Election Inspires Man's Roadside Demonstration
Joe Sekula organized a group of pro-Romney demonstrators on U.S. 19 on Tuesday, which prompted a lone Obama supporter to launch a counter demonstration.
Many passing drivers honked in support, others gestured crudely. Joe Sekula seemed unfazed.
Just days before the Nov. 6 General Election, Sekula held a campaign sign reading "Fire Obama" as drivers stuck in Tuesday's U.S. 19 rush hour traffic slowly passed.
"Mitt Romney isn't cool," he said. "He doesn't hang out with Beyonce and Jay-Z trying to be cool. 'Cool' doesn't get the job done."
The New Port Richey resident waved for two hours alongside a dozen or so fellow pro-Romney demonstrators from all over North Pinellas.
Sekula, former Coast Guard and son of a 24-year Army veteran, said he's accustomed to getting a lot of feedback on both sides of the political spectrum when he demonstrates.
"A couple people pulled over and joined us," he said. "We get our fair share of people flipping us off, 'F yous,' and all that."
Sekula is the organizer of the group, which boasts a membership of more than 1,000 activists of a non-partisan Meetup group called the North Pinellas 9/12 Project (some demonstrators held signs in support of Democrat Carl Zimmerman). The group is a local chapter of a national, volutneer, Glenn Beck-inspired movement whose mission is uniting and educating people and communities on principals in the U.S. Constitution.
"It's not about the parties," Sekula said. "It's about voting the right people in."
A lone President Obama supporter stood across the street from Sekula's demonstration at the corner of Curlew Road and U.S. 19 with a homemade sign.
Michael James, 32, said he saw the group of Romney-Ryan supporters when he walked out of the Circle K and approached them.
He was so incensed after his interaction with the Romney-Ryan supporters that he went home, made his own Obama sign using a permanent marker and the lid of a blue storage container.
"How dare they tell me to get a job," said James, a five-year Palm Harbor resident said. "I work two jobs."
He is a cook at The Original Hooters in Clearwater and also distributes fliers at rate of 10 cents a copy, he said.
The 9/12 demonstrators said that James, who has visible tattoos on his neck and arms, was harassing them, so they told him to go to the corner across the street.
James avoided answering when asked what he initially said to the North Pinellas demonstrators.
"Good for him," one North Pinellas Project 9/12 demonstrator said when they saw him with his sign from across the street.
Want to Go?
The North Pinellas 9/12 Project plans to demonstrate twice more before the General Election on Nov. 6. They expect a 100 or more demonstrators.
- When: Friday, Nov. 2 and Monday, Nov. 5 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
- Where: North side of the Courtney Campbell Causeway