Introducing Mike Riordan
Editors note: these remarks were delivered at the January 7 PBCTP meeting at Abacoa Golf Club.
I realize that many of you don’t know who I am. In a moment I’ll introduce myself, but before I try, I first want to thank Pam Wohlschlegel and the board of directors. They have done a fantastic job under intense pressure and serious circumstances. Please take a moment to thank them for all they have done for this county and this country.
My name is Michael Riordan.
I think the most important thing for you to know right off the bat is that I did not vote for barrack Obama.
I was born and raised in Plymouth, MA the very place where 400 years ago the pilgrims, fleeing religious persecution in England, first set foot on American soil. It is known as America’s home town.
I was educated in public schools where the teachers still taught the Constitution and about American Exceptionalism. I went to college at Boston University where I began to study political science and where American Exceptionalism was starting to be called American Arrogance. I switched majors and graduated with a degree in Public Relations. However, I did not use it right away. Instead I returned to my high school. I became a special education teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities.
I spent almost a decade in the Plymouth Public Schools, but it was my last three years that plays a major role in why I am here. Through a series of events I still can’t quite figure out, I became the full time president of one of the largest public teacher’s unions in the state of Massachusetts. Along with a phenomenal executive board, I spent three years building and reorganizing that union into a formidable force in local and state politics.
It was a well-kept secret that I was a conservative and when I realized the true goals of the public sector unions . . . I resigned. I moved to Florida to begin a new life. I started a small, PR and Marketing business with my sister.
And that, in short, is who I am.
But it doesn’t answer the question of why I am standing in front of you now.
I suppose I am here for the same reasons that you are here. I believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are the greatest documents ever written. I believe they are miracles of human thought and evolution. I believe that the constitution is the roadmap to freedom and prosperity for all mankind. I believe that it is a document that has created the greatest country, the greatest people and the greatest standard of living the world has ever seen. And, I believe that this document, this miracle, is under attack. I am here, to join with you, to protect it.
On Election Day, when it became clear that the greatest country on Earth had re-elected a man who has shown no respect for the constitution or its principles, I was crushed. I resigned to keep my head down. We had lost. I was going to remove myself and my thoughts from politics. Finally, I was going to join the blissful masses and divert my attention to more important things like Jersey Shore and Honey BooBoo. And I was going to call my friends up and talk about it on my shiny, new Obama phone.
But then something happened. Terry Gallagher and the rest of the board approached me after the last Tea Party Meeting.
Unfortunately, my escape into ignorance was halted when they asked me to take over for Pam.
I declined at first, but I went home. I thought about the men and women who have come before us and I thought of their sacrifices. . . many we know. Names like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln are well known to us. . . But many names we don’t know.
I decided that to turn away now would be to dishonor the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on foreign soil. To turn away now would be to deny the dreams of the countless families who, for hundreds of years, have left everything they had and braved the oceans to reach our shores.
To turn away now would be a betrayal of the human soul and its absolute need to be free. To turn away now would be the guaranteed end of everything this country has ever stood for.
The choice was simple: lay down and hope for a good life, or stand up and fight for it. I am standing in front of you today because my mother and father did not raise a coward. AND, I suppose, neither did yours. So we will stand together.
But now, the question becomes . . . How? That, I’m afraid, is not so easy to answer.
There are two mistakes that we cannot allow ourselves to make. The first mistake would be to assume that our opponents are not capable simply because we disagree with their views. They won. We lost. They have a message that appeals to the masses. We don’t. That must change.
The second mistake would be to underestimate the levels to which our opponents will sink to get what they want. They will lie and cheat. They will use fear and propaganda. They will use perversions of the law to tie us in knots. They will use guilt and the good, compassionate nature of the American people to advance their agenda. They will produce despair and poverty and they will sell it as hope and change. They will be relentless.
I want to be clear: we will never stoop to those lows, but we must understand them. We must be prepared. We must accept that we play by the rules, but the playing field is not level. We cannot meet every month only to tell each other horror stories and scream that the sky is falling. We must be the beacon of hope, the heralds of freedom, the sources of truth. We must be teachers. We must remind people that this is the greatest country in the history of the planet. We must stay true to our 3 tenants, but we must communicate them better.
We believe in three things: Constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets. It is a truth, a sad truth, but those 3 beliefs do not mean the same things to all people.
We have to adapt. We have to communicate better. We must work with other groups . . . together . . . without ego or quarrel. For united we WILL stand.
I know that it seems bleak right now. Many of us see a future coming that is disheartening: A future where, for the first time in American History, our children will not have better lives than we have had . . . a future where our best days are behind us. In moments of doubt, in moments of weakness, I see that future.
But it is not our future. We are Americans. We are free to choose our future and that . . . IS . . . NOT. . . IT.
Our future is the realization of the dreams of our forefathers, ours is a future of hope. Our future is a future of prosperity. It is a future where America is the solution, not the problem. It is a future where America is an inspiration to freedom loving men and women the world over, not just those who live within our borders. Our future is bright. Our future is free.
I thank you . . . from the bottom of my heart . . . for allowing me to be a part of that future with you.