By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
Although the audience was small, speakers were determined to energize people to do more than vote, become involved in public decisions, and influence others.
"Pick your candidates' brains," said Sherry Ferguson, a founding organizer of the Marshall County TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party that sponsored the rally and candidate forum Saturday in Rock Creek Park.
"We want you to be a sponge" and soak up all the information possible to make intelligent decisions, Ferguson said.
Warm, breezy weather made the outdoor venue a perfect place to contemplate some of the points made by speakers such as David Fowler, introduced by Ferguson as a "champion for liberty." He's a WWTN FM Nashville talk show host.
"It's popular to no longer be known as a liberal," Fowler said, adding that some liberals prefer to be called progressive, a description he claims, although he's probably perceived by many as a conservative.
"When you're on the wrong road, making a U-turn is progressive," Fowler said. "Americans believe we're on the wrong road."
Fowler is "tired of hearing about rights" to health care and abortion, he said, questioning whether there's anything to support such a claim. Individual rights come from God, he said.
"We've forgotten that there is a moral order to our universe," he said, contending immorality has financial consequences for the individual as well as society. One example is teen pregnancy since, statistically, half of those girls are less likely to graduate from high school, and half of the others aren't likely to graduate from college.
That adversely affects a nation's workforce and therefore the country's economic viability, he said.
"Morality does matter," he said, including other examples of how public health care costs rise as a result of questionable behavior and limit a society's ability to thrive.
Another speaker served as moderator for the candidate forum: Ken Marrero is a political activist and Internet blogger known as the blue-collar muse.
Acknowledging attendance of about 40 people, including speakers, relatives and organizers, Marrero told a Bible story about Gideon's selection of his troops. Ultimately, they were soldiers who scooped water to their lips as they continued to keep an eye on what's around them, instead of bending over to drink from the river.
Those observant soldiers were compared by Marrero to those who came to the TEA Party rally.
"You're still interested in the fight, so you're still here," he said.
Marrero quoted Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey as saying, "'It matters who governs,'" but the self-described blue collar muse added his take on the situation, "It matters who decides."
That was part of his presentation leading to the candidate forum.
State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) was the only incumbent attending. He will represent Marshall County if he's re-elected to the new senate district created by state lawmakers using U.S. Census data.
Candidates seeking party nominations to run for other legislative positions were: Brenda Lenard who's challenging U.S. Sen. Bob Corker for the Republican nomination to run for Senate; Billy Spivey and Travis Monroe who are both GOP candidates for their party's nomination to run for the new 92nd District House seat; and Mary Rene Baxter who's campaigning in the Aug. 2 Democratic Primary for the nomination to run for the 92nd District House seat.