Speakers promote activism, awareness, involvement during Freedom Rally
April 18, 2012
“My job is to insult, offend and stimulate Americans to do their own thinking. We don’t need someone to tell us to put our child in a car seat. We don’t want them hurt anymore than the government and when I become president they’re (car seats) going.”
— Singer/songwriter Joyce Shaffer
More than 50 local residents and one visitor from Alabama braved the cool air Tuesday for an afternoon filled with protest, music and Constitutional education.
The Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots tax day Freedom Rally, an annual event intended to educate local voters about the dealings in Washington, D.C., and inspire change, was headlined by singer/songwriter Joyce Shaffer, of Loma.
Shaffer, a Nashville recording artist and recent inductee into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, bases the bulk of her catalogue on recent events in America.
Her songs include titles such as "September 11," "America is Color-Blind," "Tucson," and "Takin' Back Our Country," which has received more than 340,000 hits on YouTube.
Not bashful about her conservative message, many of Shaffer's lyrics focus on patriotism, faith and what she refers to as an old-fashioned, common sense approach to problems like illegal immigration, terrorism and even car seats.
"My job is to insult, offend and stimulate Americans to do their own thinking," Shaffer said. "We don't need someone to tell us to put our child in a car seat. We don't want them hurt anymore than the government and when I become president they're (car seats) going.
"Use your own common sense and if you hurt that child you pay the consequences, but don't punish me."
Shaffer travels with an American flag she received from soldiers serving on the front lines in Afganistan.
"It travels with me everywhere I go, but it never gets packed," Shaffer said. "The thing I see lacking in America, besides faith, is common sense, but at least we are all appreciative of what our servicemen are doing to protect us, which wasn't always the case."
Shaffer sang more than a dozen original songs during the two-hour rally.
In between tunes, tea party members Matt Winey, Lynne Herring and Rick Barnes led short discussions about what the tea party stands for, the Constitution, and current legislation being debated at the state level in Denver and the national level in Washington, D.C.
But, it was Craig teen Cheyenne Ossen who stole the show when she read her nationally recognized speech about the U.S. Constitution.
She said she was inspired by President Ronald Reagan who once said the status quo is simply accepting the "mess we are in."
"I wrote this speech not only for competition, but also to fix the status quo," Ossen said.
Ossen compared the privilege of driving an automobile, which can be taken away for not following the rules of the road, with the public's responsibility to understand the "driving force" of the nation, the Constitution.
"The Constitution is our educational handbook," Ossen said. "Unfortunately, many people are driving our nation without full knowledge of what the Constitution says, while others are sitting in the backseat, enjoying all the rights and privileges of being a citizen without performing any of the duties that are required of them."
Those duties, Ossen contends, include running for public office, voting, enlisting in the Armed Services and serving jury duty.
"I know someone who refuses to vote and avoids jury duty," Ossen said. "When asked why, the person responded, 'These things don't really affect me and I'm not interested.'
"This statement astounded me. I cannot comprehend how the policies in Congress and the decisions our president makes does not affect our every day lives. The fact is you must put something into the government to get something out of it."
Barnes, who closed Tuesday's rally, echoed Ossen's message.
He said while traveling the county garnering signatures in his bid for the Moffat County Commission's District 2 seat, he happened upon countless 18- to 35-year-olds who have accepted an apathetic view of the political process.
"They told me they don't vote because they don't believe their vote counts, that their participation doesn't count," Barnes said. "That falls back on our shoulders as adults, as parents and grandparents because we didn't teach them better."
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