It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon in Mitchell Park on April 14. The trees were rustling with a light spring breeze, dogs were chasing Frisbees, children were screeching with joy on a neighboring jungle gym—and the local chapter of the Tea Party was raffling off a Weatherby 12-gauge pump-action shotgun.
Roughly 50 red-blooded, flag-hoisting county residents showed up to the rally, with the SLO Tea Party and perpetual Republican candidate for public office, financial planner Matt Kokkonen, playing host.
Kokkonen emceed the rally, which, judging from the amount of anti-taxation swag and signage present, was attended by a vast majority of GOP voters, Tea Partiers, and Libertarian sympathizers.
Local celebrity and former mayoral candidate Don Hedrick was in attendance, flanked by his iconic, home-made electric scooter, wearing the politically symbolic Guy Fawkes mask, which was made popular by the anti-government modern-day Orwellian film, V For Vendetta. Hedrick helped close the day’s events during the open mic but it was unclear where he places his political sympathies.
The rally featured several speakers, including a history teacher from the North County, Nathan Maas, who gave a historical account of a distant relative who he said sacrificed a great deal to secure his freedom as an American during the Revolution. Maas then, after some time, linked this back to the debt ceiling, the need for a more “accurate” telling of American history in public schools, and a subtle jab at gay marriage.
“It [the federal government] takes issue with the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman. Yeah … ,” Maas lamented. The crowd went wild.
A New Times reporter attempted to speak to a few attendees, who declined; one said New Times was “too frickin’ liberal” before walking away.
All in all, the event went off without much heckling and stuck primarily to fiscal-related issues. The gun raffle was $15 per ticket and some lucky unidentified citizen won the big prize, although he or she will have to wait the government-mandated clearance period to pick it up. ∆