It's a beautiful day in Chicago - clear, sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-50s, and it's Friday. What are you going to do? How about FreePAC?
What? Yes, that's exactly what about a thousand activists did this past weekend as FreedomWorks brought speakers and trainers to Schaumburg Convention Center for FreePAC Illinois.
It was energizing and inspiring to see so many people dedicated to and passionate about freedom - and willing to fight the battles necessary to protect it. They were also there to hear terrific speakers including former President of Poland and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa.
The first hour was a training session focused on principled community action, including information on why voter contact is so important and best practices for effective get-out-the-vote efforts including door knocking and phone banking.
After a short break, the program began with Judge Andrew Napolitano offering an enthusiastic reminder of why freedom is so important. He mentioned Walesa who, unlike other speakers waiting behind the stage, was sitting up front in the audience. Napolitano said it was "great to be in the presence of one of the greatest defenders of liberty, Lech Walesa."
Not surprisingly, Walesa received the first of many standing ovations.
Napolitano started with a lesson on natural law, bringing up questions Thomas Moore asked when he was on trial in England: "Can a king decree a flat earth round? Can a parliament legislate a round earth flat? No."
Natural law exists and freedom is part of that, he explained. "Our freedom comes from the Creator, not our government," he said. "And we fought a war over this principle."
He talked about the straw that broke the camel's back - the Stamp Act. The King of England declared that every piece of paper in the colonies (not England, just the colonies) had to have his image on it. He tasked his soldiers with enforcing it. The soldiers could write their own warrants to search a house to inspect and enforce the law.
He likened that authority to those in the Patriot Act and asked how we could come so far only to find ourselves back where our founders were?
He told a story about a Maryland mayor indicted and brought to trial under the Alien and Sedition Act and how, in finding him not guilty, the jury gave us the first example of jury nullification.
"Why do we elected nanny-staters and do-gooders who want to make our decisions for us," Napolitano asked. "Why don't we elect people who want to defend our freedoms and leave us the hell alone?"
He concluded with this (paraphrased):
We are here for a very serious reason. We are here because we were created by all-knowing and all-loving God with free will - the ability to do good or do evil. When government makes decisions for us, they are separating us from God by preventing our free will.
Free will must be perfectly free. We must restrain ourselves - not be restrained by government - but restrain ourselves. We must elect people who believe this, too.
The Patriot Act lets soldiers write their own warrants...the act was delivered 15 minutes before it was voted on. Many in congress did not know that they voted in favor of something that our founders fought a revolution over.
The government works for us...we don't work for the government. The people are entitled to a government that stays within the confines of the Constitution. The Constitution was written to keep the government off the peoples' back.
On Oct. 26, 2012, freedom loving patriots gathered in a hotel in Chicago to celebrate freedom. 20 years, 10 years, 4 years from now, will that same freedom still be here?
It lies in our hearts, but like every muscle, it must be exercised. We must not shrink from the responsibility of protecting it.
The next speaker, Dana Loesch, had a lot to say about "women's issues" and the so-called 'war on women,' beginning with "I'm more interested in job than birth control."
She said one aspect of the real war on women was the federalization of our schools and removing the ability of a woman to choose where to send her kids to school.
"I'm so sick of the war on women," she said. "The Democrats are about to get a war FROM women this November. (We're going to tell them ) we're fed up and we're done with your fear mongering. That's the hope and change."
John Fund was up next, reminding the audience that "we can no longer leave politics to the politicians."
He also warned that the threat of voter fraud is very real. "The left says 'there is no voter fraud.' Those aren't the droids your'e looking for; pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." But, he detailed, in Iowa, non-citizens were sent to jail for illegally voting; in Arkansas, a police official and mayor went to jail for voter fraud; a congressional candidate has been caught voting in Florida and Maryland for the same election; and James O'Keefe has documented multiple instances of voter fraud, including his most recent expose of Patrick Moran.
"Patrick Moran is under criminal investigation for something that doesn't exist," Fund said. "But there's no voter fraud."
Adam Andrzejewski, founder of For the Good of Illinois, was next to talk about some state-specific issues, including some successes they've had in terms of exposing fraud in various levels of government.
"Illinois is systemically corrupt. We're told we can't fight city hall, can't fight corruption and win," he said. "If Lech Walesa can end communism in Poland, we can bring a new day to Illinois."
Lech Walesa was then introduced and received a standing ovation upon taking the stage. Speaking through an interpreter, he said, "I usually get applause when I finish, not when I start."
He talked about freedom and how to gauge freedom and democracy in a country. He asked, "how come we need to keep fighting for freedom against the governments?
"Rights to freedom and liberties, both countries have them, but the fault is in the sphere of responsibility: the responsibility we embrace vs. the responsibility the politicians embrace, " he said. "We must take on more responsibility ourselves and make the politicians responsible for what they are supposed to do."
He warned that we are close to losing our position as a superpower.
"In light of the responsibility this superpower holds, we hope you will make wise decisions this election and will again begin to lead the world," he said. "The world lacks leadership and we must do everything we can for the United States to regain its leadership position."
"And," he concluded, "In case you don't wish to continue being the superpower and leader, share the position with Poland. We will know what to do with it."
Probably the only person who could follow such a heart-felt address was Rev. CL Bryant, the producer of the "Runaway Slave" movie, and only because he has the southern Baptist preacher approach to public speaking.
"Why have the sons and daughters of former slaves traded one form of slavery for another? We are still divided along racial lines," he said in the movie preview shown before he spoke. "Why?"
In another outtake from the movie he said, "The size and scope and reach of government is the new plantation. The Black family that survived slavery comes apart under the welfare state."
Some of his comments, from my rough notes:
* Freedom works - works thru out world. It works for America - it always has. But if we're not careful, it will slip away - like grains of sands through our fingers it will slip away.
* Freedom means you get to make your choices.
* America's world view still intact, but we can continue down road of government slavery or throw the shackles off!
* From the land of Lincoln, the great liberator who kept the union together, we are going to send message loud and clear on Nov. 6. We have had it and we are going to have another emancipation day because this president has to go!
* But there is also a message that we need to send to DC and the elected officials we send there: we want big government off our backs, their hands out of our pockets. We're tired of their heavy hand in our lives; tired of debt, deficits, unemployment and of being lied to by the people we put in office.
* Tell us what happened in Benghazi! We need the truth: why did our people die?
* For four years, this administration has built walls between the people: walls of class envy; walls of deception and tyranny. President Reagan said 'tear down this wall.' We, the American people are going to tear down the walls this administration has built!
* We must finish the job we started in 2009. We've been called names, been through ups and downs and no one gave us a chance of surviving this far. We have started and will complete the greatest revolution since 1776. I was proud to be a tea party then and proud to be one now.
* The stakes are high. Government rewards laziness and expects us to foot the bill for it. Something has to be done. If we fail, they will thoroughly poison the minds of our young people and the nation we knew will be foreign to them.
* We've never known a day when we did not have our freedom. If we fail, in our lifetime, we may actually know a day when that may come.
* Big government is not our solution and answers will not arrive on Air Force 1 regardless of who becomes our president.
* God said we are the light of the world...a city set upon a hill cannot be hid. Enemies of our Republic like to hide and they work to destroy our self rule. We can't go back to sleep. We are awake now and we must live up and stand up to the challenges that face us. We cannot fail. We stand at the threshold of a new awakening in America - at threshold of retaking not only the White House but the Senate and hanging onto the House.
* The only way we will prevail is for us to continue to answer a question that must be answered not just from 1776, but to 2076: Is there anybody here who will stand up for the American Republic and defend our country? Stand up ...stand up ...stand up...
By this time, the entire room was on its feet, applauding.
There were several other speakers and it was fantastic to see so much energy for promoting the concept of freedom.
The event was broadcast live on the internet and they announced that 3,700 people had tuned in to watch.
If you get a chance to attend a FreePAC in your state, I hope you will - you'll be inspired to know that freedom, liberty and responsibility are still concepts that define Americans.