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Tea party one for me was last year, in Pleasanton, Calif., where several thousand people gathered to express dissatisfaction with the direction of the country on a variety of levels. I was asked to speak to the crowd. Many knew me from my writings on WND and my hosting conservative talk radio on KSFO in San Francisco.

There was nothing special about any of us. We were typical Americans – individuals united in citizenship and dedication to the freedoms this country represents.

Several things impressed me – the enthusiasm of the crowd, its well-mannered behavior, the attendance that included single men and women of all ages, families with children and people of all races and creeds and professions and economic levels and finally, when it was all over, their respect for the location. They left the spacious green lawns absolutely free of litter. That, in itself, was remarkable, given how crowds in this country generally are inconsiderate slobs.

But there was something more important that deeply impressed me: the number of people who spoke privately to me about their concern for the political direction of this country.

The common thread among those conversations was that those people were legal immigrants to this country from Europe, mostly Eastern Bloc countries. These people had lived under communism and Nazism. They know what that means and what freedoms are sacrificed. They survived and escaped.

They came to the United States to be free of those strictures on their lives and futures, and to their horror, they see the seeds of the same restrictive government policies being imposed.

They begged me to please tell people the truth about what’s happening before it’s too late. Their anxiety was palpable.

Last week was my tea party two. I drove from the post office, where I mailed my income-tax forms and the checks (ouch!) covering them, and then on to the city of San Jose for the gathering.

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year because the support of the tea-party idea had mushroomed into a grass-roots phenomenon across the country. In my area alone, there were three major gatherings with a number of smaller efforts, attracting thousands.

We were warned that disruptors had strategized infiltration to bring down the events. Liberal media wrote that the tea parties were meaningless, right-wing rantings.

Polls reported that the only people there would be 45-year-old, angry, white, rich males and I would be surrounded by them as they carried signs calling for the overthrow of the Obama government.

They were wrong in more ways than one.

I was surrounded, yes, but by Americans of all ages, backgrounds and ethnic heritages – people who love their country, care about it for our future and for the futures of our children and grandchildren.

This year I was asked to be master of ceremonies and to speak to the crowd. It was my honor and a pleasure to meet so many people who treasure the country and the freedoms we must protect.

The event was held at Cesar Chavez Park, a smallish island of green in downtown surrounded by high-rise offices and hotels. The park literally is like an island with the street totally encircling it. It would have been an easy target for dissenters to drive circles around the park and the crowd, blaring their horns. They didn’t. The only horns we heard were from people waving flags and supporting the country.

We were treated to “The Star-Spangled Banner” played on a saxophone by Danny Hull, one of the Doobie Brothers. He made a point to urge me to keep spreading the word and congratulated all that we’ve done.

Thank you, Danny.

We had two speakers from San Jose State University – a woman economics professor and a senior engineering student who wowed the crowd with his experiences as a conservative student and of his relationship with his still-living grandfather who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

What a welcome surprise to find such open conservatives on a liberal campus!

The theme of all the speakers, and the feeling of those in attendance – judging by their reaction to speeches and the signs they carried – was that we’re in trouble in this country and need to get back on course.

My core message was that we must remember that any level of government can make laws and regulations, but they’re meaningless without us submitting. The only purpose of those laws is control – to control everything we do, have and think.

Benjamin Franklin reminded early patriots that “if you make yourselves sheep, wolves will eat you.”

He was right then, and it applies now.

We’ve been sheep too long – too trusting of government. The wolves are at our door, right now. We see them and see what they’re doing. We know the consequences. These government intrusions against our Constitution and our freedoms as Americans must be stopped.

Remember those immigrants at my first tea party who expressed concern about our loss of freedoms? They were there last week, too. Not the same individuals but people who had escaped the same strictures of communism and who fear what’s happening now.

They’re not extremists. They’re simply stating what they lived through and that they don’t want to experience it again.

They know if the United States is lost, there’s nowhere else to go. We are the core of freedom on the planet, and Americans must protect it.

I started the chant: “We must be heard! We will be heard!”

We were heard that day in San Jose, all over California, and indeed across the country.

We are no longer sheep.

The opposition is frightened.

Good!

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