The Liberty XPO and Symposium, which was held at the impressive Omni Shoreham hotel last Thursday morning, featured noteworthy speakers like Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN worker who transitioned into an ACORN whistleblower, and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who focused a large portion of his speech on politicians and media outlets who enjoy “trumping the race card.” Other prominent speakers included Kevin Jackson, author of The Big Black Lie, Fox News regular Lisa Fritsch, and K. Carl Smith, known as the “ConservativeMESSENGER.” All speakers shared similar sentiments about the power of God and blamed the media for dividing Americans according to their races. Despite the quality of the Symposium, however, attendance did not surpass 300, a disappointing turnout for the organizers.
Concurrently, Thursday's Religious Leaders Roundtable boasted an array of prominent religious leaders like Pastor C.L. Bryant, Rabbi Jem Golden, and Pastor George Lucas. The leaders prepared presentations on the protection of religious freedoms, the preservation of liberty and family values, the biblical and constitutional foundations of America, and the importance of voting. The roundtable asserted, “It is time for religious leaders to take a stand. We must set aside doctrinal differences and come together as one to protect the divine rights endowed by our Creator.”
Thursday evening, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, John Birch Society President John McManus taught a class called “Dollars & Sense, Solutions for the Economic Meltdown.” During the class, McManus talked about the 2008 financial crisis. McManus began, “The National Debt as of August 31 is $13 trillion dollars. The population of the United States is 309,000 million. Each citizen’s share of this debt is therefore, $43,000.” Quickly captivating the attention of his audience, McManus went on to discuss economic concepts like national wealth, inflation, and the impact of stimulus packages and the Federal Reserve.
Noting that much of what our federal government does for the economy is in violation of the Constitution, McManus outlined a series of steps that must be taken to restore the American economy: “Restate the definition of the dollar, allow private coinage, cancel legal tender laws, restate the ban on ‘bills of credit’, abolish the Federal Reserve, terminate unconstitutional programs, and cancel the income tax.” Urging Americans to be more actively involved in politics to protect their liberties and the American economy, McManus closed his speech by encouraging attendees to consider joining The John Birch Society, an organization with a strong belief in personal freedom and limited government.
The “Remember the Ladies” banquet was held in the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Friday, where the Founding Mothers were celebrated, and where calls for a new generation of women to take the lead were made. At the dinner, speakers noted the dangers plaguing the United States. Speaker Ginni Thomas of Liberty Central remarked, “We know what’s important, what’s at risk in our country. We’re losing it.” However, with a hopeful message, Thomas indicated her expectation of at least 60 new members of the House after November, ones who embody constitutionalist principles.
On Saturday, September 11, a memorial ceremony was held at the Washington Monument from 8:45 a.m., when the first tower was hit by an airplane, until 10:30, when the second tower collapsed. Gripped with overwhelming sadness and pride in the American spirit, guests gathered to pay tribute to American heroes. Speakers included Jim Sherwood, a retired lieutenant from the New York Fire Department, military wife Kimberly Fletcher, and Peter Gabriel, founder of 9/11 Families for a Secure America. Attendees were regaled by the spiritual and patriotic performances of American Idol’s Maddy Curtis, international opera singer Paula Swornay, Gospel singer Anna Ogletree, and many more.
After the memorial, guests gathered at the National Gallery of Art and marched back to the Washington Monument. There, they celebrated American exceptionalism and the values on which this nation was founded. Bearing patriotic signs that read “God Bless America,” “In God We Trust,” and “We Remember,” attendees comforted one another as first responders, soldiers, and all of the Americans who perished on that fateful day nine years ago were honored. Yvonne Donnelly, president of the 9/12 Project, Clint Didier, retired football player for the Washington Redskins and former U.S. Senate candidate, author Larry Schweikart, and others spoke at the rally, calling upon Americans to dedicate their lives to freedom, the U.S. Constitution, and the preservation of the American experiment.
On Sunday, the 9/12 rally was held at the Capitol building, hosted by a variety of conservative groups and lead by Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Attendees gathered at a nondenominational service at the Washington Monument led by Reverend C.L. Bryant. Following the service was a march from the Washington Monument to the Capitol, where prominent speakers like Representative Mike Pence, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, former Majority Leader Dick Armey, and many more addressed America’s struggles.
At the capitol, attendees protested big government, and supported lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Progressives on both sides of the aisle were targeted, but none so much as President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, as well as liberal Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins.
Much of the event focused on the “Contract from America.” Written by conservative activist Ryan Hecker, the contract calls upon America’s representatives to fight on behalf of individual liberty and economic freedom. The contract asks that the representatives do the following: 1. Protect the Constitution 2. Reject Cap and Trade 3. Demand a balanced budget 4. Enact fundamental tax reform 5. Restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government 6. End runaway government spending 7. Defund, repeal, and replace Obamacare 8. Pass an “All of the Above” energy policy 9. Stop the pork and 10. Stop the tax hikes. The contract has already been signed by a variety of midterm candidates, including senatorial candidates Rand Paul and Dan Coats, as well as current politicians like Representative Michelle Bachman.
Of course, some of the above is vague. For instance, a balanced budget could be obtained by raising taxes as well as cutting spending — and it could also be obtained by putting more spending off budget. (Even when the budget was supposedly balanced when Bill Clinton was in the White House, the national debt still went up.) Reducing taxes is also part of the Contract, but what spending would be cut to enable the budget to be balanced and taxes to be cut at the same time? Stopping pork would help, but would not address the underlying program of the federal government doing many things it is constitutionally prohibited from doing, no matter how much fat is eliminated from the unconstitutional programs.
Which raises the question: How many of the leaders of the Tea Party or the 9/12 movement support ending all programs not authorized by the Constitution, from social-welfare programs at home to maintaining an empire overseas? The Contract calls for defunding, repealing, and replacing ObamaCare. But replace it with what? Replacing it with another federal healthcare program — perhaps a form of ObamaCare lite — would still fall outside of the Constitution.
The FreedomWorks website states regarding healthcare: "We want Americans to be able to use the free market to choose the care that suits their individual needs. We believe that government should not gain more control over healthcare." (Emphasis added.) That statement raises the question: What amount of control would FreedomWorks support? Obviously it would be something less than the new ObamaCare law — but how much less?
FreedomWorks also calls for scrapping the current tax code and replacing it with a flat tax. But how much money would be collected and how would it be spent? Contrast this position with that of Congressman Ron Paul, who when running for President in 2008 as the "champion of the Constitution" called for scrapping the income tax and replacing it with nothing.
But though the positions of some at the "March on D.C." events may be closer to the Constitution than others — and this applies both to the attendees and to the speakers — there is no doubt that there is a growing mood in this country to reverse our present course toward more and bigger government. The "March on D.C." was simply another manifestation of this mood.
The most charismatic speakers at the 9/12 rally seemed to be the two “Americans by choice.” Natives of Columbia and Brazil, they talked about their experiences with tyrannical regimes and the parallels that they see between the governments they’ve left behind and that which governs our nation today. They were unafraid to use words like “Marxist” and “socialist” to describe the President. Despite the severity of their warnings, their messages were that of hope, that the possibility of allowing our country to succumb to tyranny is inconceivable.