BY SHERLY JOURDAIN
Over 30 concerned citizens attended the documentary viewing of “Agenda: Grinding America Down” held by The Rockland County Tea Party Patriots on Sunday. The featured documentary chronicled how the filmmakers believe the political Left has been systemically dismantling the constitutional and moral framework of America, in order to move the country towards a more socialistic and ultimately, communist nation. Informing and motivating the public to action was the purpose of the event as head organizers Mr. and Mrs. Mary Ann and John Pennell and Mary Slattery distributed educational pieces.
Concerns over the current cultural and political climate were discussed after the film was shown, with the issues of political correctness and AGENDA 21—a detailed plan derived from the United Nations’ Earth Summit in 1992 in which sustainable development and other policies are encouraged locally and globally for environmental preservation—were briefly discussed.
Thiells resident and musician Pat Singer was among the attendees and learned of the event through an e-mail invitation. Having attended a previous Tea Party rally, she came to watch the film and to learn more about the Rockland Party Tea Party Patriots and how she can be more involved.
When asked what she took away from the film, she answered: “…I’ve done some reading on my own, so I’ve sort of knew that there is a socialist agenda going on in the country right now and the family is definitely under attack. And it was made more clear to me how exactly it’s happening and how it’s a lot more insidious than we realized. And that people really need to wake up or we’re going to lose our country.”
First time Tea Party attendee and Garnerville resident Gloria Sorci was invited to the event by her husband Dave and came out for educational purposes. “I belonged formerly to a veterans support group and I also work in the school system, so when I see things changing and I don’t see them changing for the better, I want to make sure that I’m informed so I can help pull us out of where we are right now.” One of the changes that people were concerned about was the recent passage and signage of the National Defense Authorization Act known as NDAA, of which Dave Sorci stated “[The NDAA] gave the President the ability to point to any American citizen and say ‘he’s a terrorist,’ have the military pick them up and hold them indefinitely without access to counsel. That’s never happened before. Congress passed it; the president signed it. That is terribly frightening.”
New City resident, day care owner and coordinator for the Rockland County Tea Party Patriots Mary Slattery has been in the Tea Party movement for two years. The movement, according to Slattery, is about limited government and restoring the U.S. Constitution to its rightful place in our nation’s policies, legislation and political process.
The showing of “Agenda” to the public was important because, “It explains clearly what has happened to our country. The progressives have gotten into every aspects of our lives…they’ve taken prayers out of our schools and I think that was a big mistake.” Slattery also conceded that the Bush Administration passed legislation that was against the constitution as well, but what galvanized many Tea Party members to action was the way Obamacare was passed. This time the movement is seeking to arm the public with information in hopes that people will become educated voters and not vote solely by party.
The Rockland County Tea Party Patriots split from Rally for America in 2009 over disagreement on whether the group should or should not endorse candidates. The organization currently has over 200 members on its listserv and holds monthly meetings. According to one of the group’s leadership, John Pennell, 2012 will be an important year for the movement and it will be a concerted effort of the Rockland County Tea Party Patriots to encourage voter participation. To those who are not convinced that their political involvement can make a difference, Pennell wanted to convey: “[People] can make a difference…We’re spending our country into oblivion and if people don’t do something about it, it’s going to get worse. The political class is destroying our country and we have to do something about it.”