This is the first speech I have ever written and I am glad I did it!
I admit that by the time I got to the podium, especially following the long line up of excellent orators, I was feeling very much out of my element and not articulate in the least. “Winging it ” has sufficed when in the past I have needed to say a few words, but I fear I would have been at a complete loss without my thoughts on paper this time.
When I was asked to speak, I wanted to say “No way!” But I couldn’t because I spend so much of my time sharing with people what I have learned about how they really can make a difference. It is a priority for me and I would have felt a coward to turn down an opportunity to get to talk to so many at one time just because I was nervous.
In retrospect, I did the right thing.
I have had so many people contact me to say that they are going to take me up on my offer which was to accompany them to their capitol anytime they wish and show them around. I know many people that knew a whole lot more about the state legislature and how to influence legislation than I do, but have found that it does not take long for people to become comfortable with the idea of stopping by and once they know their way there, they never forget and that door is always an open one to them. Advocating for your self is something we all do every day and that is exactly what we are doing when we communicate with our officials.
Helping people to find a way to turn their frustration into effective action, this is one thing I can do. I enjoy it. There is just not enough people who are engaged but there are so many that want to be, that are ready but just need an introduction. It never occurred to me that all of those people showing up to the Tea Parties would be satisfied with continuing to show up and vent. It seems a natural progression to go from angry to active. I have heard the July 4th Tea Party be criticized for being too political- I am at a loss as to how to answer to that.
I only saw an amazingly supportive crowd that seemed to be listening attentively to each speaker, in fact, I felt a great deal of support from the participants and felt among friends. I know that there was a diversity of opinions among all that were there but we all had one thing in common. We are gravely concerned about the direction our country is headed.
The organizers worked with single mindedness to achieve two goals; putting on an event that supported the airing of our frustration and enabling connection with others like them.
I don’t know if you noticed but the flagpoles and podium were created by hand by one Al the Carpenter. I attended the first meeting of the would be organizers without knowing that it was to be such a meeting for those who wished to hold the event on the 4th that had been cancelled.
Al scared the heck out of me! A long time Republican and all around good guy that was there brought up the subject of the necessity of supporting good candidates and Al reacted with swift hostility that surprised me-until I realized the purpose of the meeting. He was defending this grassroots event from any possible encroachment by political haymakers. I know a little more about Al now and he is far from hostile. He is decidedly passionate about the Tea Parties and I like that! He is the one that crafted the needed items on stage. If you got really close you would have seen the amazing work that was done on the finishing of these things. Even the wooden stage fronts were antiqued white with artful patches rubbed away and crackled as if with age. The colors that showed through the white were red and blue. It was just gorgeous! Little details that were not necessary to functionality at all and probably unnoticed by most but someone took the time to make these necessary items works of art! Because it mattered to them.
Every single detail was attended to by this team with that much care, in that little time. They were so on point that I never got the chance to find out what political party they ascribed to. I do not know-we didn’t talk of politics, only practicalities. It might surprise Tea Party goers that I was the ‘old hand’ among them, having been active in politics for now a year and a half. The organizers many times asked for my opinion on this or that speaker or this or that group. I was as honest and as fair as I could be and was humbled by the trust they extended me. My circle is wide by some measures but I am a conservative and have not had much opportunity to get to know many outside that arena.
When I began my foray into the political arena, I reached out to any and all that I saw advocating for constitutional issues. As I planned and attended events, met with various groups and worked with others there were always a notable few who were nearly always present and working beside me. I scrutinized them of course, to see if they were on the philosophical page that I was. I found some better matches than others, as far as I could tell but as I became more focused and involved, I simply forgot the differences and realized that the people I saw every time I lifted my head for a breather, were in fact, my allies. Whatever differences we might uncover down the road are simply not at issue right now. Until I came to this realization I worried over what our differences might be and what that would mean, but once I actually got to work my concerns on this count necessarily evaporated. This is what I tried to share with the participants of the 4th of July Tea Party with my little speech.
If any imbalance was apparent as to speakers or groups with tables, you may blame me, the “seasoned pro” for poor advisement to my new friends who went to great pains to see that everything was just so. I answered their questions as honestly as I knew how and gave as broad a perspective as I am capable of.
In the future I would like nothing more than to see a much broader sample of Oklahomans participating in these types of events. In the meantime, there is no need to be harsh with any of these people. They will learn by trial and error as we all do and I have not a shred of doubt as to their motives.
None of these people had to do anything, but because they cared, they jumped in and did something. In my book they are all heroes and patriots. I honor their efforts and wholeheartedly believe that the majority of people who showed up last Saturday feel the same way. Stepping up to the podium, one is keenly aware of the mood of the crowd, and I felt decided acceptance and support for the efforts put forth.
I would like to thank everyone who turned out- I have little love for “politics” but people like you give me great hope for the future of Oklahoma and America.
July 4th 2009 OK. State Capitol Tea Party
speech by Kaye Beach
You are just the people I want to talk to.
Despite confusion, misinformation, the heat, busy schedules, you made it a priority to come today.
This means you have the right stuff!
Who am I?
I am just one person who is fears that my generation will be the one that witnesses the last gasp of a dying America.
I am not an organizer, a leader, a researcher, a writer or a lobbyist.
I am not a public speaker.
I dislike confrontation and find politics depressing, but over the last couple of years I have done all of those things.
Did I do them well?
Not particularly, but what matters is that I did what I could.
I even did what I couldn’t because it needed to be done.
If you are here today and you make a few calls on Monday and maybe next week you send an email to your representative, if you inspire another to do the same-you are a hero.
You don’t have to do anything, but if you choose to do something to help our country-you are a Patriot.
Now, if I revealed to you all my most cherished beliefs, my political peculiarities my philosophy in general, some would applaud, some would laugh and some might even scorn me. So, instead I will tell you what really matters.
I am afraid and I am angry. I believe my government is going astray from its intended purpose. I do not feel that I am being fairly considered or justly represented.
Do these statements strike a chord with you?
Good! We have just found common ground and this means that you and I can work together in some fashion.
I think we are short on time.
I believe that our house is on fire and all I want to know is can you grab a hose, get a bucket or even just spit.
Look behind me.
This is where I concentrated my efforts during the last legislative session. I want to tell you what I learned;
I learned that persistence pays.
I learned that a small number of people concentrating on a shared goal can completely alter the course of legislation.
I found that even small groups working together have an effect that is much greater than what they could achieve with each acting on their own.
I wish I could tell you that I learned all of this from the actions taken by myself and my allies, but the politicians are the masters of the art of keeping their eyes on the prize. They understand the value of allies and coalitions.
They do not compromise on what is essential and rarely burn bridges, but when they do they make sure it is one that they can afford.
Whether sinner or saint, it is true that there is strength in numbers.
Allies are the people beside you with a hose, a bucket or maybe just spitting.
Please, remember this;
If they are fighting the same fire that you are right now, then they are your allies.
I sincerely hope the day will come that we can afford the luxury of arguing over the finer points with one another.
Our America is fading and I am compelled to demand of myself and plead with you all;
Be radically tolerant of your countrymen and utterly relentless with your lawmakers.
Until we recover our Republic-we are all allies.
If you are interested in ways to improve our government, please see Grassroots Activism Whole Lot of “How To” for ideas, information and guides.
If I can help in any way, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org . I gain inspiration through connecting with others who share my excitement in finding concrete ways to effect our government for the better!