Richard DeJohn Transcript

Interview with Carrollton Tea Party leader Richard DeJohn at his home in Carrolton, Texas on July 13, 2010. Interview Time: 117:12 A.J. Bauer: First of all Richard, what year were you born? Richard DeJohn: 1941 AB: You’d mentioned on the phone that you’re from Michigan, so tell me a little about how you ended up in Texas. RD: Well, I grew up in Brighton, Michigan, which is a little town of like 2,000 people at the time. I grew up on a 100-acre farm. ... I left the farm and went to college — New Mexico State University in 1959 and I got my first taste of civil service. I worked for the Army at White Sands — I was going to be a rocket scientist. And I personally had flown rockets as much as 12 miles up — believe it or not, when I was 17. Anyway, I quit that — it was a cooperative student program, and I quit that program after two years because I got so disgusted with the complacency and lack of, what do you call it, motivation that people had. They were going to give me an award for outstanding work and all of that stuff but I practically was just disgusted with them and I let them know. I quit college — I had only one year of it so far — I quit college, took my car and drove to Massachusetts. I said, wow I think I’m going to get an apartment here and sit in on classes at MIT — I don’t need to have a formal degree or anything. So I did that for a while, came back home — this is all pertinent you’ll hear — to Michigan. And my dad helped me build a study in the basement where I studied electronics and stuff. And after about a year I went and applied for a job at the University of Michigan Mental Health Research Institute as a computer electronic data processor. You know, in 1962 things were really just starting to be used by people, besides military, for other things. Anyway, but I got a taste of computers at White Sands, which is what drove me to do that. I was working at the University of Michigan Mental Health Research Institute and I right away noticed that there were some real suspicious things going on — as it turns out I ended up sharing offices with the first president of the SDS. AB: Tom Hayden? RD: No. Paul Potter. Tom Hayden founded the SDS — he wrote a thing called the Port Huron Statement. AB: Right. RD: Yeah, and I was recruited to join these people — you know. And I actually went to the FBI and they were very happy to see me, knowing that I worked there. I basically dumped on them everything I knew. And I found out later on — which was verified by the FBI, that Dr. Anatol Rapoport, who is now dead, was leading the Midwestern arm of the teach-in movement, which was a very disruptive thing going on on college campuses to disrupt the war. Anyway, he was a senior research scientist — one of only four or five at the university that were senior research scientists. And it turns out that he was ferrying money from Russia to the United States and was ultimately deported. Anyway, that’s how I got a taste for what was really going on — I mean this guy was a real thoroughbred communist. And they really wanted to recruit me into their group. I just resisted it — but after four years at the university I left Michigan and went to California — oh, I joined the John Birch Society in Michigan. Actually the guy who brought me into the John Birch Society is a name you should know — Larry McDonald. Larry McDonald was, he became a doctor of urology at the University of Michigan medical school. Anyway, he was ultimately became the candidate to take the founder of the John Birch Society’s place, but in fact there was an incident when he was traveling on a jet and it was shot down. I wish I could remember the number, but there’s a book about it and everything. And everybody on board was killed. So we don’t know what happened — but it was right outside, I think it was the North Koreans who shot the plane down. AB: This was, where was the plane flying? RD: It was I think flying from Japan to somewhere. But it’s detailed in documents. You just have to look up Larry McDonald online, you’ll see. So he’s — when I moved to California I remained in the John Birch Society and did what I could do. Now, the John Birch Society is different than the Tea Party, but they promote the same ideas mainly — to educate people as to what’s going on politically and with regard to sticking to the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers had proposed in founding this nation. Anyway, so I did that for a while, but then I moved from California and kind of dropped my political activity for quite a few years. I basically supported candidates — Barry Goldwater was one and Ronald Reagan was another. And I worked for three years in Brazil — funny thing is that Lula, who is now the president of Brazil, was at the time a very outspoken communist leader in the country, and frankly in my opinion he still is — he says he isn’t, but he still is. If you look at the current information on TV and you see — he along with the Turkish rejected sanctions against Iran. Anyway, so I was actively involved in politics in California and was asked, actually, to run for the state congress, but I owned my own business and I was very active in promoting the conservative candidates using my business, which at the time was a printing business. And so I refused to do it — kind of wish I had. Anyway, so that went on for a while — I worked in California, in Silicone Valley by the way, I helped set up a book store right across from a Sears store on one of the main roads in Mountain View, California — which Mountain View, Sunny Vail and Santa Clara are Silicone Valley. I stayed — worked as a computer guy for digital corporation and ultimately decided to, after I went to Brazil and spent three years there, when I came back I decided to take up residence in Florida because it was a similar climate and I’d married a Brazilian woman, and I wanted her to be comfortable — along with the fact that there are quite a few Portuguese-speaking people in California. Anyway, I kind of drifted away from political activity of any kind. AB: Around what time — what years? RD: About 1970 — no, excuse me, about 1975 actually — just before I went to Brazil. I didn’t observe what was going on there — well I guess I did, I forgot. I got stopped on a beach when I was trying to prevent the communist party people from distributing newspapers on the beach. You know beach life in Rio de Janeiro is it, that’s where everybody goes. So the communists called the police and they put me in the car and took me around the block a couple of times and told me that I should really be careful and stop doing that. But that was the extent of it — I didn’t do much more political than that — it really upset me when I saw them passing newspapers around — outspokenly communist; it said it right on the banner. I spoke Portuguese, I learned the language, so I could tell. Anyway, after I came back to Florida I started to work for IBM, worked there for 13 years as a consultant. Didn’t do anything political that I can think of — no, not really. I kind of just drifted away from it. These were the years when Reagan — I think he went in office in the late ‘70s. AB: Yeah, I think it was late ‘76 when he was elected governor of California. RD: Yeah, that’s when I really supported him a lot. AB: And then ‘80 for president. RD: So yeah, the political landscape to me — because I’m a conservative — was looking pretty good with Reagan in office. Anyway, after that I just worked — well, I don’t know how much more history you want to get — so let’s just bring it back up to present day because there wasn’t much more in terms of me and political activity until two years ago — two and a half years ago when the primaries came up. I got involved in local work — basically working in the precincts and trying to get more voters to go conservative and I put up a meet-up site — Huckabee for president. Of course he lost, but hen I got kind of knocked out of it because I actually got a brain hemorrhage and I couldn’t make it to the state convention. I was a delegate — I was selected to be a delegate at the state convention but I couldn’t do it because of the hemorrhage. So that kind of knocked me out of political activity again. So when this primary came up — well, I worked very hard against Obama because I really realized that this guy is really nothing more than a socialist — and could be worse, as we’re learning more and more. So I did work actively for McCain, although my heart wasn’t really in it because he’s an establishment Republican. I’d always been for term limits so we don’t get stagnant people that are in there forever — to me that’s one of the worst things that happens in Washington. It basically allows corruption to be built up — cronyism and all that kind of stuff. Anyway, so I didn’t really do much after that until this primary season started. Then I actually joined when the Tea Party started — the Carrollton Tea Party started in February of 2009 and I didn’t even realize we had a Tea Party in Carrollton and they had their first demonstration. I saw it on TV a little bit, which attracted me to it. So I contacted the Dallas Tea Party, somebody sent me something on the Dallas Tea Party and I participated in a demonstration at city hall in Dallas — that was my first foray into Tea Party activity — that was April 15, tax day demonstration. So I found out about the Carrollton Tea Party and attended, started attending — I was invited to a board meeting and started attended those meetings and shortly thereafter I was made a member of the steering committee of the Carrollton Tea Party, and I’ve been very very active ever since. I mean I put up a Web site, a meet-up Web site for the Carrolton Tea Party, which I still maintain. And that was in June of ‘09. So when time came for primaries to roll around, I did the usual thing — I went to the precinct meeting that occurs right after the primary vote. You know about that right? AB: Yeah. RD: I was nominated as an alternative delegate to the Republican Party. I’m kind of on the border between Libertarian and Republican — but I feel that if I were to do Libertarian it would split the vote, so I don’t want to do that. So I went to the Republican — and I found out afterwards that that was a really good move — when I read the platform, which is right here, of the Republican Party, I found that it was one of the most conservative platforms in the entire country — do you have a copy of that? AB: It’s online yeah. RD: Yeah it’s on my meet-up Web site actually. So I had spent most of my time, now that I’m retired, an awful lot of my time actually supporting the Tea Party in the local area. And, basically, being on the steering committee — I think we have about 12 members on the steering committee who direct policy. It’s basically like a board of directors for a corporation. And my meet-up site became pretty popular so I do announcements for meetings — I help arrange where we have those meetings, do stuff like that, am very involved in — I make sure that we get recordings and videos of the meetings, so I have several of those, which if you want to have them I can make a copy for you. AB: That’d be great. RD: Oh this one is the Democrat and Republican political process — we invited the chairmen of the Republican Party for Denton County and the Democrat Party for Denton County and the Republican Party for Dallas County and the Democrat Party for Dallas. The Denton County Republican Party chairman did come and the Dallas County, well we had the Republican Party chairman, the Democrat Party chairman of Denton and we had the Republican Chairman of Dallas County, the Democrat chairman didn’t show up — so we had representation from both parties. And I personally made a strong statement that I thought we should have invited the Libertarians as well — I wasn’t that influential enough to convince them to do that, because there are strikingly big differences. Did you read the differences between the Republican and Democrat and Libertarian Party candidates that we have up on the meet-up site? AB: I didn’t get a chance to read that but I’m familiar with — I’ve written some stories when I was a journalist on the Libertarian Party a couple of times. I’ve kind of had a lot of experience with it. But I’ve had a few follow up questions so far from what I’ve heard, if you don’t mind. So one of the questions I’ve been asking everybody is what is your history of political party affiliation? So, it sounds like you’ve been a conservative for your whole life? RD: Yes. AB: So, what are some of the factors that led to your conservatism, even at a young age? RD: When I was 18 years old — well first of all living on a farm in a very small town, you tend to have conservative values — just innately. And when I was 18, when I first started my job at White Sands missile range and New Mexico State University, I somehow ran across the book called Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. I’m sure you’re very familiar with that. Anyway, I became an Objectivist. And I was so ardent about it that I bought a case of books and passed them out to friends because I thought it was so great — and I still do. And I think they’re probably aware of the fact that the Objectivist philosophy is basically the philosophy of the Libertarian Party. And many, most people who support that party are knowledgeable about Objectivist philosophy and follow Ayn Rand. I still follow Ayn Rand — she died about 10 or 15 years ago. But just as recently as yesterday I spent time — there’s this fantastic Web site that has videos, YouTube videos, 10-minutes long, which are the entire book of Atlas Shrugged being read. And then they have these multi-media presentations of the principles of objectivism — they’re really fantastic. Anyway, so as you can see that’s where I got my bedrock conservative philosophy — because Objectivism is a reality philosophy — what you can see, touch and feel is what counts, and non-contradictions and things like that. So that’s the answer to that one. AB: That’s good. So that pretty much informs the answer to my next question, which is what led you to join the John Birch Society? RD: Oh, good. Good that you asked that, because when I started to get involved with politics locally when I moved here I explored — I said, where’s a John Birch Society site? And it turns out they’re pretty weak. I joined and about three or four months later I quit. I told them I’m really too busy with my Tea Party stuff. And I really felt that the Tea Party was accomplishing a lot more than the John Birch Society. The John Birch Society, which you may or may not know, given the smearing that was going on in the beginning parts of the John Birch Society. They are an educational organization — they are not anti-Semitic, they are not racially segregationist, I mean they are not. They are not minutemen. They are an educational organization. By the way, I was so active in the John Birch Society when I was in California — and we would put on presentations. And we had a guy speak who was giving us the low-down in the local high school auditorium — this was probably in 1971 or something like that. We did a presentation on the Farm Workers, on Cesar Chavez, La Raza, and some of these people attended that session. And I always sit in the back so I could see what was going on. And we were concerned that they were going to come and cause trouble. Well there was a woman in back of me who hit me! And I turned around and she screamed and hollered and said ‘hey, he hit me’ and they called the police! And the police came and handcuffed me — took me to jail. They let me loose. I didn’t spend any time in jail. But we had a jury trial — this was a battery and assault charge, so we demanded a jury trial. And what was really interesting was that my — one of my best friends and leaders in the JBS at the time happened to be walking down the aisle and took a picture of this — and it clearly shows her hitting me! I hadn’t even turned around yet. So we went to trial. We requested that all the witnesses that we call be brought in separately with out any others being in the room at the same time — just those witnesses and give their testimony. Well all their testimonies were different. And then we popped the picture out and showed them. The jury was just — dismissed. AB: So, when you worked at the University of Michigan, were you already in John Birch at that point, or was that after? RD: I was in the John Birch Society about a year or two after working for the University. AB: So did that inform your activity with regards to the SDS? Or was that prior to joining the Birch Society? RD: No, it was really around the same time. I should tell you that Tom Hayden that did found the SDS did work at the institute, just a couple of offices away from me. So I had interaction with him and Paul Potter and the secretary of labor under Clinton — I’m trying to think of his name. Reich, David Reich. Was it David Reich? AB: I’m not sure, I’ll look that up. So what caused you to join the John Birch Society? RD: Well, they invite people to meetings. They have educational meetings — I went to an educational meeting and I read their material and I will be right back. [Richard exits room and returns with an original “Blue Book” of the John Birch Society, autographed by author and founder Robert Welch.] RD: That book right there, if you look inside the cover, is the history of the founding of the John Birch Society. AB: And you’ve got it signed by Robert Welch too! Or is that... RD: He came to a presentation we had at the bookstore. I have an album of pictures actually. Yeah, he came and gave a presentation. But after reading that book I was convinced that this is something I need to get associated with. And, what’s the date when I got that book? AB: It says October 17, 1970. RD: Oh that was at the signing! When we opened the bookstore. AB: Oh, that was the bookstore that you opened? RD: And we carried that book on the shelves as an item to sell. Yeah, that was Mountain View, California. Because I was so firmly convinced that he was saying — and still am — is true. AB: And what are the biggest tenets there? RD: The biggest thing that the Birch Society worked on was exposing communist activity in our government and around the world. I mean the John Birch Society had a magazine called American Opinion, they have a new one, let me go get that and I’ll give you a copy. [Richard exits the room once more, returning with a JBS magazine and newsletter in hand.] RD As a member of the JBS, they have American Opinion used to be the magazine but now it’s called the New American — and as you can see form the titles on these things — as a member of the JBS, you also get a JBS Bulletin, which explains what we’re currently working and promoting. If you’d like one of these I can give you one. AB: Yeah, sure. I’d love to take a look. Thank you. RD: It’s pretty recent probably. AB: Yeah, April. Oh, April 2009. RD: 2009, yeah because I haven’t really been very active in the Birch Society at all — because I told them, you know, that — I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot more in the Tea Party. Because they are strictly an educational organization — that’s it. They have books. They have the magazines. Let me see if I have two of these I’ll give you one. Oh, here’s the article by the way. No, no. Anyway, I do. I do have two copies of this one. Here you can have that. AB: Thank you so much. So, in terms of party affiliation in your history — have you long been independent in-between Libertarian and Republican? Have you ever affiliated with either of them solely? RD: I actually did become a Libertarian for a little while. But I got kind of turned off by it, because at the time — this was quite a while ago, probably 20 or 30 years ago — because of its stance; it’s so hard core about the legalization of drugs, which they no longer do. I — and the fact that, frankly, they drain off support from legitimate Republican candidates that we now control. And I’ll tell you now, I’m steadfastly behind Sarah Palin — in fact I have a Sarah Palin Web site, meet-up site. We don’t have many members, because she’s not that active yet. Recently, she was on TV all day yesterday. Now, if you — the local JBS has a professional — what do they call it? On the third Thursday, no second Thursday of every month — which I guess is this Thursday. AB: That sounds right. RD: They have a meeting at the Holiday Inn in Richardson. They get about 50 to 60 people show up who are commercial businessmen. Now, you’ve probably heard of Huffines. AB: Yeah. RD: Mr. Huffines is very active in it — he attends those meetings. Obviously he has a ton of money because he has all those car dealerships. AB: Well, and his brother was chairman of the UT System for a while, I don’t know if he still is. RD: Anyway, so that is a commercial businessmen’s Birch Society, and they have pretty good speakers. AB: I’ll have to check that for sure. So you’d mentioned. RD: You could go to that if you want to. AB: I might. It’s kind of a tangent from the Tea Party focus, but I might try to make it. RD: I mean, the Birchers support us. They give me all the announcements of the meetings — they know. They invite me to their meetings on a regular basis — they’d actually like me to be a member. But I just don’t have the time. AB: I imagine. So you’ve mentioned a few political leader names throughout — you mentioned Goldwater, Reagan, Huckabee and Palin, are the four that I’ve heard at least. That brings me to the next question I had, which is what characteristics are important to you in a political leader? RD: Honesty, integrity, experience. And I don’t mean experience sitting in the Congress for 20 years — I mean experience in the read world. Unlike Mr. Obama here, who’s never really led anything, to speak of, and became president — except some street movements, or whatever it is. [Richard’s phone rings, he stops the interview to answer it.] AB: So I guess back in ‘64, what drew you to Goldwater? RD: His bedrock conservatism — fiscal responsibility and that’s quite a while ago. [Richard pauses, holding up his dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged]. AB: Is that the original? RD: The original book, the original book. AB: You can tell — it’s well-read. RD: Yeah, it’s falling apart actually. AB: I imagine. RD: Anyway, so you won’t see this book hardly anymore — Robert Welch has been dead for quite a while. But, so bedrock conservatism — and probably because he was running against somebody who was very liberal. Who was he running against? Lyndon Johnson? AB: Yep. RD: And I really didn’t like Lyndon Johnson. And then as far as Reagan is concerned — Reagan has been my hero ever since I saw him on television back in the Death Valley Days. And of course I saw his movies and things. And he was not a big star or anything like that — but he always stood up for and always appeared in his movies as being a good guy — but then the little speeches he gave at the opening and closing of Death Valley Days were very convincing. I mean, he was working as a spokesman, I believe, for General Electric at the time. Except Boraxo was the sponsor of the show — I guess he did some PR work for GE. But anyway, so when he ran for president I was really thrilled to death because, you know, he’d appeared quite a few times already before that and was saying all the kinds of stuff that I believe in — which is all on the Tea Party Web site, under the Constitution and bylaws. But that’s what I believe as well. AB: What would you say are the top political issues to you — the most important ones? RD: Right now I’d say it’s the economy and immigration, but I’d say immigration more than anything else. We have to seal those borders and we have to do that before we have any “comprehensive” immigration reform — which is just a code word for amnesty. I do not believe in giving amnesty — didn’t believe in it when Reagan did it and I don’t believe in it now. I don’t think many Tea Partiers do — because frankly it’s going to destroy our country if we don’t figure out a way to get this thing under control — I mean we’ve got to put that border up and there’s absolutely no reason why — as Palin said yesterday, she was on TV and was asked by O’Reilly, what would you do with the immigration situation? And I support her statement totally and completely — she will take as many troops as it takes and put them on the border to seal it off. What we need is a very large presence on that border until the physical boundaries are created so that people can’t just come across it. And sooner or later we’re probably going to have to do that to the northern border — I don’t know, okay? I mean, I lived in Michigan; we were only 50 miles from the Canadian border and we could just drive across the bridge, when I was a kid, to Windsor — Windsor’s right across from Detroit. Anyway... AB: What about the immigration issue: You said if we don’t get the immigration issue under control it’ll destroy our country — what’s behind — why’s that an issue that’s very important to you? RD: Two things. Number one is all of the jobs that they’re talking away from us frankly. We have a number that just joined a few days ago — I questioned him when he joined, just like I did you. He owns a mowing, lawn, what do you call it? AB: Landscaping? RD: Right, a lawn business. And he promotes — he doesn’t hire any illegals. And when he applied he said, you actually can see it — it’s on the introduction, you’ll have to pull up the name — Jeff is the name, I don’t think there are any other Jeffs. Anyway, I questioned him — I said you’re trying to join because of your business — because his introduction was kind of an advertisement for his business, to promote legitimate non-illegal workers, and I said you know unless you can answer the question that’s in the application of why you want to join the Tea Party then I’m going to have to hold your membership — I said I need a response within a week or 10 days. And he immediately responded the same day that he let me know he wants to be involved in educating people, and frankly I think we’re going to have him speak at the next general meeting. I don’t know — I’ve got to actually meet him in person, we have only spoken on e-mail back and forth. But I approved him right away when he e-mailed me because he is a very sincere conservative who is concerned about the fact that illegals are literally taking over his business. Let’s face it — it’s great that they come and they do legitimate stuff. But they need to get themselves legitimate in the first place — not being illegal. I mean they can get away with mowing lawns, they can get away with washing dishes, they can get away with a lot of stuff — and you know I like to see people who are coming to our country and are contributing to it — good hard-working citizens. But they need to do it the right way, not sneak across the border. And the other problem that’s huge is of course the drug trafficking and the human trafficking. What do they call it when they bring women across or whatever? AB: The sex trade? RD: Yeah. That. And the problem that we already know and have — there’s a huge list of people that they’ve caught coming across that are from the Middle East! I mean, have you seen that. AB: I haven’t. But I don’t follow this issue too closely. RD: I mean this is really dangerous — these people are coming in through our southern border. They have, literally, detained several thousand Middle Eastern — even some from Somalia. And this is just incredibly dangerous — it’s a security thing that just has to be taken care of. We’ve got to stop these people from coming across. That’s number one; number two is the long-range effect of progressive liberals on these people. Because it’s a historical fact that one of the things that the communists, the socialists do, right, is they take the masses and they basically control — educate them from the time they’re here to do things that they should be doing — things that are frankly contrary to American principles. AB: Like what kind of things? RD: Well, I’m concerned about the fact that if they were given amnesty — I mean it’s known that they’re already — they’ve already been a big target for the Democrats, alright? And frankly the Democrats now are not what they used to be — I mean there’ve been radical changes in the Democratic Party — it’s been taken over pretty much by the progressives. So I fear the fact that that huge voting block — that’s why, in my opinion, that Obama is not doing anything about the border. He doesn’t want to alienate the Latino votes. AB: Isn’t that why Bush didn’t do anything about the border as well? RD: You know, I don’t know about Bush. All I know is that I’m not happy that he didn’t do anything to speak of. I mean he just gave lip service to it. But now we have enough people — like this Arizona governor and the governor of Texas, who are speaking up and doing things like creating laws — I totally support the Arizona law and I hope we get it in Texas and Arizona and New Mexico. And I can’t believe it but there are states that are inland — I heard states like South Carolina was considering it — somewhere up north. Because I know that a lot of illegal immigrants don’t stay down south. They go up north, where they can easily avoid being stopped or whatever. So number two for me on the immigration problem is that this is a group of people who are not educated, most of them, and the Democrats are doing just that — they are mobilizing these people. I mean you’ve seen the demonstrations that are going on. And I have to tell you I don’t think most of these people understand — believe it or not in Colorado, there is over 50 percent of the Latinos in Colorado support the Arizona law. They may end up passing a law like that too. It’s very dangerous to have a large group — such a large group that are uneducated on these tings — on the political reason that this country got to the great place that it is now. It’s become un-great, but. AB: You’d mentioned that the Democratic Party has undergone a shift. Explain for me when that took place and what the shift was. RD: Well, the big thing is — and unfortunately there have been progressive liberals in the Republican Party as well — I do not know what party Wilson was. AB: Wilson was a Democrat. RD: Well I know Roosevelt was a Democrat. AB: Teddy was a Republican and FDR was a Democrat. RD: Yeah, right. And I think there are indications that Teddy was a liberal as well. But Roosevelt was the big — I mean he’s the one that really did it. And to me that’s where the parties became — with Roosevelt was the biggest to me. Wilson, and the Roosevelt. Roosevelt, and then of course the Kennedys. I do not support, nor did I ever support, any of the Kennedys — including John. For all intents and purposes, he allowed the communists to keep Cuba when he signed the agreement that we could not ever enter Cuba, or participate in any action against liberating Cuba. That was part of the deal, you know, with the missile crisis. And of course, there’s the Jimmy Carter mess and then Clinton. I mean Clinton did more for our demoralization than anything else. I mean to have a president do what he did and remain in office, to me is just totally wrong. AB: Do you see Obama as a break from that line? RD: Yeah he’s a break going farther to the left — because he is a progressive in big terms. He’s done more to promote the socialist progressive agenda than any president that’s come along. AB: What are some particularly socialist things that he’s done? RD: Well, the health care program. I mean that’s the obvious thing to me — when the federal government wants to take over one-sixth of the economy of the United States and run it — that to me is state ownership of the means of production for the medical industry. That is the definition of socialism, you know. Well, I’m sure you know — it’s when the government owns the means of production. The only difference between communism and socialism is that the communists believe — oh come on Richard, remember — is that you not only own the means of production but you also .... Help me here. AB: I also have trouble with the distinction as well. RD: Well, they take away freedom of speech, freedom of religion — anything that’ll interfere. I mean, in the Communist Manifesto — which I have a copy of here — I haven’t read it in a long time, but I was active in the John Birch Society. I sent away for a copy of the Communist Manifesto when it was entered into the Congressional Record back in the ‘50s — and it describes the whole thing. But the basic premise of the Communist Party is that the government controls everything, not just the means of production — so it’s the next step. They control where you work, where you live — everything. I mean it’s just totally control of the people, the communications system, natural resources, I mean the works. Everything. That’s communism. AB: I had asked what policies Obama has done that indicates he’s a socialist. RD: And then the, what do you call it, the stimulus package, which was used mostly for hiring more government workers — of which they’re going to hire tons and tons for the medical program. These people are not going to be direct government workers but there will be a lot of direct government workers, because the government’s going to have to manage all of that stuff — so there will be more government workers. Unfortunately we’re going to lose most of our good doctors. I wouldn’t be surprised if my doctor drops out of it. I always ask him when I go to the doctor what are you going to do. Anyway, I would have to [pause]. Support of world government — dangerous things to me, like for instance using NASA and the director of NASA as somebody who’s supposed to reach out to the Muslims to me is just totally off beat. I mean obviously I think Obama’s got his head on backwards. I was hoping Condoleezza Rice would run for president, frankly — boy that would have done it! Because she was a conservative black woman. Can you imagine that? The first black? The first woman? AB: Shifting gears ever so slightly, to more cultural questions. What role does religion play in your life? RD: I was an atheist for the first 40 years of my life. I was an atheist probably since I was like 20 years old — actually, partly because of this [holds up Atlas Shrugged] even though I do not believe that Objectivism as a philosophy is an atheist philosophy. And I mean I’ve been studying that. AB: Do you still consider yourself an Objectivist? RD: Yes. I’m a Christian Objectivist. As short a time ago as two years ago I joined the Objectivist meet-up group — which has about 300 members. And I ran into trouble because I espoused the notion that Christians can be Objectivists. I’m a pragmatist, okay, I take the practical parts of Objectivism and the practical parts of Christianity and use them. I was reached out to — I got married and had a girl about 15-16 years ago. And I knew that my philosophy of life, Objectivism, would not be understandable to a child. That there had to be stuff — there had to be more educational material, which didn’t exist. Boy this Web site that just started up, it’s incredible. Anyway, so I was reached out to — my wife was reached out to, and she immediately — we immediately were invited to church. So I said, okay, I need to look for something that’s going to help my daughter. So I started going to church, and within about six months I started — we joined the International Church of Christ — which is not the Church of Christ, it’s a spin-off. We’re not associated with them in any way actually. And I studied, and went through the lessons and basically gave my life to God — to Jesus, and became a born again Christian, which probably makes some of these Objectivists turn over in their grave. AB: I’m sure. RD: I’m sorry, but I really love Objectivism — I think that it’s an incredible philosophy. But I also love Jesus. And I am a Bible-studying, church going Christian for 15 years — I was baptized 14 years ago. Born again Christian. AB: I really appreciate your explanation there of how you combine those two philosophies — because I’ve met several people who will tell me to read Ayn Rand in one breath and then the read C.S. Lewis in the next breath and it’s a really interesting — I’ve met a lot of people within the Tea Party movement. I think it’s just an interesting confluence of ideas. RD: Yeah, and C.S. Lewis is a great way to learn about Christian ethics. That movie about his wife dying was incredible — and of course there’s a book on it. Was it something about ‘Shadow’? AB: It evades me, but yeah. RD: Anyway. AB: So obviously your politics are highly informed by your Objectivist philosophy, how did your conversion — did that shape your politics in any way as well? RD: Oh, yeah. AB: How did, once you became a Christian how did that change your politics, or did it? RD: [Quoting from Atlas Shrugged] “My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem.” Self esteem... [searching the book]. AB: What page are you on by chance? RD: 944, but I don’t think the page number will be the same anymore. AB: Right, but it’ll be close. RD: Let’s see, “Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply” — these three values being reason, purpose and self-esteem — “and require all of man’s virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.” And then he [John Galt] goes on to define all of these. These are the basic values that are in the Tea Party core values. We believe in rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride. Now. The pride thing goes against the notion of Christianity — there’s all kinds of verses in the Bible about pride being your downfall. But, you got to take these things together, and you’ve got to understand them. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of accomplishment. I mean, you heard me talking about flying rockets when I was 17 years old — I mean if you’ve seen the movie October Sky it parallels what I did, although he never flew them that high. He had cardboard rockets, I had stainless steel rockets. Anyway, so — and I could read you passages from the Bible which I believe in just as much as this and that don’t conflict with it, alright? Somebody’s going to come up and make an analysis of the two. The Bible is based on faith — we’ve never seen. We personally have never seen Jesus. Now when I became a Christian... [Richard abruptly, and without explanation, exits the room. He returns with more books.] RD: To decide to be a Christian — Evidence Demands a Verdict by John McDonald. I was given this book — I think this is the right page, maybe not. I wanted to read you — oh, here we go. AB: What page? RD: Well, this book has been expanded into two or three volumes now. This is the original. And this is 1997 for me. It was given to me and I finally in 1997, and in January of 1998 I was baptized. Because this really did it right here. “For example, some say it is just wishful thinking or they simply excuse it by saying it doesn’t prove a thing,” I don’t have to read that part. “This objective reality for a Christian, behind this subjective experience there is an objective reality.” Ob-ject-ive reality. Very important. “as its basis. The objective reality is the person of Jesus Christ in his resurrection. For example, let’s say a student comes into the room and says, ‘guys, I have a stewed tomato in my right tennis shoe, this tomato has changed my life, it has given me a peace, a love and a joy that I’ve not experience before. Not only that but I an now run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds flat.’ It is hard to argue with a student like that if he backs up what he says, especially if he runs circles around you on the track. A personal testimony is often a subjective argument for something, therefore don’t reject the subjective experience as being irrelevant. There are two tests that I apply to subjects’ experience: first, what is the objective reality of their subjective experience? And second, how many other people have had the same subjective experiences related to the same objective reality? Let me apply this to the student with the stewed tomato. The first question he would reply ‘a stewed tomato in my right tennis shoe’; then second question would be put this way: how many people in this classroom, in this university, in this country and in this continent have experienced the same love, peace and joy and increased track speed as a result of a stewed tomato in their right tennis shoe? At this point,” [turns page] I think there’s another page. Nope, that’s the end of it. AB: And what page was that again, I didn’t catch it. RD: Page... AB: I see you’ve got the dog ear there. RD: Page 327. What this is saying is that the subjective experience of something happening because of a stewed tomato in a tennis shoe caused him to have an entirely changed experience in life. Now, I used to worship, as an atheist, the electron. I said to myself after reading this, I’ve been worshiping something — the electron was my idol — I’ve been worshiping something that I’ve never seen. It’s the objective reality that it’s there, and that it’s causing me to be what I am, but I have faith that there is an electron — we see the results, television, computers, all this stuff — but we can’t actually see the electron. The same thing is true of Jesus, affecting the lives of people. We can’t see him touch him or feel him. But the objective reality is that it changes people’s lives, and that’s what happened. I said oh my goodness, I’ve been worshiping this electron business and have never seen one. And here’s Jesus — and look at all these people in this church and how happy they are just because they love Jesus and they follow his tenants. Something had to happen. So I asked and I studied and became a disciple, and four months later I was baptized. I don’t think I’ll ever give up my Christian beliefs. AB: And, so you were baptized in ‘98 you said? RD: Yes. January 21st. AB: And how has that experience changed your political beliefs? RD: I tend to trust people who are genuinely and sincerely Christian — so people that are running for office, people that are leading the Tea Party and stuff like that, by and large the leaders of the Tea Party are basically Christian. As a matter of fact, everybody on our steering committee — there’s only one person I suspect might not be a totally committed Christian, but most of the rest of the leaders in our Tea Party here, they are. Because, they believe in, I should dog ear this one [referring to Atlas Shrugged, which he had grabbed and was flipping through to re-read the previous passage]. AB: It was 944. RD: They believe in rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and to a certain degree pride. So I really think these valued are shared in common — they’re just, you have to look at them in a pragmatic way. AB: What’s the year of that Atlas Shrugged publication by the way, that way I can find it better. RD: I think it’s 1957, but let me look. First reading November of 61 by me, second complete reading November of 72, third reading 1981. Yep, it’s copyrighted in 1957. AB: So how many times have you read that book? RD: Three times — that’s a lot of pages. AB: That is a lot of pages. That’s why I haven’t had a chance to read it. RD: You can get the whole thing online now! AB: Yeah. No. I would buy a copy — I prefer hard books. I have a feeling I’ll be reading that this August. So, continuing down the culture vein a little bit. RD: Would you like some water? AB: I’d love some, that’d be great. So, what are some other books — are those kind of the main books — the Bible, Atlas Shrugged, that McDowell book, the Blue Book — would you say those are your main formative books or are there others? RD: The Bible, since 1997, has been something that I’ve studied intensely — and the same thing is true of Atlas Shrugged — you can’t read this just once. I mean you can’t read it quickly because some of the stuff — mean I have a whole series of books on the philosophy of Objectivism, epistemology, anyway I have other books that are part of this objective stuff. Just like the Bible, I mean I have four or five versions of the Bible. I shouldn’t leave out... [Abruptly leaves the room once more.] RD: I mean this book is on I reference, but I’ll get the other one. [Leaves the room once more.] RD: This is the original Bible that I studied, okay? And I go over and over and over marking notes — it’s full of them, all kinds of references and I have the dates that I read these particular things, but I can go back to them. The Bible should be written in — it should be annotated. You don’t just leave it on the shelf, you know. This happens to be the one I keep right behind my table when I’m watching TV — and this is the one that I studied to become a disciple, and we call ourselves disciples. Oh, and I have a Spanish version as well, which I’m trying to learn. It’s difficult. AB: So switching gears. What does it mean to you to be an American, in terms of cultural identity. RD: Oh [laughs heartily, claps his hands once] I should just bring you into my bedroom! I got to show you this. [Richard leaves the room once more, this time for a full minute.] RD: This was done by one of my cousins [revealing a family tree packet]. AB: Family heritage, huh? RD: Here, let me show you something. Here is — oh gosh I waited too long to eat — here’s my grandmother, those are her children that came with her to the United States in 1905. This is a plaque that’s on the statue of liberty — the DeJohn family plaque. AB: From Malta. RD: Yeah, my cousin — and then here’s the family tree and birth certificates from Malta and all of that. Anyway, what does it mean to me? It means that, this is a country where a person can come — my grandfather was brought to the United States by the Fisher brothers. You know what the Fisher Brothers are? AB: I’m not familiar. RD: The founders of General Motors. And it used to be — I don’t know if it still is — but there used to be a little plaque as you stepped into the driver’s seat that says “Body by Fisher.” Now, the Fisher brothers brought my grandfather to the United States. He was a jeweler — a fine jeweler — to design automobile parts. So a year later, my grandmother and her five kids came to join him in the United States. And my father was born shortly after that in the United States. My dad was born on the Fourth of July [claps his hands] as it turns out! [laughter] Anyway, to be an American is to be able to realize your dream. I wish I hadn’t closed this card — this is my daughter’s birthday card for tomorrow — and on it I tell her, you know, you have the opportunity to go wherever you can, wherever you will. If you have a desire you can accomplish it in the United States, because the government is not going to be taken over by socialists — I’m not going to let that happen. We are in a period of time when some very bad things are happening in the government, in my opinion, and I mean his first order of business should be to close that fence — I mean it’s a security breach. We’ve got to stop these people from coming into this country. I mean they can come legally — I’ve got nothing against immigrants, obviously, you know? I mean, how far along ago — you could probably go back yourself, right? What country were your relatives from? AB: Most recently Germany — that was about half of my lineage and they came in the late 1800s. And then before that I don’t really know when the rest of them came over, but earlier than that and from France and Scotland and such. RD: Anyway. AB: So, kind of the inverse of that question: What does it mean to be un-American? RD: To be un-American? Doing things that would take this country and not make it the land of the free and the home of the brave. That is all-encompassing as far as socialism and, ultimately in my opinion, communism, because that’s what happens. Obviously you know that Hitler ran as a socialist — the a National Socialist Party, the Nazi Party. And during World War II it was fighting between the Communist form of socialist and the Nazi form of socialist. And we stepped in and basically played a major part in freeing those poor people that were under the rule of Hitler and Mussolini and the Japanese. But doing things that are contrary to the Constitution of the United States and the by-laws to me is un-American. When you take into account that the founding fathers — most of them were good solid Christians, and a lot of them were ministers that signed the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, excuse me. But, yeah, doing things that are contrary to the Constitution and I don’t know any better way to define it. Somebody who tries to stop free speech — there was, I got something sent to me where a woman who was working as an assistant attorney to the attorney general of Florida, because she had Constitutional law experience, she was asked by the Tea Party to speak before them and she did. And somebody went and told her boss — the attorney general — and they fired her, because he said I can’t have you doing this. You can’t be going out there and doing these things and still working for me. There was a whole big thing. Anyway, he was trying to curtail her free speech — she wasn’t doing it on his time, or on the state’s time, she was doing it on her own time, and she wasn’t preaching against the state or against the Constitution. She was just explaining what the Constitution is and how important it is to us. But he decided — I bet she gets reinstated because the lieutenant governor already told him he was wrong. But she’s filed a suit against him, and that to me is un-American — curtailing someone’s free speech is un-American. AB: Talking about the Constitution — obviously it’s a very important document for the country and so forth, but what does it mean to you as a document? What are its greatest strengths, what are its flaws? I’m not asking for chapter and verse or anything. RD: Well, and I can’t give you chapter and verse. AB: I can’t either. RD: I’ve read it. But I have not become a Constitutional expert. I just realized that you know it’s full of incredible wisdom — you have to read it more than once. It’s like this stuff and like the Objectivist and the Bible. You can’t read it once — it’s just something that’s got so much incredible wisdom in it. Now, for instance just this little bitty — and we’re talking about the articles — the second amendment, the right to bear arms — it’s not saying why you have the right to bear arms, it’s just saying you have the right to bear arms. There’s a little bit of phrasing about why. The 10th Amendment, that’s the one about states’ rights — that the states are to have jurisdiction over everything except, and then there were a few excepts. Not being as modern — now it doesn’t specifically talk about immigration, but there’s just so many things. I mean if I needed — for the government to own the health care industry for all intents and purposes, is against the Constitution in my opinion. Because one of the things they preach about is that the Constitution is a guide in the law of the land. Now the law of the land means we follow it as a legal thing. And that’s why we have the Supreme Court to make sure that if a case comes before them that they have to find the precedent or the reasons in the Constitution to defend it. I can’t be much more specific than that, I think — those are just some examples. AB: How do you get your news — what are your primary sources of news? RD: My correspondence, through the Internet — I get 50 or 60, sometimes 100 e-mails a day. Like this thing with this woman who was fired by the attorney general — I got that yesterday from somebody. And the Fox News Channel. I was a watcher of the Fox News channel for probably the last 10 years. And every once in a while, especially whenever there’s a speech by the president or someone I want to study — I will videotape it on several channels — CBS, NBC, CNN — and see and compare what they’re doing with it. Because they have a little discussion before and a lot of discussion after. So I look at those — and as far as things that are similar to the Bible and Objectivism; there are movies. You know the Fountainhead was a movie staring Gary Cooper. AB: Yeah, I’ve seen it. RD: And Atlas Shrugged is being worked on — Brad Pitt is supposed to be starring in that. Angelina Joli backed out. AB: That’s what I heard. RD: And I consider those things educational as well. I love to watch Biography, biographical television — biographies of different people, especially political figures. I like to see those. But, I had gotten turned off by most of the major channels over the years, just slowly — I just couldn’t take it any more, some of the stuff they say on there. AB: When did you, I guess are there any things than come to mind as far as why you started distrusting the other — is that before you knew of Fox or after you knew of Fox? RD: Before I knew of Fox. Before, I think, Fox even existed. And I can’t put my finger on necessarily any one thing except what seemed to be biased support for certain people — like Obama. And, you know, we have a very integrated church, okay. I’d say we have as much as 20 percent black — 10 percent or maybe more Hispanic. We have an international day every year, and we have 50 different countries — we’re all over the world, for that matter, we do missions in lots of different countries. But, I ask — and the reason I bring this up — when Obama, when it was time for people to decide to vote, I asked some of my church friends who were black, one of which I baptized, who are you going to vote for? And the immediate response was — and it really bothered me — the immediate response was in two of these people that I talked to, was because he’ll do more for my people. And I thought, that’s the reason you want him to be president? He’ll do more for your people? And then I’m going to be asking that question again — because I don’t think it’s going to be the same answer — because he’s not doing more for his people. I mean, yeah, there’s a lot of people in government now — like the attorney general and several others — but in fact he’s really not doing more for black people. And I just don’t believe in not being equally fair with everyone. And you know this case of the harassment of the Black Panthers at the polling thing — and the just not following through of the attorney general — he should have followed that. I mean this is just something you can’t let happen. Anyway. AB: So, you said your first source is e-mail and things — are there any Web sites you frequent other than just e-mails? RD: I know I’m going to spend a lot more time on that Objectivist Web site, but I — no I have a lot of — I don’t go and dwell on it forever. One of my things right now is studying health foods — like this thing I just drank — see I have prostate cancer, so I’m trying to do natural cures... [Richard excuses himself and leaves the room once more.] AB: So what are your general opinions of the news media? RD: That it’s very biased. It’s just become so obvious when you see some of the things that they do and don’t cover — and you can see it because the only place you see what they don’t cover is on Fox. Fox does more than just give news — you know it’s got things like Glenn Beck where he’s teaching people about the Founding Fathers and principles of the Constitution and what’s going on in the socialist political area in the United States. But, the — I used to listen to NPR when I drove to and from work — National Public Radio. And even though I know they’re biased, they still have a lot of good educational stuff, which I like to hear. What was that question again? AB: Your general opinions of the news media? RD: Okay, well — and this is my general opinion of the educational, especially the college, systems as well. It’s heavily biased toward liberal points of view and progressive points of view, which is even worse. But — a new thing that’s going on is they’re trying to take religion and show that it’s more a socialist philosophy than just a Christian philosophy — because love your brother, charity, things like that — which I believe in. But it’s not — it’s a free will thing to me. But pointing a gun at someone’s head and telling them you have to have health care or else you’ll be fined and go to jail, that’s to me not right — absolutely against the Constitution. And this is part of that health care bill. The IRS is going to enforce the health care. AB: Nobody’s going to go to jail about it though. RD: Well, I certainly hope not, but it’s in there. It’s in the bill. As a matter of fact that was just talked about recently — where did I hear that? AB: I mean, I lived in Massachusetts for a couple of years, as I told you, and they have basically an identical law to the federal one that just passed — or very close — there and, yeah you do get fined if you don’t get health insurance — but the fine is actually less than it would cost to get health insurance anyway. RD: When I retired I did not realize that if I did not take the drug program, that I would get fined. And I’m paying $2 a month for the rest of my life because I went a couple of months without a drug program. And so I’m being forced to pay for somebody else’s drug program because I didn’t participate — now that was just one little thing that happened. Now, with this new program, lots of that is going to go on. And I just don’t think it’s right. AB: So I’d asked the question about the news media and you brought in academia and education up and I was wondering what made you make that jump? RD: Well, because the left-leaning, socialist, progressives know that the way to control the philosophy of a country is to be in those things — working for the cause — the cause being that things should be socialized — that everything should be brought to a median, where a person who doesn’t do well receives the same compensation as someone who does do well. And so in fact the guy that he just put in place to head up the new socialized medicine program — forgot his name — but he has been filmed saying that there must be a redistribution of wealth, or something like that. It made me think about that and it’s not right that that be forced upon us, but it is in fact a good idea. As a Christian, I believe that we should help the less — people with less resources and we should teach them how to survive in this society. The way I look at things now that I got older — I do not know how people nowadays can even understand how to buy a cell phone, it’s so complicated. I have a friend who ended up with a $450 bill on their telephone service because they had to move to a different location and take a different service. And stupidly, unfortunately, didn’t realize that huge charges were going to occur if they called long distance — and they rung up a large bill. But, I think we need to take another approach, and that is a voluntary approach, where we voluntarily help others — like we do in our church. I mean, we give a lot of money in our church that supports missions and — we have a hospital in India, we have a hospital in Cambodia that we completely support. We’re going to be doing a dental clinic in Mexico. This is my church. And, you know, this stamp I just bought the other day — I said who is this person? Her name is Mary Lasker, on a stamp. I looked her up on the Internet — find out that her husband had amassed a large amount of wealth and died and she put together a foundation that puts out, she distributes that money to worthy causes — so Congress decided to put out a stamp honoring her. But see, we in America do do those things, you know? Let’s do them voluntarily. Let’s educate our people to do more of this kind of thing. Now, I’m no socialist, but I do believe in caring for the needy people — but we’ve got to do it in a voluntary way — not by pointing a gun to our heads through the federal government. I do not believe in taking people’s money involuntarily. I mean when you study — when you look into Atlas Shrugged you’re going to hear these things coming out. It’s not right when a group of men can force another to give them their resources — and that’s what socialism is. It’s forcing people to give unwillingly of their resources for the common good. And it’s just not right. I think that’s probably the fundamental axiom difference between the socialist’s mind and a conservative. AB: So, final gear shift towards talking about the Tea Party a little more. How did you first become aware of it? You mentioned in April 2009, and you said you just heard about that on television? RD: Yeah, I did. AB: Through Fox? RD: Yeah, through Fox. There was a demonstration on the corner of Trinity Mills and George Bush — no I’m sorry Josey and Trinity Mills, which is just a mile south of here. They had a little clip and I saw that and then of course I heard about the Dallas Tea Party and I was big time involved in the Fourth of July Dallas Tea Party, they had like 30,000 people out at South Fork Ranch. I was operating the camera where we were streaming it to the Internet. I was on stage with the camera in the hot sun. AB: I bet. RD: Yeah, through the news channels. It was through Fox. AB: And obviously you have a long history of activism interspersed throughout your life — what caused you to join this particular movement? RD: Because it really touched home — we’re defending our Constitution, our very basic principles that are fundamental to us in fighting against socialism. We are not going to be a socialist country — this is going to get turned around. I’ve got one little thing too, this is a little biography from a company I used to work for — Richard DeJohn is an activist, it says, so when by chance he dropped by a meeting of GASP, the Group Against Smoke and Pollution it wasn’t long before he found himself interim president and then elected president and putting sometimes 30 or 40 hours a week in — but soon Richard’s Santa Clara County chapter had 1,600 members, one of the largest in the state, and was working hard alongside other chapters, to gather signatures to place clean air initiative on the ballot — this was California. We got the first law passed about cigarette smoking in public buildings. So I’m not just an activist for political causes, but for health and welfare. But, yeah I guess the only thing I could say is that we have to stand up for our Constitution and our way of life that has been so successful over the years and has helped so many countries. I mean look at the expense and life that was lost just getting Iraq to become a free country, where they actually vote for their leader instead of it being a dictator — I believe that country is going to fundamentally change forever. I mean we’re going to have to support them still, somewhat, but if you just go around the world and look at — I mean I watched a movie over the Fourth of July on my favorite religious channel and it was called, ‘What Would the World Be Without the U.S.?” And it talked about all the things we have done to help people stay free. How we were active in Kosovo and Bosnia and different countries who were. And if Kennedy hadn’t have signed that agreement against Cuba, we would have supported the Cubans going back and successfully taking their country back from a dictator. But people like Obama wouldn’t support that. AB: Why wouldn’t people like Obama support that? RD: Because Cuba is a communist country — an outright, I mean it’s pretty obvious that Obama supports socialist ideas — that it’s okay for government to run everything. By his actions he’s saying that. AB: What does the media consistently get wrong or misapprehend? RD: Well, there’s a big movement right now to smear the Tea Party and say they’re racist — which is totally untrue. We have Hispanics in our Carrollton Tea Party. We have a woman who escaped from Cuba and can give a real good — there’s an album in there where I showed her talking about her experiences in Cuba. There’s — right today the NAACP is supposed to vote on criticizing or objecting to racism in the Tea Party Movement. This is just absurd — one of the four leaders of the Dallas Tea Party, which claims to have I don’t know how many thousands of members — is a black woman! I don’t know if you’ve ever seen her speak. AB: I’ve heard of her, but I’ve not met her. RD: She’s fantastic. She grew up a typical black woman’s life — her mother raised her in the ghetto and she studied and got up in the world — I mean she does very well now. And she’s a leader in the Dallas Tea Party — very strong. AB: Why do you think in particular they’re levying charges of racism? Of all the smears they could be throwing why that one? RD: Because we oppose Obama — not for his color, but for his story and they’re using it to say we’re racist. That’s just not right. I mean if a white person did the same thing we’d do it — it’s not because of his color. We’re not racist. I mean, we dislike what’s her name who we think is going to run for president. Who’s our secretary of state? The last president’s wife? AB: Oh, Hillary Clinton? RD: Hillary Clinton. We oppose her just as much as we oppose him — I mean look at her, she tried to get health care through, just as wife of the president — national health care program. I — you just really have to read Rules For Radicals by Saul Alinksy. Have you seen that? You’ve heard of it I hope. AB: I’ve not read it but I’ve heard of it. RD: I have a couple of copies. And remembering my days at the University of Michigan when Hayden and Potter and the guy I can’t remember did some of the things they did — right out of Rules for Radicals. What’s his name? Bill Ayers — the SDS became the Weather Underground, and what were you asking me? AB: The original question was just what is the media consistently getting wrong about the Tea Party? RD: Well, on Fox nothing that I can see. But on the other channels there are these things — they heavily cover like the NAACP stuff, which is just wrong. If you read the Communist Manifesto it basically says that you must do anything within your power — lie, steal, cheat, whatever — to support the party. And I put that on the Web site somewhere — the manifesto. I even have a copy of Mein Kampf — I got that about four years ago. So I read a lot of books — I’ve got a shelf full of them in the bedroom there. But I’m getting off track. Just a second I want to get some water. AB: I can’t think of the question I’d meant to ask. So are there any questions I should have asked you or anything else about the Tea Party movement that you feel is important but that I haven’t heard from you? RD: First of all, we are definitely a grassroots group. We get members by them seeing us on the Internet, through my Web site, or people talking. Nobody is paid in our group. Because we are a grassroots group, we’re not really professional activists with a paid organization, we’re not as effective as we could be. One of the things I do promote in the group is more organization, more documentation of what we do. Right now our primary goal is to get as many conservative voters to vote on November, whatever the day is, November something. And we have our grassroots people working on that every day. We give them lists of geographical areas with names of people who have voted in the past three elections and we walk the blocks to get the precincts — we’re organized by precincts — to get the precincts as thoroughly educated as we possibly can so that they’re voting for the core values of the Tea Party, which are basically the core values of the Republican Party, although we are not supporting the Republican Party. We don’t — when we have meetings that have different, we invite the Democrats and Republicans and we’re going to keep, I think, asking the Libertarians, but we’re not going to be supporting any one particular group. Now, we are biased toward the Republicans, because the Republican Party, for instance in Denton County in particular, this area, is completely in line with our core values. So we support them, but only from that point of you — because of their values. We’re not going to put — you’re not going to see stuff on the Web site that talks about the Republican Party or the Democrats, unless it’s to see what the differences are. We’re not saying we should believe in those differences, necessarily, but what we do say is it’s a good idea to line up with the core values of the party, with the Tea Party values. And too many members try to join without having read stuff — and I’ll just push back if it looks like — I mean if they can’t say why they want to be a member, you know, I question them. And in your case, to be informed. AB: And I really appreciate that too. RD: Because we’ve got nothing to hide. AB: I actually remember the question that I wanted to ask but forgot to — why do you think the Tea Party arose when it did, as opposed to say when Bush was passing his version of TARP, or during the Clinton administration? RD: Well, I think it got triggered by the election year and the fact that it was such a stark difference in that we saw the candidates running on the Democratic side were so progressively liberal — and then we found out later once the president got elected he started appointing people who were out and out communists — like Van Jones and go to or org to find out about that. And people like the new director of the health care program. AB: So... RD: It was triggered by realizing that we — and it was fanned like a fire when Obama got elected and he started doing what he said he was going to do. Of course, he didn’t do a lot that he said he was going to do also — which irritated the heck out of us. He was going to take care of the border. [Richard’s phone rings and he has a brief phone conversation with his daughter.] AB: Yeah, so anything else, otherwise I think those are all my questions. RD: We just want our country to go back to more fundamental principles, as outlined in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence. And keep this country a place where people can come from all over the world and immigrate freely and legally, and realize their dreams. I mean this is a place where — I put that in this card actually — they can actually realize their dreams. Because we see our Constitutional rights and our bi-laws being ignored and the country spending money that they don’t have — spending trillions and trillions of dollars. The debt that’s accumulating is ridiculous and, like my daughter is going to be paying for this stuff — for the rest of her life probably — unless we get it turned around. And I can tell you right now, if we can remove Obama — he’s only going to be a one-term president. I can tell you that right now. These November elections are going to show him that we’re not going to put up with socialism in this country. I just, I just don’t understand why people don’t get it. Communism failed in Russia, and they’re still trying to get back communism. I mean, when the Berlin Wall came down and we could see what was going on — and we saw a country that was a third-world poverty-stricken country, because of communism. This used to be one of the countries that was on par with the rest of the European countries. And in fact Cuba, so close to our shore, and we see that there’s a country where people are repressed, and don’t have freedom of speech. And the country is so poor now. Is that what you want for the United States? We certainly don’t want it. Anyway. — Interview conducted by A.J. Bauer —

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