Sunday evening's "TEA party" may have been advertised as nonpartisan, but the Flag Day event was filled with people highly critical of President Barack Obama and expressing fear that America as we know it is in a state of decline.
"The enemy occupies the White House. The enemy occupies the halls of Congress," former KFBK radio talk show host Mark Williams told a crowd of about 200 at Lodi's All-Veterans Plaza.
Several speakers uttered their disdain for the state of the economy, the federal government continuing to raise taxes, and the feds taking over the banks and auto industry.
"We are not Republicans, we are not Democrats - we are Americans," Williams said.
The TEA party, also known as Taxed Enough Already, included some songs by three girls from El Dorado Hills, a review of the American flag's history, remarks from two people born in eastern Europe who became American citizens, and a plea for tax fighters to get more people involved as the Democrats have successfully done.
Sunday's event also had a Republican voter registration table and several Republican buttons, many of them promoting former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. One button read, "Liberalism is a mental disorder," and another read, "Sarah Palin for President 2012." Yet another had pictures of Palin and Ronald Reagan together.
Stefan Simandi, who moved to Lodi 28 years ago from Romania, said he was surprised when he first came to the United States at how often Americans burned their own country's flag. He also urged everyone to worship Jesus because He is the key to keeping America a superior country.
"If you lose Jesus, you'd be like the other countries today," Simandi said.
Bill Cruz, a 26-year Lodi resident, said he was upset that only 200 people or fewer showed up to Sunday's TEA party and that attendees ranged in age from 55 to 70.
"At the next meeting, we better have 10 times as many people," Cruz said. "Call somebody younger than you. If you don't get five people to come with you, don't bother coming. We might as well mail in the country to the Democrats."
In their words"To me, a political moderate is someone who doesn't trust himself and can't decide right from wrong."
- Steve Spatola, of Stockton, retired Army colonel
"This country is being quickly dismantled by our
- Rhonda Sasaki, of Lodi
"Lord, you will not allow people to shun your name."
- Ken Owen, while giving invocation
"The American flag is the most hated flag, the most loved flag,
the most honored flag in the world."
- Stefan Simandi, of Lodi, a Romanian immigrant
"It's not right vs. left. It's right vs. wrong."
- Mark Williams, former KFBK radio talk show host