INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Mayan calendar may point to the end of time on Dec. 21, but speakers at the Indian River Tea Party rally Saturday said that, at least for the United States, the final battle is in November and Republican candidates must win.
“This may be our last opportunity to restore America’s greatness,” said singer-songwriter Billy Bones who started the rally off with his music and then gave a speech.
Bones urged the estimated 1,800 people or so in attendance to commit their time, money and other resources “to the cause of freedom.”
As Romney-Ryan campaign signs, American flags, a U.S. Marine Corps flag and even a Confederate flag waved at the Indian River Fairgrounds venue during the rally, Bones pointed out what he sees as the stark differences between tea party voters and those who oppose them. He elevated the tea party values of liberty, limited government, fiscal responsibility and strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, while deriding the values of the other side.
The next speaker, Tony Katz, attempted to get the message out with some humor sprinkled in, but his convictions were just as strong. Katz brought the discussion into the focus intended for the day — a veneration of entrepreneurial spirit.
“We’re capitalists and we’re damn proud of it,” he said.
Rally attendees saw local business out in force at the rally, with about 50 trucks, tractors and pieces of heavy construction equipment parked on the fairgrounds field, framing the crowd. The bulk of the trucks came from Henry Fischer and Sons land clearing, Ranger Construction and Mike’s Towing and Wrecker Service.
It took more than 100 volunteers to make Saturday’s rally happen and the event went off smoothly. Parking was impeccably organized, the steady crowd was peaceable, vendors were nearby with food and drink and the kids were even kept occupied by two bounce houses and a slide provided free of charge at the edge of the event venue.
Though the rhetoric got heated a couple of times, speakers were generally respectful and inflammatory signs were forbidden by Indian River Tea Party Chairman Toby Hill and the event committee. Hill had said before the event that he didn’t want over the top signs taking away from the important goal of the rally.
Keeping the message positive, Hill reminded the sea of supporters in bleachers and lawn chairs that “We’re here today to celebrate small business.”
The next speaker, Deneen Borelli, author of the book Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are driving Americans to the Government Plantation, explained how she views the task of American Conservatives today.
“We need to hold the line for liberty, because when government is too large our liberty is reduced,” she said. “We all have a role to play. Play your role.”
Borelli described how she, an African-American woman, had been sharply criticized and even threatened for writing her book and being outspoken in public appearances.
Florida State Senator Joe Negron emphasized Americans’ civic duty and that their vote does matter, especially in this upcoming election.
“You being here today makes a difference,” Negron said. “It makes a difference in the kind of government we have and in our Constitutional rights.”
Negron encouraged everyone in attendance to get off the couch and speak out during public meetings at every opportunity.
Other speakers included Blaise Ingoglia, creator of “Government Gone Wild” seminars and workshops, Congressman Bill Posey who represents the district which includes Indian River County and Congressman Allen West.
West is not on the ballot for local voters, but he’s become wildly popular with the Tea Party faithful for his harsh criticism of Washington, D.C. and of the Obama Administration. His frank comments did not disappoint those who showed up to the rally anticipating a little political “red meat” to be tossed out to Conservatives to energize voters, donors and volunteers.