LAKEWOOD RANCH — The sign was clear and pointed:
“Give me liberty, not debt.”
Wearing patriotic clothing and accessories, including a red, white and blue flower headband, Sarasota resident Carole Holland held the sign high as she paced the grounds of the Sarasota Polo Club.
She was one of about 1,000 people who rallied Sunday at the First Tailgate Tea Party.
The afternoon was full of speeches, patriotic music and fellowship in which attendees discussed issues including fiscal accountability, national health care and freedom of speech.
The event was not partisan, but about holding elected officials accountable, said Gene Sweeney, one of the event’s organizers.
“They’re out of control,” Sweeney said. “They spend money we don’t have. It’s moral insanity. Mathematical insanity.”
Lloyd Marcus, author of the “American Tea Party Anthem,” and Chris Markowski, host of the national radio show “Watchdog on Wall Street,” spoke to the crowd, most of whom sat on lawn chairs under tents and colorful umbrellas for shade.
Throughout the afternoon, additional speakers, including some local residents, took turns standing behind a podium and speaking about other issues, including illegal immigration and veterans affairs.
Markowski, who lives in Sarasota, spoke out against what he called the misguided direction of government.
He aired a few of his grievances, including his thoughts on the stimulus package and the new energy bill.
“Let’s talk about the stimulus package,” he said to a fired up audience. “Where are the jobs?”
Markowski presented ideas, proposals and solutions to the real “Fiscal Issues” and to hold America’s “545” elected officials accountable. His publicist, Shannon Rose, said he has forecasted the economic events such as the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the demise of Enron and hedge fund blowups like the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.
As speakers addressed the crowd, Holland and dozens of other attendees in the crowd sat holding signs, some that read: “We the people are fed up! Spend your money, not ours!” and “Stop spending and reduce debt.”
Bradenton residents Rosetta Maggelet and Dorothy Feldman sat in lawn chairs under a tree near the stage.
“I’m frustrated with the administration, that’s why I came,” Maggelet said.
Feldman quickly added, “I love my country and I don’t want to lose it. That’s why I came today.”