Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Back Story on My Yuma Speech to the Colorado River Tea Party

So, the back story is this: I had an event in Casa Grande the night before and had started a leisurely trip to Yuma when I got the call from Yuma County Democratic Party chair Jesse Lugo--if I could make it to Yjma by 2, he wanted me to attend a candidate event Yuma's Colorado River Tea Party was hosting. I had to hurry and focused on the 3 hour to get to the show on time   ...
  Only to be told when I did indeed arrive on time, that, because I had not been on the original party paperwork, I would not be allowed to speak. Jesse said he'd talked to the stage manager and it was a no go. I found the stage manager, "What up?" I asked of course.
  He explained that the lady on the stage (whom you can briefly see trying to crowd me out of my own shot) was the person in charge. I looked up and she was grimacing my way, holding some of my campaign lit. I went ahead and set up a display immediately and then sat on the otherwise empty front row, right in front of her. A couple of speakers had their turns while I kept staring at her and her 2nd in command, while they pointed at me occasionally, mouthed remarks between themselves (on stage in public) and intensely scowled my way. I replied by mouthing the words, "You've got to let me speak," silently, repeatedly, the harder she scowled the more emphatically I mouthed, "You've got to let me speak."
[Author's note; was this polite? No, not at all. Was that the intention? No, It was all or nothing. Having just driven so far and so well, it was ridiculous to surrender. My job wasn't to support her idea of decorum which was designed to stop me. My job was to speak. I focused.]
   Before long the mistress of ceremonies stopped the show entirely and said we were going to take a short break. Before she finished her sentence telling the audience they had ten minutes, I was at the edge of the stage: "You've got to let me speak."
  "Why? You know your paperwork isn't in order. If you don't have the paperwork, you don't get to speak."
  "I just drove 3 hours to be here, this is a 600 mile trip to be here at this time."
  "It is not 600 miles," she scoffed.
  "Round trip: I live in Kingman, but I came here from PHX and I still have to get home."
  "That is not my concern." She started shuffling her papers.
  I went for broke: "If you don't let me speak it is going to look like you have chosen to stop my message."
  She laughed again, "Why would any one think that?"
  And I turned quiet and serious: "Because I am going to do everything in my power to make sure it looks that way."
 And there was a moment ...
  Then she gulped and looked away, "You have one minute."
  When I bounced up to the stage manager, grinning and told him she gave me a minute, he said, "take two."
  On the original tape, the speech runs 2:30, just saying.
  If all this helps explain the odd tension in the room, then it is worth reading first; though I feel the video production of Mike Means and Gerald Arizona stand for themselves.
  One last note: The video trails w shots of the largely empty hallway. Yuma areaTea Party organizers tell me that 2 yrs ago they had packed the house in this hall at a Yuma city park. There were over 400 chairs set up. We let the tape run just a bit, so you could see how popular the Tea Party message is becoming, even to their own crowd. Now is the time to fight. No wonder they're scared of us winning ... because we are.

No comments:

Post a Comment