Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Jenny Beth Martin, co-Founder of the Tea Party Patriots and columnist for The Washington Times to the newsmaker line to discuss upcoming rallies and the just say no program for mask and vaccine mandates.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by our good friend for many years and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, Jenny Beth Martin. Good morning, Jenny Beth.
Martin: Good morning. It’s so good to be with you.
Leahy: Jenny Beth, you and I have known each other for some time. We were involved in the launch of the Tea Party movement back in February of 2009.
We first met in April of 2009, when you and I and several other early founders of the Tea Party movement were at the studios of PJTV out in Los Angeles. And we did several programs that day or over that week on PJTV about the Tea Party movement.
What’s interesting about that in-studio here today at 7:00, a new resident of Nashville, Roger Simon, who at the time was head of PJTV and is now a regular all-star panelist on The Tennessee Star Report and writer at The Epoch Times. How about that for twelve years of progress?
Martin: (Chuckles) That is great. That is great. And I’m so glad he is in Tennessee and in a much more conservative area of the country now.
Leahy: We’ve been working on the cause of liberty to preserve the constitutional Republic. You and I and hundreds of thousands of Americans. How are we doing?
Martin: I think that we have had some good days and some good years and then some setbacks. And I think right now we’re in a period of setbacks. We have a lot of work to do.
But, Michael, that is how it goes when you want to hold on to liberty. It isn’t a one-and-done situation. It is something that takes eternal vigilance. And that means watching over it day after day after day after day.
Leahy: Yeah, that’s where we are isn’t it? We’ve been doing this for twelve years, others before us were doing it for many, many years.
At the Tea Party Patriots Action, there’s a new program of activism called just say no to all these mandates and the masks and vaccines and things of that nature. Tell us a little bit about that program.
Martin: So we had a round of protests. About a week and a half ago we had around 85 protests around the country to just say no to the medical mandates. And we are working to stop these overbearing COVID medical mandates.
We wound up with nearly 300 people who said they wanted to host a rally. But we did this in a very short time period. So we are repeating it. And we will be doing these rallies again between September 22nd and September 25th so that people can continue to tell their local government, school boards, state government and send a message to Washington, D.C. as well that it is time to end these COVID mandates.
There were 15 days to slow the spread. That’s been over 18 months ago. It’s time for us to get back to living our life. People do not want to be required to show a vaccine passport in order to live in America, and they also want masks off themselves. But most especially off of their children when the children are in school.
Leahy: Our studios here are in Nashville, and we’re in the same building where Clay Travis and Buck Sexton have their program later in the day. Clay Travis, of course, a big sports fan.
Clay talked a lot about has talked about the college football weekend and how so many Americans were showing up participating in college football, not wearing their masks, cheering, and just enjoying life.
And saying, you know, it’s time to get on time to get past it. I know you live down in Georgia. We never talked about this, whether you’re a Georgia Bulldog fan or a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket fan. Don’t you think, though a lot of Americans feel like those college football fans? It’s time to get out and start living again?
Martin: I do. And I am a Bulldog all the way. I graduated from UGA. But I think that that is exactly right. They want to be able to get out and live their life again. And I’m not saying that COVID does not exist.
I’m not saying that it’s not deadly to people and especially to certain groups of people who have pre-existing conditions, including being overweight or having diabetes and obesity. And not just overweight, but being obese or having diabetes or heart conditions.
But I am also saying we have to be able to live our lives and we have to be allowed to make choices about what we’re putting into our bodies and be able to live with those choices. And the vaccine is available.
If people want to take it, they can take it. If they don’t want to take it, they should not be penalized for not wanting to take something where we don’t know the midterm and long-term side effects of taking that shot.
Leahy: Jenny Beth, you also are a parent and was involved in I think, one of your local counties down there in Georgia where there was a school board meeting and some parents wanted to express their opposition to the possibility of mask mandates and other related sorts of impositions on their own medical decisions in life.
I get the sense that all around the country, there’s sort of an organized effort on the other side now developing to kind of characterize legitimate opposition to some of these school board policies as kind of crazy and fringe. What’s your experience with that?
Martin: Yeah. I think that definitely has happened, whether it is on COVID mandates or whether it is about Critical Race Theory, Critical Social Justice Theory, social-emotional learning, the school boards.
It is very much like what we experienced in 2009 for members of Congress back then. They are not used to people showing up at the meetings and expressing their opinions and being so vocal about it.
And it is, I think, a little bit unnerving to the school board members for so many years have gone to these meetings, and nobody has shown up at all. But they shut down the schools. They brought the classrooms into our children’s bedrooms and the kitchen tables.
We saw what was being taught, and we are opposed to it. We want our children back in school and we want them to be educated, not indoctrinated.
And even in some of the most conservative areas of the country, I would argue that no one would even argue with me with that. I live in a very conservative area of the country and our school board is fairly conservative.
But even in those areas, we are still running into problems when it comes to critical race theory. We’re running into problems when it comes to healthy quarantining or shutting down some of the classrooms from time to time.
Where I live, there is not healthy quarantining, and thankfully there also is not a mask mandate, but in other counties that are very similar to mine and then in counties that are not and are much more liberal, there are mask mandates.
There’s healthy quarantining of students who have been exposed to somebody who tested positive. Not even someone who is showing symptoms and your own child isn’t even sick. And people are tired of this.
There are parents around the country whose children missed ten to twelve weeks of school last year in school districts where schools were open because of healthy quarantining.
Leahy: Here’s a question that’s been puzzling to me. I want to pose it to you and see if you’ve thought about this. Since we began our activism when the Tea Party movement in early 2009, it seems to me that there has been a growing tendency of institutions, not just at the national level, not at the state level, but also at the local level to become more authoritarian. Have you noticed that?
Martin: Yes. I definitely have noticed that there is a tendency to become more authoritarian. And I think that kind of goes back to what we were saying just a minute ago about how liberty demands eternal vigilance.
The people who have power always want to hold onto that power and accumulate more power. And people who want to be free are constantly having to fight against the people who have power. I think that is a struggle that is timeless.
It is human nature, and it is something that we constantly are having to be on guard against. And right now, there are many places around the country, probably more places around the country that did become authoritarian than did not become authoritarian.
Leahy: Yeah, I think you’re right about that. Jenny Beth, hold through the break, will you? Because now that we’ve outlined the problem I’d like to talk about some of the positive things that people can do.
Listen to the full first hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jenny Beth Martin” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.