Three months, 90 days. That’s how long I’ve been in the freedom movement. I simply can’t f’ing believe it. It’s been like the beginning of a true-love relationship; it’s gone by so fast, yet it seems like it’s been a part of me for so much longer. By the grace of the Creator I’ve ambled upon, by happenstance, a freedom movement that is literally weapons-grade nuclear in power.
Three months ago tonight, I said to myself, “I’m going, no matter what.” It was December 15th, 2008 - Bill of Rights day at the Wrigley Mansion. I showered, got dressed in my best clothes, kissed my wife goodbye, and pointed my car toward the Wrigley Mansion in the wet December evening. I had no idea what to expect; I was going to a place I’d never been and surrounded by people I had never met. The people I observed that night were nothing like the “radicals” the news described; these were people of all ages from all walks of life.
About two hundred people had gathered in the Garden Terrace Room of the world-famous Wrigley Mansion to celebrate the Bill of Rights; the defining portion of the most important document ever drafted. I was awestruck. Motivational speaker Dr. Lance Hurley seemed to become Patrick Henry as he passionately reenacted one of his speeches. To me, the most powerful aspect of the evening was that everyone was invited to stand in front of the crowd and have their voice heard if they so desired. No one voice was more important than the next. I have found this to be a common element throughout the freedom movement. That night I approached Ed Vallejo, organizer of the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty Meetup group, and told him I was interested in volunteering. Ed received me warmly, gave me his cell phone number, and told me to call him any time.
In all honesty, it wasn’t my very first event. On November 22nd, I’d heard both Ed and Ernie Hancock speak at the End the Fed rally. In the short amount of time since then, I have come to deeply respect and appreciate these “dyed-in-the-wool” patriots. At the End the Fed rally, I didn’t really interact with anyone, nor had I planned to. As a self-described “student of man,” I only wished to go out, hold up a hand-made sign, and observe. What I observed left an indelible impression that will remain a part of me, regardless of how the remainder of my days come to pass.
Most of all, I understood that I wasn’t alone. There are many like me that believe in the rights of the individual above all else. There are people that believe that freedom is bestowed upon us by the Creator and is not something to be granted or revoked by the whims of men. There are people who want nothing other than to be left alone to pursue their lives as they see fit and have no desire to inflict their wishes upon anyone else. There are people who believe in personal and fiscal responsibility, and they feel entitled to expect the same from their government. I left the rally not only inspired, but with my heart swelling.
But what to do? What to do? Knowing you’re not alone in the world is all well and good, but without some concomitant action, feelings by themselves don’t amount to a hill of manure. These people were doing something about our collective situation, but how do I start doing it too? What difference could I possibly make?
I had joined the Ron Paul Campaign for Liberty Meetup group in October 2008, but I hadn’t participated in any way. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the very first thing I did was also the smartest. As a registered libertarian and an avid supporter of Ron Paul, I figured it was a good place to start. That was how I found out about the End the Fed rally and the Bill of Rights day. I would encourage anyone interested in the freedom movement to start with a local Meetup group.
But I digress. It took me almost two weeks to get up the nerve to call Ed, but nothing was really happening at the time because it was the week between Christmas and New Year. Sometime later in the day, after speaking with Ed, I made the firm decision to dedicate a large portion of my time to the freedom movement. I decided I was going to do it; whether it was with them, another group, or if necessary, as a quasi-Tiananmen Square Tank Man rolling solo. I had to do something other than writing caustic diatribes that nobody read and agonizing over the fast-approaching tyranny. It wasn’t a healthy outlet, because it didn’t do a damn thing to ease my fear and loathing. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, so it was pure coincidence that I wrote Ed an email declaring my intentions on New Year’s Day. If the truth be told, I wrote it more for myself than for anyone else.
Ed wrote me back and invited me to meet him at the January 3rd Arizona Breakfast Club. I called him and said thank you but my wife works nights and I don’t have a car that early. Ed, barely having ever met me, offered to give me a ride which I gratefully accepted. Again, that day changed my life. The topic for the January 2009 Breakfast Club was Ernie Hancock speaking about a new Freedoms Phoenix Workshop with full printing capabilities, a video production studio, and a podcast studio that was going to be built at 7th Avenue and Indian School in Central Phoenix. I thought to myself “Holy shit. That’s less than ¼ mile from my house. This is just so meant to be. So let it be written, so let it be done.” One week later, I was helping move things into the shop.
Today is the Ides of March, it’s 2 ½ months later and the Freedoms Phoenix Workshop is almost complete. The rest is history, as they say. Since then, I have learned so much. I have learned that the far better approach is to be positive; to be for something, as opposed to being against something if you want your message to be heard. I have learned that it is best to be loosely organized, if at all. The more structure there is in any given organization, the less efficient it becomes in both achieving its goals and in using its resources. I have learned that the essence of the freedom movement is about freeing minds, and whatever you can do to achieve that end is the right course of action. I have learned that voting in elections is a waste of time, and that each time you put up a sign somewhere, you are voting.
Already, there are many people have become a part of me and hopefully I have become a part of them. The movement is about liberty, but being about liberty is ultimately about people. There are so many that I have come to like and admire. I’d like to thank Ernie, Ed, Donna, Powell, Barry, Jeanne, Renee, John, Andrea, Jim, Drew, Shelton, Chris, Ben, Peter, Annette, Mike, Mikey D, and everyone else that has made me feel like a welcome addition to this powerful and positive movement. I am a measurably better person today than I was just three months ago. Will I be better yet in three more months? Who knows? Life is the journey, not a destination, but I do know one thing for sure…..
“If freedom’s the answer, what’s the question?”