On behalf of the Sevier County Tea Party (SCTP), I would like to thank everyone who attended our event, America’s Last Stand. I think the purpose of the event was well received; we need to reach out to the populous at large, and encourage them to at least get involved in the voting process.
Since the event, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments, and an understanding that we do indeed need to reach out to our friends, families, and neighbors to remind them that the government derives its power from the consent of the govern, and that We the People are not subjects of the government. If we can successfully remind folks of that premise and get them to re-engage, we will most certainly be on our way to returning our nation to the constitutional republic form of government outlined in our founding documents.
Prior to the event, I was contacted by candidates for U.S. Senate; George Flinn from Memphis, and Joe Carr, state representative. They asked if they would have a chance to address the crowd, and do a little campaigning. They were told that the event was structured to motivate the people, and not be a political event per se’. They were told they could purchase tickets and be a part of the audience, and that they could campaign outside the building before the event was underway or after the event was over. Carr and Flinn respected my decision. Mr. Carr respectfully chose to participate in an event elsewhere. However, volunteers with the Beat Lamar Campaign (not affiliated with the Joe Carr campaign) did pass out Carr literature outside the building. Flinn purchased the VIP GOLD, and enjoyed the program, campaigning only after the event was over.
John King, a candidate from Knoxville, did not contact me prior to the event. Long before the program started, I noticed two people inside the building passing out King material. I immediately told them that if they wanted to campaign, they would have to do so outside the building. Shortly after, they were once again seen inside doing the same thing. They were told a second time to vacate the building. During the John Michael Montgomery concert, I was informed that King himself was with the two volunteers inside the building. That time, they were informed by the police that if they entered again, they would all be arrested.
I mention this to make a simple observation: It’s my opinion that if King or his volunteers cannot respect the simple rules of an event explained by the host –the chairman of a tea party– that tells me he won’t respect the tea party if he is elected. I personally have no use for a candidate of that caliber.
The only legitimate complaint I heard about the event was that concealed-carry permit holders had their Second Amendment rights violated. I, too, am a permit holder, and I did not carry my weapon. The prohibition did not come from the SCTP. The decision was made by the Convention Center in part for the security of the guest speakers.
This was not the first time the Convention Center prohibited carry-permit holders from entering the building armed. About a month ago, the Convention Center was host to the Mountain Preppers Expo. While some vendors at that event sold weapons, permit holders were told to leave their weapons in their vehicles.
I mention this only to assure those permit holders that it was not the decision of the SCTP to prohibit permit holders from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”. signed, our founding Fathers