public address system), there was no yelling, and there was no doubt that the TEA Party movement is growing.

I took over 200 photos at the park, but uploaded the best 33 photos to my Flickr account. You can see them all there in the Douglas County TEA Party set. Maureen Miller and all of the organizers of the event did an outstanding job and should be commended for the work they put into organizing it.

I met several different people at the event and a few of them knew who I was once I mentioned this blog. That was more stunning than seeing the number of people who showed up for some afternoon TEA. I personally think there were closer to 1,500 people at the park because it took well over 35 minutes just to get out of the parking lot.

When I got home I set the DVR to record FOX5 News because I saw them interviewing people at the event. I was quite disappointed when I saw their coverage of the event. The following is the video that appeared during the 10pm broadcast.

Apparently, members of the Douglas County Democratic Party aren’t the only ones filled with “misconfusion” as their Chairman James Quarterman calls it.

FOX5 took the time to point out that TEA Party participants were protesting the health care bill and “other issues” and that speakers focused on individual freedoms and personal responsibility, but completely missed the mark when they interviewed James Quarterman but not one single speaker from the TEA Party.

Sure, they interviewed a couple of the participants sitting in the crowd, but they didn’t take the time to even get a sound bite from Herman Cain (who just happens to carry a lot more credibility than Mr. Misconfusion). To make matters worse, the reporter appears to question whether the “strong message” sent by the protesters would “translate” when Congress takes up the health care debate again.

For the record, the TEA Party was about personal freedoms, the Constitution of the United States, limited government, and holding politicians accountable for their actions. Sure, the current health care reform bill was a topic of discussion, but the media, especially FOX5 in this case, is trying to deflect attention from the TEA Party movement by shifting focus toward the health care reform debate.

While I was visiting the FOX5 website, I noticed a second video on their site. Take a look.

In the first video, it was a TEA Party, in this video it’s a “so-called” TEA Party.

In the first video, the people on stage were “speakers”, in this video they are now “conservative activists”.

In the first video there was one Democrat visible at the event. In this video, there was also one Democrat visible, but this time “a handful of Democrats” said health care reform is needed now. Where were the others and why did they edit out Mr. Quarterman’s “misconfusion” line?

In the first video, Debbie Clark is a retired nurse who came to the event with friends from church, while in this video she’s just a retired nurse who disagrees. I guess, according to FOX5, church doesn’t matter either.

It’s no wonder that some people across the United States have an unfavorable view of the TEA parties. It’s no wonder people get the wrong ideas.

It’s not that the mainstream media isn’t covering the events, it’s the fact they avoid the real story behind the TEA parties and then they edit their coverage to sanitize it for public consumption.

I had a great time today and most of my friends (liberals and conservatives alike) would have understood the message delivered at the Douglas County TEA Party. Shame on you FOX5. Maybe next time you can stay in the studio, save gas, and write your own story. After watching these two videos I’m convinced you’re not going to report the real facts correctly anyway.