Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tea Party salute to troops rallies crowd for "American exceptionalism"

TAMPA — The revival took place in a huge white tent in the still of the hot summer with themes of salvation, good and evil. They sang songs of faith and testified Tuesday at the Tea Party Patriots' "Defending Our Defenders" rally at Liberty Plaza.

Former Navy SEALs, congressmen, state legislators and even actor Jon Voight turned out to preach "American Exceptionalism" to the partisan crowd.

They also came spreading what they said was the gospel truth that President Barack Obama was leaking sensitive wartime information, "spiking the football" and taking undue credit for killing Osama bin Laden; handcuffing American soldiers with shoddy equipment; and — literally — bowing down to the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Japan.

"I'm American made, I've got American parts, I've got American faith in America's heart," sang guitar strumming Jon David Kahn. "Go on raise the flag, I've got stars in my eyes. I'm in love with her, and I won't apologize."

About 100 attendees watched a video clip with the words "Heroes don't seek credit" coinciding with Obama saying "I did" over and over in regards to the famous SEAL Team 6 operation. They heard from former Navy SEALs and parents of slain SEALs who believe Obama was responsible for their children's death.

"This administration put a target on my son's back," said Karen Vaughn of Stuart, whose son Aaron Carson Vaughn was among 38 killed when a transport helicopter was shot down on Aug. 6, 2011. "Our warriors deserve to be defended."

Before the rally, Nina Higdon, 60, a Navy mother from Clearwater, had texted her son that she was attending "a salute to our troops and since you are my favorite troop, I salute you and dedicate this event to you."

After listening to Vaughn, Higdon's eyes filled with tears. A Republican since she came to the United States as a Cuban political refugee, she said she was even more convinced that "Liberty's at stake" in this election.

In every way, the rally, like a revival, was as much about affirming attendees' already ingrained beliefs as it was about spreading a message.

"You come to keep you inspired," said Tom Scancarelli, 49, of Redington Shores, "to keep you in the fight."

Justin George can be reached at or (813) 226-3368.

Tea Party salute to troops rallies crowd for "American exceptionalism" 08/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no


    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  3. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  4. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee: