Tom Tancredo held a rally at the University of Denver’s Driscoll ballroom this past Saturday, October 2, to get voters excited about his less tax, less immigrants platform, but seemed to be encouraging more of both during his 45 minute speech.
Tancredo began his speech with a story of how his grandfather, Joe Tancredo, came to the US at nine years old and wouldn’t have even gotten in had it not been for the kindness of another Italian immigrant he met at Ellis Island who signed for him. He had no family, no papers, nothing, and yet was allowed in to this country to start a life and have a family. The crowd found this story heartwarming, even though those are all things Tancredo plans to deny Mexican immigrants if elected.
Later on, during the Q&A portion of his address, a gentleman asked what Tancredo would do about enforcing a constitution literacy test (something Tancredo has proposed be mandatory to be able to vote). Tancredo answered that he would like to create a stipend for schools that taught a constitution class and had children who were constitution literate. Ironically, during the same speech, Tancredo talked passionately about lowering property taxes for Coloradans, the tax that funds public schools.
Referring to himself as “just a Dego”, Tancredo appealed to the humble, working class lifestyles of his supporters, vowing to decrease the roll of government and cut taxes in Colorado (although, seeing as how tax dollars would pay his salary as Governor, it’s hard to imagine he wants to cut them too much). He vowed to support and help pass Amendment 62 (an amendment on the Colorado ballots that would define personhood as beginning at conception and make abortion illegal in all cases) and at one point even led the whole room in prayer.
There was a man in attendance, who happened to be sitting next to me across the row during the speech, who continually said "praise God" after all of Tancredo's statements. Not just after religious statements, but after everything. Praise God that Tancredo was going to make government's role smaller. Praise God that Tancredo was going to eliminate govenment issued student loans. This same man, before the speech started, was talking to a small group of people but loud enough for the whole room to hear and said that this was a " save Colorado campaign." That this was "the most important election of our lives". And while it is easy to disagree with this statement, it's also easy to see why this would feel so important to someone. This election, like so many other's across the country, is so much more about ideology than actual politics, and about standing behind an image and a party than behind actual issues.
When Tancredo came up to the podium to begin his speech, staffers put up an American flag behind him and everyone was asked to say the pledge of allegiance, and everyone was so excited to show everyone else just how patriotic they were. It became clear that the people were not there to support a candidate, but to prove their loyalty to the Tea Party, to show how many more American flag pins they could wear than the person sitting next to them.