By Ryan Bronaugh
“I’m here today to exercise my own 1st amendment rights to address the demonization of the Tea Party movement,” Associate Professor of Economics, Richard Johnston said as he opened the public speech he gave to a crowd of around 350 last Thursday at the 2nd Annual Tea Party Rally at the Lake Storey Lions shelter in Galesburg.
Professor Johnston took the stage following the Galesburg Area Tea Party President, Deb Marty’s welcome brief, which included a plea to respect the right to free speech by the evening’s speakers, the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem, opening prayer by Pastor Bob Malone, and Master of Ceremony speech by Knox County retired Judge Harry Bulkeley.
Chuckles and quiet applause could be heard as he warmed up the crowd saying, “If I sound like I am backing down at all, at the end of the speech give me an F. I have no intention of giving in to the political correctness that is like a metastasizing cancer throughout our society,” adding, “I will not remain silent because it might—quote, unquote—offend someone.”
The quiet applause turned to cheers when Johnston announced, “I am offended by the bankrupting ideology of out-of-control officials who demonstrate by their deeds that they have every intention of continuing to trample on our freedoms.”
Johnston’s first subject in addressing the demonization of the Tea Party movement he represented on Thursday, was the issue of racism. Many Tea Party members have grumbled over how, in their opinion, the Tea Party’s message is often presented as racist by news, and other media outlets. Johnston started by borrowing two quotes. The first came from the British American financial journalist, and one time editor for Forbes Magazine, Peter Brimelow, saying, “The modern definition of racist, is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.” Johnston then lifted a t-shirt for the crowd to see and said, “the shirt reads as follows, ‘hate speech—any written or verbal communication that disagrees with the liberal-back-slash-socialist agenda or the policies of the Obama administration.’” Both quotes earned widespread applause from his audience.
Following quotes borrowed from Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, Johnston said, “look this up on the internet, as a candidate for President, Senator Obama said the high deficits under President Bush were unpatriotic. I would have used the word immoral to describe those deficits, but who am I to quibble with the choice of words of a man whose greatest attribute is his ability to make speeches.
“The Tea Partiests are accused of being terrorist. I’m sorry to say this, but we are guilty as charged,” said Johnston. “Why?” he asked rhetorically. “I have no doubt the thought of not spending money you do not have, of not dictating we must buy health insurance, and of having a real choice as to the schools we send our children to, terrorizes those who want to keep the government boot on the neck of those who want freedom,” Johnston said.
“We don’t hate teachers,” Johnston said, “we just recognize, as was pointed out by someone else, socialism doesn’t work anywhere else, why would we expect it to work in education?”
Addressing the motivation behind the Tea Party’s stance on abolishing the minimum wage, Johnston said, “the true minimum wage is zero. That’s exactly the amount the unemployed person receives when no potential employer values their work at $8.25 an hour, or whatever other arbitrary value is conjured up by economic illiterates.” He then quoted Milton Freeman speaking on the minimum wage law calling it, “the most anti-negro law on the books of this land,” Johnston then said, “he’s right.”
The race issue was reintroduced into the speech later when Professor Johnston said, “I’m tired of being called—quote, unquote—racist by members of a political party who allow people such as—quote, unquote—Reverend Jessey Jackson, and—quote, unquote—Reverend Al Sharpton, to be in Presidential debates. You know Reverend Jesse Jackson, when he’s not busy making babies out of wed-lock he’s saying very Reverend-like-things about President Obama such as, and I quote, ‘I wanna cut his nuts off.’” Laughter could be heard from several sections of the crowd.
Tying the issue of poverty with one of single parent homes Johnston said, “of course I am required to say that some women do a heroic job of successfully raising a child by themselves—yada yada,” after pointing to unspecified statistics Johnston said, “you want the best predictor of a child being poor, it’s being raised by a single parents.”
The Galesburg Area Tea Party announces their scheduled meetings, times and locations in Galesburg’s The Registered Mail.