Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sojourn to the Heartland

Arising from the sea of anxiety about this country's future is an island of optimism. Its name is Tyler, Texas. I traveled there last Thursday, October 22nd, to speak to a feisty, up-and-coming new group called Grassroots America - We the People. The trip was arranged through TOGINET radio, whose CEO and President, John Martin, is revolutionizing internet talk with his lineup of solid conservative programming backed by cutting edge technology.

Things moved pretty fast as soon as I arrived. We drove from the airport straight to the Toginet studios, high atop Toginet Towers overlooking beautiful downtown Tyler. Right away we went into the studio to record a show with the Grassroots America folks. Another interview was scheduled for that evening on another Toginet show, Politically Correct, as well.

While between flights earlier that day, I had participated in a panel discussion by cell phone on Crusade Radio with Lord Christopher Monckton. Lord Monckton is a highly regarded scientist and was the science advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He is traversing the United States raising the alarm bell over President Obama’s intention to sign a new global warming treaty at the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference in December. He was scheduled to speak to the U.S. Senate later that day, but we managed to get him scheduled for the show that evening. He was a great guest. Listen to the interview by going here and looking for his name under the “Recent Shows” heading on the right side of the page.

We the People

On Friday I spoke at a Grassroots America We the People “Call to Action” luncheon meeting. You can listen to the speech by going to Toginet’s GAWTP radio show, and look for the description of my speech under the “Recent Shows” heading.

Over the past year, the question I have been asked most frequently is, “What can we do?” People are frightened as never before. They are understandably anxious about the future, and as happens so frequently when the answer is not immediately apparent, despair that there may not be an answer.

My frequent response is that just because it is difficult to see the solution does not mean that there isn’t one. Despair never won any fight. Americans have repeatedly shown their ingenuity in the face of crisis throughout history. We may be late to stir, but once awoken are an amazingly resilient, dedicated and resourceful people. This is one of the many fruits of our freedom.

The left recognize this American spirit as a wildcard in the mix and are literally terrified of it. Joe Wilson’s spontaneous “You lie!” response to Barack Obama, and the left’s relentless campaign to discredit him afterward, despite Mr. Obama’s sweeping accusation of Republican lying mere minutes earlier, is one small example.

Grassroots America We the People is a big example of this great American spirit and goes a long way toward answering the question “What do we do?” Founder and President George Stephenson started the group on February 9th of this year as a weekly lunch meeting between himself and one other concerned activist. George had no experience in politics prior to the 2008 elections, when he was chosen as a precinct chairman.

This lunch meeting rapidly grew and attracted the attention of JoAnn Flemming, the formidable former Smith County Commissioner (and current GAWTP Board’s National Executive Director).
Eight months later the organization is 1,500 strong and growing every day. At least twelve other groups in surrounding counties have sprung up, inspired by GAWTP’s example.

GAWTP's strength lies in their focus on precinct level victories and they have created a simple cookie-cutter organizational model that can be replicated across the country. With the slogan, “Unite, Educate, Empower,” they call their strategy the County Model. It correctly recognizes that any successful effort to truly recapture America from the leftists must come from the ground up, and shows others how to do it.

Radical politicians at the national level get all the attention, and hence the focus of our outrage. But if every one were replaced tomorrow, there would still be a federal, state and local political and bureaucratic infrastructure in place dedicated to the same goals.

This destructive nest of termites has to be scoured completely out. They have insinuated themselves into our institutions at every level by stealth and duplicity. Honestly understood, they and their agenda could not survive, and GAWTP has developed the correct pest control formula.

The speech to the Friday GAWTP Call to Action meeting was well received. There was a brisk discussion following the speech and we used all of our allotted time.

Saturday I met with the group again to conduct a more informal, in depth seminar on the Manufactured Crisis Strategy. You can see the entire presentation on, here.

Again, the group was interested and animated, and we had an extensive question and answer period that used up all available time. I could have stayed all day talking with these good people.

Southern Hospitality

In addition to providing two days of very successful meetings, the folks in Tyler dished out southern hospitality in Texas-sized proportions. We dined on home-cooked southern dishes and saw the sights.

Our visit culminated with a trip to Gladewater, Texas’ famous Sacred Spur Ranch. Its storied history includes being home to the renowned Buzzard Breath barrel racing arena – the site of many competitions – and a barrel and reigning horse training facility with thirteen World Championships and twenty Reserve World Championships to its credit.

The ranch is also a night hotspot featuring popular country western acts and far and away the best ribs I have ever tasted.

Saturday night’s lineup featured the great Paula Nelson (Willie Nelson’s daughter and a star in her own right), who was at the Ranch to celebrate her birthday. Rudy Mata and the Ranch Hand Band, warmed things up, and Billy Joe Shaver, who Ranch owner Bob Miller called “My favorite songwriter and human being… the real deal… the original honky tonk hero,” closed the night with an unforgettable set.

Toginet Radio records the Saturday concerts held at the Sacred Spur, and this night was no exception. Unlike Blogtalk and other internet radio venues, Toginet (pronounced toh-gee-net) sounds as clear and sharp as FM. Listen to the whole concert! Go here and look for “Paula Nelson’s Birthday Party” under “Recent Shows.”

The show went from 7 pm to sometime past midnight. Present among the crowd was another Toginet celebrity, Eric Williams, the NFL defensive lineman who helped carry the Washington Redskins to Super Bowl history in 1991. Eric retired from football in 1993 and has relocated to Tyler. Now he co-hosts the Toginet radio show, Cowboys and Indians.

Walking among the crowd with his camera ever at the ready for a clandestine shot was the accomplished photographer, Dale Stenbroten. Dale is the owner of SR, and has done portraits for such noted stars as Dennis Hopper, Jay Leno and Robert DeNiro. His photography is also featured in national magazines such as Oprah Winfrey’s “O,” Vanity Fair and many others.

With offices already in four locations around the country, Dale was impressed with his visit to Texas and is planning to open a studio in Houston. All photos in this article were provided courtesy of SR

Jim 'n Paula

It was a fantastic night of kick-ass country music and culminated in some entertaining antics. I had told my wife earlier that I was going to be “rubbing elbows” with the rich and famous, in the person of Paula Nelson, to which she replied: “Just make sure you keep it to the elbows.”

Paula is a really good sport and played up the gag to the hilt with this ad-libbed bit of theatre. The other folks in attendance were literally rolling on the ground laughing.

Fire & Brimstone

The morning after “rubbing elbows” with Paula, I felt a pressing need for redemption and hurried off to hear John C. Martin, President John Martin’s father, preach at his Community Presbyterian Church.

Pastor Martin preaches the old-fashioned way. He prepares. John reads and diligently translates the Bible from its original texts in Greek and Hebrew. He is a genuine Biblical scholar and has written numerous books on the subject. Read the description here about how he exhaustively prepares for each Sunday.

Pastor Martin’s sermon literally blew my socks off. Nothing like the mealy-mouthed pap you get at most churches these days, he teaches the Word unapologetically, with power born of knowledge and faith. This was followed by a question and answer session, which resolved doctrinal questions I had about Bible passages discussed in the sermon. Tyler is indeed blessed to have such a gifted preacher.

God may not forgive me for having such a great time. Just the same, I can honestly say I have rarely come away from a place feeling so revitalized, energized, and with a new sense of purpose.