October 9, 2011- American Flags were prominent last Saturday, October 1, as a small but boisterous group of T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party members congregated at Kit Carson Park in Escondido for some “October Tea.” Compared to the thousands who turned out for this weekend’s Occupy San Diego demonstrations, the crowd size numbered only about 60 people. But participants were equally passionate about their dissatisfaction with the status quo in America.
Ramona Tea Party stalwart Terri Linnell coordinated the event. After her closing speech, ECM asked Linnell if she plans to again challenge Congressman Duncan Hunter for his seat in 2012. “Yes,” she replied with a smile, “I am running.”
On her website, she lists her reasons. “We no longer want laws written for the corporations; we want laws written for the people," she said, echoing one point in common with the Occupy San Diego demonstrators. But on other points, Linnell has fiscally conservative views. "We no longer want a big, wasteful government; we want our Constitution restored.”
The event aimed to bring together the varying Tea Party factions that are spread throughout the county. Factions from Lakeside, Vista, North County, Tri-City, and Ramona all had booths set-up and pamphlets at the ready. During the rally’s social hour, attendees were encouraged to network with other groups, all in the hope of creating more cohesiveness throughout the region with the main focus on the 2012 elections.
“We are looking to throw out the president and [to] beating up the Senate,” said Cliff Sumrall, founder and coordinator of the Fallbrook Tea Party.
Some speakers chose to focus on issues that hit closer to home.
“We should be worried about the local boards,” said Lakeside Tea Party coordinator Steve Johnson. “The boards are where everything begins, we need to be worried about school, water, fire and planning commission boards.” Johnson himself is a member of the Lakeside Water District board.
Lynn Miller of North County Conservatives furthered that thought, stating, “Planning boards could become tyrant in taking away our liberties.”
As for the mayoral race, Linnell made it clear that the group has yet to choose a candidate to back. The group will look to back Nick Popavich if he chooses to run for Congressman Bob Filner’s open seat.
Speakers took advantage of the time to address the critics of the T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party. Most notably, actor Morgan Freeman labeled the group as “racist,” while others have labeled the group as radical zealots. “What is so horrible about being fiscally Conservative and protecting our borders,” pleaded East County Tea Party leader Barry Willis.
Rhonda Deniston, Oceanside Regional Director for Stoptaxingus.com, claimed that the major problem is that “We have lost God in our lives.” “The left should not be surprised by our uprising,” said Deniston. “We are not radical or racist, we are exercising our constitutional right.”
The message was clear from the sparse but passionate crowd that those present believe the future of the country starts now. “We need to start teaching our children and grandchildren to protect the Constitution,” said Deniston.
“We are going to be the future of the United States,” Linnell concluded. “We are going to give our grandkids a country they can be proud of.”