The much anticipated Tea Party National Convention kicked off yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. The event is taking place at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel just outside of downtown. Security was tight, with event coordinators not wishing to allow any chance for disruption. The registration for the event took place between 3 and 6pm when attendees received a gift bag stuffed with freebies and information about the events sponsors.
The registration room was an open hallway lined with media on one side and sponsors’ booths on the other. Sponsors included Judicial Watch, Jensen Apparel, Leadership Institute, and Surge USA. At 7:00pm attendees were ushered inside the grand ballroom, which had about 30 small tables for four and 400 seats surrounding an elaborate stage. Before taking seats, the masses were treated to hors’dourves of coconut shrimp and pulled pork canapé while the event’s organizer, Judson Phillips, took to the stage. Forgetting his notes didn’t help him remember the long list of sponsors he was supposed to thank, and after several awkward flubs Phillips collected himself enough to introduce former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo to the stage to a standing ovation. Tancredo stood smiling at the crowd and waving before starting off his speech with “I’m Tom Tancredo and I drive a Harley!” He quickly moved on from the topic of motorcycles, however, to get to his main target: immigrants.
He stated that many of the people who voted Obama into office “can’t even spell the word vote or even speak English,” which brought loud applause from the crowd. He said that it was a good thing that McCain didn’t win the election otherwise we would be see him and Rep. Gutierrez receive awards from NCLR for introducing and implementing an amnesty bill. He went on to talk about the “cult of multiculturalism” which is “aided by leftists.”
He issued a warning to the crowd that “our culture is at stake” and that our culture “is based on Judeo-Christian values whether people like it or not!” Near the end of his speech Tancredo announced to the crowd that he was going to be working with Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA (an anti-immigrant group with strong ties to white nationalists) at their breakout session on Friday. He encouraged people to attend the session and thanked Roy Beck and NumbersUSA for all their good work.
It is obvious that Beck and Tancredo are trying to push the issue of immigration to the forefront of the tea party movement, something that was explicitly clear during Tancredo’s speech. The acts that followed paled in comparison to Tancredo, who definitely stole the first night spotlight of the three day event. Tancredo was followed by two musical acts and a prayer led by Dr. Rick Scarborough before the movie, Tea Party, A Documentary was screened.
Stay tuned to Imagine2050 for more updates on the first ever Tea Party National Convention.