I saw God’s hand this morning.  Well, not literally, but in a spiritual sense, and in the most mundane but remarkable way.

Gold Star moms Debbie Mason of Napa, CA and Debbie Lee of AZ

While at breakfast this morning, one of the hotel employees asked Tea Party Express musician and entertainer Ron Rivoli if the Tea Party Express was “one of those protest groups”. Ron explained that the TPX is a conservative based group traveling across the country promoting fiscal responsibility and government accountability.  “We are promoting Constitutional values and support for our military.  And that, in fact, we have a Gold Star Mom traveling with us.”

At that point, the hotel employee — whose name is Debbie just like our Gold Star mom Debbie Lee — reached inside her collar to show Ron a necklace she was wearing in memory of her son Ray Brooks Mason II who served two tours in Iraq and two years later died by his own hand after suffering from a malady all too common in our Armed Forces — severe PTSD.

So today, I’m dedicating my onstage remarks to Ray Brooks Mason II who served with the US Army’s 1st Infantry Division who gave his life in the service of our country and to all the Gold Star mothers – and fathers — whose lives will never be the same.

Please say a prayer for both these mothers and all the Gold Star parents who never ever get over the loss of the child who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

***

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We’re now at the Napa Valley Expo where our kick off rally was greeted by bleating protesters sequestered behind a chain link and barbed wire fence.  We can see their signs and hear their chants “Main Street, not Wall Street!”  “Tax the Rich!” and other rabble rousing.  Their behavior reminds me of rabid dogs: foaming at the mouth and making no sense whatsoever, out of their minds.

The media is here, and as far as I can tell it’s local, with the exception of CNN.  No sign at all of a FOX news affiliate, or for that matter any of the other alphabet soup of news networks.  Oh they’re here, or their paid contractors are, in case one of these rabid curs gets loose and terrorizes the peaceful families seated on their lawnchairs or blankets.  Then you’ll see some headlines.  As it is, the focus of whatever “coverage” ends up on the news will likely be of the protesters.  Period.  Our buses and speakers will be the “background” in their B-roll, or the context that frames their headlines and photos “Protesters turn out” ledes.

Nevertheless, the Napa crowd is enthusiastic, responding warmly to Diana Nagy’s fourth stanza of the national anthem, to Lloyd Marcus’ rendition of “In 2012”, and the Rivoli Revue’s “I need a bailout!”

Radio show host Tony Katz knocked it out of the park with his remarks, while Jimmy Labriola had them laughing out loud.  “Sumpin’ ain’t right!”

As we head to Nevada, the Silver State’s Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian today tweeted that TPX is a complete joke.  “I can’t stand the Tea Party Express… they ruin the actual tea party movement.”

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, who will be joining the TPX national tour later enroute, tweeted he was looking forward to it.  Tarkanian’s tweeted reply?

“Please focus on the conservative cause and stay away from the Tea Party Express.”

Look out Mizz Tarkanian. The Tea Party Express is rockin’ to your town.

You can follow minute by minute what’s happening with the TPX tour by logging on to Twitter.com/EricJOdom/tpx or follow Kylie’s Tweets at Our Country Deserves Better.