8/16/98 I arrived about an hour early to check out the atmosphere. There was no apparent police, the crowd assembled was mixed a lot of 17 - 21 years olds, then a gap and a lot of what you might call old Hippies. I spread out a blanket and "set up shop" in the middle of the park, offering free literature only. I went to talk to the organizers, gentleman named Al was in charge of the stage area so I was refered to him. we talked about what I was going to say and why. He was interested in what organization I represented and I indicated none... That I was in fact totally independent of all organizations. I continued mentioning that I planned to run for president in 2000 and wanted to owe no favors to anyone. A band began playing around 11:30 about noon or so they took a set break and Al announced the speakers for the afternoon. he told me I would be first and when the band took a second break around 1:00. Al got up and I expected him to announce me as the most protesting man in America, but he announced "A very special guest from Pennsylvania, a man with no ties, Independent Presidential candidate John Galt jr !!" The crowd of about 500 gave me a rousing round of applause as I was given the stage, clad in my hemp shirt, blue jeans and sun glasses, I thanked Al for the gracious build up and then I gave this speech.The crowd was very attentive, when I finished I got an even bigger round of applause and then people lined up to shake hands with the next president of the United States, and trade a hit from their bowl for some of the literature I had on hand. I noticed an officer of law standing nearby watching this odd exchange of buzz for knowledge, he looked more confused by it than I did, but said and did nothing... This lead into a small group and one on one conversations.
The subject matters were not limited to Marijuana and hemp.
Discrimination, gun control, nuclear arms, the greenhouse effect and many other subjects popped up along the way. I ended up basically speaking this way for a few hours, while the other six speakers and various bands took the stage. I took a break to hear Elvy Musikka (AKA Legal Marijuana recipient # 8) speak. She said government pot was sub standard. She gave a rousing speech on the medical marijuana issue and sang a song afterwards. Later she came over to my blanket area and joined me in a interesting conversation with a young gentleman named Adam (AKA Trip Naked) and his girl friend? Jessica. During an open mike segment one man took the stage and announced that he had smoked marijuana for over twenty years, that it was a trap and he was still trying to get his life back together. Al responded by telling him to organize his own rally, this is our time, stay the hell off our stage! Another speaker said he was in the area to protest nuclear arms. In fact he and several other people staged a peaceful protest by climbing over the fence at the near by missile silos and using giant sledge hammers, banged on the outside of the silos. This is a peaceful protest? They will receive ten years in jail for this act. What was the point?
At 3:30 the last scheduled speaker finished up and they began to play recorded music while the last band tore down. Around 4:00 Al returned to "my station" and informed me that the 4:00 band was tardy and would I be willing to speak again? I said sure, but since the crowd hadn't changed much, I would need I little while to decide what I would say this time out. He returned a short while later and we returned to the stage together. He started out with "Do you know what time it is? The crowd shouted out 4:20 and Al announced I was going to speak again. Once again I was given rousing applause and I recycled this speech, one of my personal favorites.when I finished I requested that the sound man put on some Floyd. The crowd roared with approval and he put on Dark side of the Moon for our listening pleasure. (I love this kind of power). Around 5:30 the dark clouds moved in and I volunteered to do the finish up speech, while the organizers and vendors scrambled to tear down the booths and displays. I read M.A.M.P. for the crowd and then gave them an impromptu ten minute speech on get your butt moving, do something, vote, protest and change this world. The youth of the crowd seemed very excited about the possibilities of change coming from their votes. A clap of thunder followed by a huge downpour officially ended the event and a group of dozen young people came up and joined me on the covered stage for some ritual protest smoking. I had several offers to hang around and party the night away but my resolve said hit the road we got more work to do....