Hundreds of local Tea Party enthusiasts packed Coarsegold Historic Village on the Fourth of July for the Third Annual Family Freedom Fest - a well-paced, smoothly organized, passionately presented four hour celebration of traditional American values.
Along with outstanding weather, numerous childrens' activities, vendor booths, craft exhibits and abundant variety of festive "fun food," the gathering's central focus was a nonstop lineup of spirited speakers, all of whom, in varying degrees, extolled clearly Conservative political perspectives.
Emceed by Dr. Bill Atwood, the program began with a Color Guard presentation of the flag, a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance and a brief invocation by Pastor Bill Rushing of Yosemite New Life Church.
The first speaker was Jim Franklin, a senior pastor of Fresno's Cornerstone Church and daily radio host on Christian talk station 1670 AM, KGED. Under the heading, "What Made America Great," Franklin urged the audience to "Pray, Proclaim and Participate," stressing the value of ongoing activism above and beyond merely voting on election day and suggesting that all remember the American Revolution signaled a change in national leadership, replacing the King of England with a true King -- Jesus Christ.
Next in the lineup was Steve Brandau, a Central Valley Tea Party coordinator and candidate for the Fresno City Council, who discussed "Liberty in Motion," emphasizing that our Founding Fathers engaged in heated discussions on almost every aspect involved in the writing of their new Constitution and that such fiery dialogue represented enormous value, even as it does today in honest debate of contemporary issues.
Citing "The Gladiator" as a fitting example of what one man can do against the many and the Alamo as a symbol of brave patriotism proudly displayed in the face of death, Brandau additionally condemned the recent Supreme Court decision on national health care, strongly endorsed the concept of national exceptionalism and promised, without qualification, to "vote down all taxes."
Attendees were then treated to a unique and poignant recitation of "The Declaration of Independence" by impressively costumed children under the direction of Kim Shea and Rebecca Kohout, all of whom excelled at their carefully prepared and well-delivered presentation.
U.S. Representative for California's 4th District and former assemblyman and state senator, Congressman Tom McClintock, then addressed the audience on "The Principles of Freedom," specifically citing "Service Employees International Union thugs" as a threat to free enterprise and characterizing Chief Justice John Roberts' ruling on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as "an abomination" and "utterly catastrophic."
Reading from prepared notes, McClintock urged all to fight for their children against those seeking to limit freedom instead of limiting government as he endorsed without qualification the espoused goals of the national Tea Party movement.
The hottest rhetoric of the day was provided by keynote speaker Jesse Lee Peterson, author, radio host and founder of the South Central Los Angeles Tea Party. Peterson disavowed being referenced as an "African-American," preferring that color and race be set aside in political discussion. He believes blacks are the only true "racists," having been duped into dependence upon and subservience to the federal government from Lyndon B. Johnson and The Civil Rights Act of 1964 onward.
Using the "N-word" a half dozen times, Peterson's most definitive statement described "Barack Hussein Obama" as a "far-left," "liberal," "white-hating," "black liberation theology believing," "wealth redistributing," "weak," "poor excuse of a man" -- words greeted with thunderous and sustained applause.
Peterson explained how the black communities corrupt leadership with figures such as Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and Maxine Walters are nothing more than scam artists who profit off the hatred and disorder they foster in the black community.
Concluding remarks were provided by former 19th District Congressman George Radanovich who spoke on "Cornerstones for Real Change in America," and college student Meg Bachman on "Reaching the Youth.
Assemblywoman and Chief Republican Whip, Kristin Olsen, detailed "How California Can Restore the Founding Fathers' Vision." Olsen promised she can still be counted on to represent true conservative values in her newly defined 12th District.
The Freedom Fest ended with emotionally charged words from Oakhurst/Coarsegold Tea Party Coordinator and Freedom Fest organizer John Pero, wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July and challenging all to engage fully and without reservation in the defense of Freedom.
Madera County 5th District Supervisor Tom Wheeler, fresh from competing in North Fork's Annual Logger's Jamboree the preceding Sunday, joined in the festivities, as did First District Supervisor Frank Bigelow, who was warmly greeted by enthusiastic supporters in his Fifth District State Assembly race against Rico Oller.
Throughout the proceedings, Alison Sharino and a group of accompanying musicians provided musical interludes and dramatic introductory staging for all of the various speakers.
"Our speakers presented inspiring messages about the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, and a clear and bold message about honoring and defending our republic form of government," John Pero, Coarsegold/Oakhurst Tea Party coordinator stated after the event. "Each speaker not only said what was wrong in our political system today but how to fix the problems. They extolled the audience to practice their civic duty to vote by becoming informed on issues, working for candidates that share the same values, and voting intelligently for conservative, constitutional and fiscally responsible candidates."
Pero said it is the Tea Party's hope that Freedom Fest inspired area residents to be more involved in their local, state and federal government and to vote out the tax and spend politicians from both parties and restore our nation back to Constitutional Limited government as outlined in the Constitution.
"By becoming fiscally responsible with our entitlement programs and by promoting free markets and cutting the regulations and tax burdens against businesses we can restore the greatness of our country again," Pero said.
The next Coarsegold/Oakhurst Tea Party action meeting will be held at the Best Western Yosemite Gateway Restaurant at 6:30 p.m. July 17.