Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Findlay Tea Party

Thursday afternoon, I took a drive up in absolutely perfect driving weather to Findlay, about 70 miles northwest of Columbus, to speak at its tea party. According to the Findlay Courier, the attendance was about 200, though it seemed smaller to me. Those present were quite diverse in age, mostly middle clase, and 1/4 to 1/3 were women.

I was the second of three speakers; having been preceded by Dr. Robert M. Wagner, who is well known in Central Ohio by his scientific arguments against the theory of global warming; and followed by Tony Steer, who impersonates the Virginia Anti-Federalist Patrick Henry, and who delivered his famous "give me liberty or give me death" speech.

At the beginning of my speech, many in the audience were skeptical of my thinking on nullification and secession, but its reaction toward the end turned quite favorable.

Joy Brown, the reporter at the Courier, found my speech difficult to cover. (Lesson learned: provide advance copies or try to make speeches more journalist-friendly) This is not a criticism of Ms. Brown: she was dealing with material that was undoubtedly very foreign to her experience and covering it as factually as possible.

Here was her account of my speech:

"It's warm today because we're turning up the heat on Washington," said Harold Thomas, a Columbus business analyst who also spoke Thursday.

Thomas, a states' rights proponent and blogger at, suggested Ohio secede if Congress does not revert to strict constitutional interpretation. He also called for citizens to place initiative petitions on the ballot to repeal federal

In a comment to the online article, I pointed out that nullification is not about "repealing" federal legislation, but to block its enforcement within Ohio. I also stressed in the speech that secession was to be used only as a last resort, once nullification and other efforts have been exhausted.

The rally itself did not encounter any hecklers, who appeared content to hit the comments to the Courier's coverage of the event. When I read the first few comments, I was surprised by the liberal tone of the remarks, given that Findlay has a reputation for being a very conservative area of the state. Fortunately, the later comments provided successful rebuttals, and even got one of the original commenters to think a bit -- which is what blogs and comments should do (including, maybe especially, this one).

Some might think me foolish for taking an afternoon off work for a 20 minute speech that took a four hour round-trip drive; but I found the experience well worth it, and look forward to more in the future.

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