The following post was submitted by Richmond Tea Party board member Corky Mann.
Let me start with a little about where Tea Parties in general, and Richmond Tea Party specifically, stand in regard to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. For starters, EVERYONE is entitled to free speech. EVERYONE is entitled to peacefully assemble. It’s a no-brainer: we stand for individual liberty. Next, we realize that, sometimes, strings are attached. If you happen to need a license or permit to stand in a particular place to have your say, then get the license or permit. It may not seem right, but if it is the rule, put on your big boy or girl pants and get it done. Tea Parties are “Rule of Law” organizations, correct?
Now back to the original question: What is the cost of Free Speech? This week we learned the City of Richmond—or at least Mayor Dwight C. Jones—answers that question differently for different groups. In this case I’m referring to the city’s not requiring the people “Occupying Richmond” to obtain licenses, permits, off-duty police security, chemical toilets, or a standby medical team. We also learned that to obtain those items—required of the Richmond Tea Party by the City of Richmond—cost over $8,500 for three separate one-day events. Do you think that sounds like fair and/or equal treatment under the Law? Neither do I.
You may be asking, “Where are you going with this”? Simple: ELECTIONS! This Richmond City saga illustrates how your elected officials can play favoritism while serving as your representatives (supposedly) and spending your tax dollars.
While I don’t know who is on the ballot in Richmond City—it’s not my district—I will assume some of the folks there were elected in off-year elections. It has been personally frustrating to see the general public’s apathy and in some instances YOUR own apathy toward the importance of local elections, especially during boring off years. This is not an endorsement or condemnation of any candidate or currently elected official; it is a reminder to you, to learn who is on your ballot, and get out and vote for the person you expect will represent you the best.
During these off-year elections, YOUR voice makes more of a difference than ever. With low voter turnout, elections are often decided by hundreds (or fewer), not thousands, of votes. Please learn about your candidates. Please vote. Please vote for a conservative.