By Lindsay Shachnow
Boston University News Service
On Tuesday at about 10 a.m., patriotic music blared from Grand Opportunity USA’s event speakers on Boston’s City Hall plaza.
GO USA – a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization – hosted the “Stop the Tyrants Unite for Freedom” rally to promote its Opp Score political credit rating system which rates candidates on a scale of -5.0 to +5.0 points based on “five points of opportunity:” personal, economic, social, education and national.
“It’s sort of like the Yelp or Rotten Tomatoes of politics,” founder and CEO of GO USA John Paul Moran said. “We’re nonpartisan, but we call a spade a spade. Republicans do much better on the scores than Democrats.”
Moran restarted his organization after his unsuccessful run for Congress against Democrat Seth Moulton in 2020 where Moran received 34.4% of the vote, according to Ballotpedia. After he lost the election, Moran and others filed a failed lawsuit that sought to decertify the election results by challenging the constitutionality of certain Massachusetts election laws enacted in 2020 to facilitate early and mail-in voting.
“I saw how awful our government is and how also everybody agreed with me…but yet they voted for the other guy,” Moran said. “The market economy doesn’t work that way.”
Various speakers at the rally covered a wide range of topics including mandates, immigration, censorship and family values.
Young conservative Tik Tok creator and social media influencer “Bodittle” spoke about his views on the family unit.
“What is so bad about saying I want to have and protect the nuclear family?” Bodittle said. “I think a man and a woman in a household is gonna raise good children.”
Moran said the nuclear family is “essential” and the “foundation of civilization,” but he broadened the scope of Bodittle’s definition to include “two fathers or two mothers.”
Moran, who describes himself as an “out gay Republican” on the GO USA website, acknowledged pushback against gay rights within the Republican Party.
“I have a handful of people that wouldn’t support me and they badmouth me because they’re homophobes,” he said. “If they’re that hardcore, I can’t work with them at all because they just don’t respect me as a person.”
Still, Moran said he does not care if fellow party members are for or against gay marriage “as long as civil rights are protected.”
“I would never get married to a man because I’m Catholic,” he said. “I’m a Catholic first before I’m a gay man.”
Republican candidate for Massachusetts’ first congressional district Dean Martilli said he attended the event because he wanted to show his support for GO USA’s operation.
“I was a long-term Democrat,” said Martilli, who received a “strong pro-opportunity score” of 4.2 points on the Opp Score. “They’re not really concerned about the citizens that voted them to go to Washington to represent them. It was more about the policy of what they want to do to mold the country.”
Event speakers also expressed their condemnation of government mandates, which attracted audience members with similar views.
Rally-goer Deborah Chandler said she happened upon the event on her way back from accompanying one of her unvaccinated friends to the Boston Courthouse who, she said, was arrested for assaulting a police officer after attempting to enter the Boston statehouse without having received the COVID vaccine.
“COVID is a scam,” Chandler said. “They’re making an excuse to clamp down on our liberties.”
Chandler said a “global group of people” is responsible for the “COVID plandemic” and is working on “depopulating a certain percentage of people.”
“Some people call them the deep state. I don’t know who exactly ‘they’ are,” she said. “They’re all in it together, and they planned this a long time ago.”
Chandler, a self-described “curious” and “independently thinking person,” denied being a conspiracy theorist and said she “put the puzzle pieces together” by talking to people and looking at “many different sources of information.”
Another onlooker, who asked to be identified as PJ, said he became “passionately opposed to mandates” after studying experimental medical efforts in Nazi Germany.
“It was a huge gross human rights violation what happened back in Germany with the post-medical experimentation against people’s will,” he said. “I find that what’s going on today is very much the same.”
PJ said he came to the event to connect with fellow ralliers.
Like PJ, attendee Kevin Mackie said he frequents similar rallies because he sees them as a “great networking” opportunity.
“You can find people that share your beliefs and your intentions,” Mackie said. “It can show the passersby that there are people like us that have a certain set of beliefs that aren’t often represented.”
Dallas Quinlan, a former campaigner for Bernie Sanders, said he stumbled upon the event while passing by the City Hall. He described participants as “losers” and said the impact of a rally like this is “purely negative.”
“I’m sure there are a lot of very impressionable people who are walking around the area that don’t have anything going on like myself who would gravitate toward this rally and actually give them the time of day,” he said. “In general I think it’s a net negative for Boston, for the world right now.”
While onlookers like PJ and Mackie saw the rally as a means of spreading their message and connecting with other like-minded people, Quinlan recognized the dangers of amplifying the voices of “people that are very angry deciding to come together.”