This is not just an idea anymore…it’s a movement! The Fair Tax movement.
What else do you call an event about something as dull and boring as the U.S. Tax Code that draws almost 7,000 to a rally? About 4,500 people got inside the doors, which had to be closed due to the 50,000 square foot Gwinnett Convention Center being at capacity at SIX THIRTY P.M.! The rally didn’t start for another hour, yet another almost 3,000 had to be turned away. People drove from Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and all over the southeast. Hindsight being 20/20, I’ve heard some of them express disappointment over radio because they only heard the broadcast en route to the rally, and at 6:30 they weren’t even in Georgia yet. They knew they had to turn around and go home, but every single one said that next time, they’ll come a day or two in advance! Some who were turned away simply went to their cars and “tail-gated” with fellow Fair Taxers so they could all listen to the rally as WSB Radio broadcast it live.
After all, who knew there would even be a thousand that would attend? Neal Boortz, the co-author of the Fair Tax Book, certainly didn’t think so himself. In fact, when Neal took the stage at about 8PM, the old curmudgeon was visibly moved. But that’s just where it all begins. Let me take you inside the event in my memory.
I left my office at 3PM, drove 35 miles through horrific Atlanta traffic, and was about the 1,500th person in line. You could feel the passion in the air as attendees clutched their books, displayed their buttons or signs, or signed petitions that were being passed around. We slowly made our way into the Convention Center, and it was packed already. The setup was fantastic, with huge screens dangling from the ceiling above just about every seating section, so everyone was guaranteed a good view of what was going on on the stage. Neal has some fantastic pictures at his site. Here’s a couple of them.
(Photos by Carrie Carden)
Here’s what the inside of the Convention Center looked like, and above is what a portion of the line looked like just to get inside. I am not even a SPECK at the end of this line!
These are just a few of the supporters waving their signs of support inside the center.
Once I got inside, I hunted down a t-shirt, but to no avail – sold out. I did get a signed book, well, two actually, and a “fairtax.org” stamp for money:
What the heck… I figure if I stamp all of my bills, at least ONE of them might prompt someone who knows nothing about HR25/S.25,HR5 to at least look at the bill they’ve just been given from the store clerk, go “what’s fair tax?” and then go to the internet to read about it. Oh, well… back to the rally…
Neal was first up, and spoke to a rousing applause. He told us of how awed he was by the turn-out, and that it spoke volumes to him of just what this had become. He was actually surprised because he thought people wouldn’t come because it was the night of the American Idol finale (oh, please!). He also let us know that not only did the Gwinnett Convention Center DONATE the facility and time, but the stage, lighting, sound equipment, video screens, etc., were also all donated for the cause!
Neal spoke about the Fair Tax, then introduced Congressman John Linder. They both engaged the audience in rapt attention, raucous applause, and cat-calls when the IRS was mentioned. Then, as we’d been promised, Congressman Linder came bearing good news. In the past week, Hastert’s office had been in contact with Linder’s office, and Hastert has set aside a one-hour block of face-to-face time for Congressman Linder to discuss the Fair Tax (HR25) with President Bush! That eclipsed the other good news we would receive by video from Sen. Saxby Chambliss later on, that finally Sen. Johnny Isaakson has signed on to co-sponsor the bill with Sen. Chambliss!
Then Sean joined the fray. Sean came prepared with written questions he’d gotten from his listeners that day as he broadcast from Neal’s studio at WSB Radio. Sean proposed the questions to both Congressman Linder & Neal, and you know that Neal brought the most howls with his wry sense of humor.
As they talked up the Fair Tax, Congressman Linder reminded us that before the Revolutionary War, a clear 2/3 of the people didn’t want to have anything to do with a battle against the British Crown. But due to the hard work and persistent of a few determined people who yearned for their liberty, they fought all rationality and the majority who were okay with the status quo, and forged ahead to secure that very freedom that we have today. If it weren’t for those determined few, who knows what our America would be like today? Many thanks go to them.
Sean had to hurry off to do Hannity & Colmes from the Atlanta Fox affiliate, so he came in specifically to be with us for that 20-minute period of time. Sean really gets it. Next up, former senatorial candidate, Herman Cain.
For those of you who’ve never been blessed enough to hear Herman Cain speak, you have no idea what you’re missing. I am really sorry he lost out that campaign to Johny Isaakson in GA, because Herman Cain is TRULY a dedicated REAGAN conservative Republican, and he is wholly behind the Fair Tax. In fact, he sits in for Neal on his show when Neal’s out. Neal’s affiliates will accept NO OTHER substitute except for Herman Cain. Otherwise, they prefer to just run a “best of” in Neal’s absence.
Herman regaled us with anecdotal stories about his grandfather, who was a poor Georgia dirt farmer. He remembered that going into town, his grandfather used to say to the kids “them that’s goin, get in the truck.. them that’s stayin, GET OUT OF THE WAY!” The audience went WILD! He reminded us that those who want to forge ahead and make change in the world should use that analogy in our lives if we want to affect change. He had the audience, at the appropriate times, shouting “GET OUT OF THE WAY!” A lot of people were yelling “AMEN, REV. CAIN!” I don’t know if he’s a reverend or not, but he definitely moves me. In fact, the gentleman next to me said “Lord, if he keeps this up, I’m gonna start speaking in tongues!” That was not only humorous, it was also true. Herman Cain is riveting. He didn’t stop there.
He continued stories about his grandfather, about when all the potatoes had been pulled from the ground and loaded on his truck, that all the kids would load in the truck with him. He said his grandfather didn’t take the smooth, already-dug grooves in the road. Rather, his grandfather drove over every bump, rock, rut, etc., and when they came to the market, he asked his grandfather, “why didn’t you just take the regular road instead of making the ride so rough?” He said it was then he noticed that back in the truck bed, all the big potatoes had risen to the top; and all of the little potatoes had settled at the bottom. Then he turned his attention directly forward, and forcefully shouted “.. and YOU people ARE THE BIG POTATOES!”
My God, I though it was the second coming! Would the roof stay on? Or would the trembling of the building turn out to be just be the response of the crowd? Either way, it was absolutely electrifying! And talk about feeling empowered.. WOW! I have goosebumps just remembering it as I write! He definitely had the crowd motivated, and that’s what made us feel so good. That we ARE the ones who want change, and are determined enough to see it through. There was also a tangible sense of camaraderie in the building, as if we have all just been reminded of our mission, and accepted the challenge.
John Stossel of ABC also came to speak for a few minutes, and he gave us this amazing tidbit: 1% of the people of this planet affect change; 9% of the people watch change being affected; and the other 90% wake up one day and say “what happened?” We ARE that One Percent!!!
I’m sick to death of those people who support the Fair Tax, but don’t participate in these events or even sign petitions because of their defeatist attitudes. “Oh, it’s a good idea, but it will never happen,” or “well, it won’t really work because of XYZ.” If our founding fathers had had that attitude, then… well, I don’t even want to ponder that lunacy.
If the patriots of the revolutionary war can do something as monumental as they did, then can’t this bunch of “potatoes” do even less? Let’s do it, everyone… let’s get rid of the IRS, and get the government out of our lives!
Folks, I’m here to tell you; after what I witnessed at the rally, I cannot and will not be defeatist about it. Everything good or bad that exists today in our country was brought about by grassroots movements. And if there’s one thing I learned last Wednesday, it is this: IT’S POSSIBLE!
Buy the book TODAY (click the above link). Heck, buy 2 or 5, and send them to friends! And many thanks to the Americans for Fair Taxation, who sponsored the event. Group President Ken Hoagland (right) also spoke to a roundly appreciative crowd.
If you have Comcast cable, you may be able to see video of this rally free from Comcast’s On-Demand service. Details are here.
The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry or Jonathan. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.