Sponsored by the Tenth Amendment Center and WeRefuse.com, along with organizations such as The John Birch Society, local 9/12 projects, local Tea Party groups, the Campaign for Liberty, the Republican Liberty Caucus, People United for Medical Marijuana, and many more, the event began at 10 a.m. and lasted nearly the entire day.
The Orlando Nullify Now tour boasted a variety of reputable speakers including New York Times bestselling author Thomas Woods, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Michael Bolden of the Tenth Amendment Center, and Alex Newman, who spoke on behalf of The New American and The John Birch Society.
The focus of the event was nullification of all unconstitutional federal laws, specifically ObamaCare. Speaker Alex Newman, an American citizen who hails from Sweden, discussed the dangers of centralized healthcare he has observed firsthand in Sweden. He related that when his wife gave birth to a son seven months ago, they learned the hard way that there were no available obstetricians/gynecologists in Sweden, as they are swamped performing abortions on patients who fly into the country for the procedure. As a result, Newman's child was delivered by a midwife, a position for which there appears to be minimal training in Sweden.
Newman also took the opportunity to praise Switzerland's healthcare system, labeling it one of the “most free-market healthcare systems in the world.”
Similarly, Gary Johnson criticized the American healthcare system, even prior to the passage of ObamaCare, contending, “The healthcare system in the United States is not free market.”
Johnson — once considered a mainstream Republican, but now a self-proclaimed Libertarian with Republican leanings — also called for the legalization of marijuana, drawing a mixed reaction from the crowd. According to Johnson, drugs should not be considered a criminal justice problem, but rather a public health issue.
Additionally, he promoted the concept of term limits, a highly debated notion that has been at the forefront of political discussion for many years. Though himself term-limited out of his gubernatorial position after two terms, Johnson contends that term limits may be a viable solution to some of the nation’s problems.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were also focal points of Johnson’s speech. Acknowledging that he was initially in favor of the war in Afghanistan, Johnson explained that he believed the purpose of the war was to find Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Since the start of the war, however, Johnson noted that it is likely bin Laden has escaped Afghanistan, leaving American troops to simply “blow up stuff” and rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure, while American infrastructure continues to need work.
“No more nation-building!” he declared.
Johnson ended his speech by addressing the struggles plaguing the American economy. Drawing a standing ovation, he concluded, “We need to right this financial ship or we are going to collapse.”
Michael Bolden, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, described the benefits of the Tenth Amendment, as it allows the states to experiment — to compare and contrast different experiences. He confidently asserted, "Freedom will rise to the top.”
“Whatever the issue is — healthcare, economic policy — decisions should be made at the local level,” Bolden contended.
The highlight of the event was Thomas Woods’ speech, given to a full house. The author of Nullification: How to Resist Tyranny in the 21st Century, Woods appeared to be an expert on the subject of nullification, describing how the Founding Fathers, particularly Thomas Jefferson, were major proponents of state nullification throughout the debate for the Constitution.
He discussed nullification in general, asserting it to be a powerful tool against a growing Leviathan such as that of America’s federal government. He warned of the dangers of centralized regimes, such as those of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.
Woods did not miss the opportunity to criticize the Republican establishment, reminding the audience of the defeat of RINOs like Utah Senator Bob Bennett: “We are getting out into the mainstream with these ideas.”
He likewise criticized the mainstream media for its incestuous relationship with the current administration.
Woods interspersed a great deal of humor throughout his speech, particularly when he poked fun at America’s left wing. “Whatever happened to ‘question authority’?” he queried.
Overall, Woods saw the event as a step in the right direction. “Something historic is going on here.”
In an interview with The New American following the event, Woods was asked to reflect on the experience:
It’s like the old saying, “If you see a dog walking on its hind legs, you don’t ask whether he’s doing a good job or a bad job. You’re just amazed that he’s doing it at all.” Likewise, I’m amazed that an event like this could occur at all.
Many of the speakers and sponsors marveled at the mere fact that state nullification has been gaining support in recent years. Kurt Wallace, co-founder of WeRefuse.com, remarked, “People are receptive to ideas they may not have been to before,” particularly since state nullification “has already occurred.” Notable examples include the Firearms Freedom Act and the rejection of the Real ID Act. Other more recent examples include the rejection by Colorado and California of federal anti-marijuana laws.
After the event, Michael Bolden told The New American, “We educated a lot of people that are new to these ideas.”
Speakers also celebrated the diversity of the groups supporting the notion of state nullification. Wallace explained, “One of the most interesting things is the variety of angles to push nullification,” ranging from issues like the legalization of marijuana to repealing ObamaCare.
Describing the diversity of the nullification supporters, Bolden added, “They may disagree on specific issues, but they can all come together on nullification.”
There was a variety of political candidates at the Orlando event, including Florida’s 2010 U.S. senatorial candidate (on the Libertarian ticket) Alexander Snitker and Florida state Representative Scott Plakon of House District 37.
Orlando was the second stop of the Nullify Now tour, which Kurt Wallace has described as an “education tour to lay the foundations of nullification.” The next event will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 23, where The New American’s own Joe Wolverton, II will speak.
The tour will take a break for the holidays, resuming in the New Year with the hopes of making at least a dozen stops in 2011.
Those interested in the Nullify Now tour should visit http://www.nullifynow.com/.