Well, the strongest sign I saw said "FIRE PELOSI". Mine said "How About COMPETENCE for a CHANGE?" The others were boldly printed "SCOTT CARROLL" (for Rick Scott and his running mate, Jennifer Carroll) plus hand-written signs the organizers had passsed out saying things like "Chicks for Rick" and "Vote for Rick".
I arrived around 3PM, two hours before the main event. By that time, however, all seating in and around Market Square was occupied by happy residents of "Florida's friendliest home town." The central area around the pavillion from which the headliners would talk was for standees only and was already 1/3 full.
I got a $1 hot dog and watched one of the jumbotron TVs showing video of the 2008 visit by President George W. Bush. They also showed the presidential primary appearances I had attended for Mitt Romney and John McCain, plus videos of the visits of Rudy Guilliani and Fred Thompson. The video highlight for me was the gigantic Sarah Palin for VP rally I had attended along with 70,000 others.
A nice lady gave me a flag. I stuck it into a hole in my hat. I politely turned down several offers of political signs since I had brought my own.
It was a brilliantly sunny and beautiful day in The Villages. I needed a shady place to sit. Folding chairs, coolers, and signs with sticks were banned from Market Square proper, but I was able to find a spot for my chair and cooler in the shade of a golf cart parked on Canal Street adjacent to the Square. I watched the musical group Rio Diamond via jumbotron TV and enjoyed the fellowship of the friendly crowd, sipping a can of soda from my cooler and reading the AARP Bulletin that had arrived in the mail that day.
Right on schedule, 5PM, the headliners arrived and I left my seat and found a great place to stand. It was about 10 feet from the pavillion, on the west side where the sun would not be in my eyes.
Introductions were quickly accomplished. In addition to Romney and Scott, they included Scott's wife of 38 years; his running mate Jennifer Carroll; Florida AG candidate Pam Bondi; plus some local politicos. Romney's talk was short and direct. He has been in The Villages several times before. I actually shook hands with him along the rope line after his 2008 talk.
Scott gave a nice speech, starting with his childhood in public housing. His first business, while in college, he said, was selling the donuts his mother made. He sold to airlines and other commercial customers and got to the point where his mother had to start making them 8PM the previous evening and work all night. As expected, he did not mention his time as CEO of Columbia/HCA, where he was ousted by the board in the aftermath of a big Medicade and Medicare fraud.
And then it was over and we all went home.
I though about how easy it would have been for me to have hidden any kind of disgusting sign in my car or golf cart and unfurled it at the rally. That is why I think it is totally unfair to blame the organizers for the inappropriate display of racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive signs that happen to show up at any event in a public place. (See Huffington Post for an opposing opinion.)