We all need to recharge our batteries sometimes. In a society of grotesquely obese government and citizens who rarely pay attention to what is really happening, it is easy to become weary. The liberty movement is beginning to see successes, but they are slow to come. It is easy to get depressed or want to give up. It’s important to reconnect with those share your beliefs, in order to keep the faith. The torch of freedom won’t be carried by only one or two people, but a generation of individuals determined to right the wrongs of the past several generations. The burden is heavy and the job immense. Few times in our history has so much been asked of a young generation. If we don’t carry this burden and successfully return our nation to its founding principles, we risk losing all that these United States were formed to protect. No one can face this immense challenge sanely without the camaraderie of like-minded souls who share your passion, drive, intelligence, and vigor.
This past week I attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as a volunteer for Campaign for Liberty. CPAC is traditionally a neo-conservative conference. It is geared toward people who believe in individual liberty for those who subscribe to their moral and religious code. God-given unalienable human rights do not apply to those who do not fit their mold. They subscribe to a principle of aggression, desiring to force the world to emulate them with bombs, drones, and tanks. It’s not exactly a utopian environment for me. However, Campaign for Liberty reminded us that many of us were once neo-conservatives. Someone opened our eyes to the concept that war is not pro-life and it is not prerogative of these United States to coerce any sovereign nation to be a democracy, republic, or any other form of government. Using government to further religious or moral causes is dangerous ground, as the ideals forced upon us in the future may not be what we like. Let each person choose religion and morality for himself. Awakening happens over time, requiring gentle, but consistent education. Campaign for Liberty worked to educate and awaken the neo-conservatives at CPAC, along with providing education for the liberty movement and the opportunity for weary warriors to recover and connect.
I’m amazed at how exhausted recharging makes me. During the day, I attended a mix of events. Some were big government politicians claiming to be small government Republicans. Their speeches were merely pep rallies with occasional talking points with almost no substance. Speaker after speaker joked about Obama’s teleprompter while unfolding wrinkled notes from a coat pocket. What does one learn from the over-told joke? Conservatives can’t use technology as well as liberals. The worst part is that they think that is good. Speeches were light on principle and philosophy, and heavy on name-calling and empty talking points. However, the Campaign for Liberty sponsored events dug deeper. One sessions analyzed the actions of Abraham Lincoln and the repercussions we still feel today. We learned about economics, nullification, and Constitutional authority.
My volunteer activities were just as diverse. I manned the video camera of two events and was a bartender for the Bloggers and New Media Meet and Greet. I also joined a group of activists for a photo-op on the Hill with Dudley Brown of the National Association of Gun Rights for a petition drop.
The social time filled the evenings and went into the wee hours of the morning, with bedtime somewhere between 3:30a.m. and 6:30 a.m. each “night.” The recurring statement was “I LOVE being around like-minded people!” How often do you have the chance to socialize with intelligent and diverse people who share your passion for saving liberty? Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) and Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA) both hosted happy hours at local bars. The C4L volunteers gathered the first evening to get to know each other at the CPAC Underground. And the last night we celebrated Ron Paul winning the CPAC poll. Between drinks and dancing, we debated politics, groaned about our work ahead, and celebrated each others’ successes. We shared information on how we were successful at campaigns, legislation, and growing the movement. It was invigorating. Of course, you don’t spend 21 waking hours a day with the same people and leave friendless. We’re all plotting which conference we’ll be at next time, and how to coordinate lodging and transportation. And perhaps a 12 step program for those who find themselves at every single conference.
If you’ve never gone to a liberty oriented political conference, look into it. Campaign for Liberty puts on top-notch events. Go as a volunteer, and you’ll save money and help in the liberty movement. In 2009, FreedomFest and Campaign for Liberty had their events together. I have heard that Freedom 21 is a good educational conference. Ask around and find one. Even if you go alone, as I did, you’ll find friends quickly. See you at the next conference!