ERLANGER, Kentucky – The third annual Champions of Liberty event in northern Kentucky on August 9 featured six locally and nationally recognized leaders of the freedom and liberty movement.
Speakers included Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Chris Farrell, Director of Investigations and Research at Judicial Watch and former Ambassador and presidential candidate Dr. Alan Keyes, who was the keynote speaker.
In addition, U.S. Representatives and Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), Warren Davidson (R-OH-8) and Thomas Massie (R-KY-4), who serves the district where the Champions of Liberty Rally was held. In a new twist, the Congressman would participate in a question and answer session from questions submitted by the attendees.
The event was sponsored by Align America Inc. and the Northern Kentucky Tea Party and held at the Receptions Event Center in Erlanger with about 200 people in attendance.
Align America is a non-partisan, non-profit and unbiased information resource to create and maintain government reform, connecting the American people to their elected representatives and inspire personal accountability and responsibility in all Americans, according to the organization’s website.
Brian Thomas, conservative talk show host from 55KRC, THE Talk Station covering national and local Cincinnati news, emceed the main rally that began at 6 p.m.
Four breakout sessions started at 3:45 p.m. and covered the wide-ranging topics of pensions, constitution basics, immigration and school choice.
One of the event’s co-sponsors, The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions (BIPPS), is Kentucky’s only free-market think tank. The organization was founded in 2003 to advance freedom and prosperity by promoting free market capitalism, individual liberty and transparent government.
BIPPS President and CEO Jim Waters was the first speaker, invoking the name of Daniel Boone as the Commonwealth’s first champion of liberty in his rousing three-minute commentary.
Waters passionately encouraged the legislature in its upcoming session to blaze a new path for public charter schools, something Kentucky still doesn’t have, despite 43 other states and the nation’s capital having them; a tax credit scholarship for Kentucky’s neediest kids for even more school choice; pension reform; and, punitive taxes.
Shawn Themea, Vice President of Development for Young Americans for Liberty, after a show of hands that the younger generation may be lost to socialism, said the situation is not as dire as it seems.
Through the organization’s effort, “Operation Win at the Door,” 30,000 doors were knocked – twice – by just 10 students for Savannah Maddox for State Representative of the 61st District. Maddox swept the November 2018 election with 67.8 percent of the 16,691 votes cast after bearing a fellow Republican in the May 2018 primary with 62.6 percent of the 3,969 votes cast.
In the holding elected representatives accountable category, Themea said Maddox in her first session sponsored constitutional carry and campus free speech legislation, both of which were signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin.
Themea encouraged attendees to refer young people or potential candidates to the organization and support them financially.
Following the energetic first two speakers, the six main rally participants entered the room to a standing ovation as they walked from a rear entrance, down a center aisle to the stage, where the applause continued as they stood in front of their chairs for a moment before sitting.
Governor Bevin, in his signature no-notes style, opened by talking about the insurmountable odds the founders faced and how they rallied behind the symbol of the flag and “Give me liberty or give me death.”
While President Reagan warned that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction, Governor Bevin said it’s even more fragile than that.
Governor Bevin said we have become Thomas Paine’s “summer soldiers and sunshine patriots” and asked what we are willing to do against enmity. He said it’s not enough to come to the Champions of Liberty event with like-minded people, and questioned how many went out of their way to get 1, 3, 5 or even 10 people to come.
In light of the shootings earlier in the week in El Paso and Dayton, Governor Bevin said there is evil and that it is not war that destroys, but a crumbling society.
Recognizing that it would probably be taken out of context as a call for violence, Governor Bevin paraphrased Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Governor Bevin challenged, “How badly do you want this freedom?” He mentioned the apathy in the northern Kentucky area reflected in elections, “You don’t vote!”
Gesturing toward the American flag on the opposite side of the stage, Governor Bevin said it is not merely material, cloth and tassels, it represents values and the 1.5 million who have sacrificed.
An adoptive parent of four children with his wife Glenna, Governor Bevin said he had to mention that there are 10,000 in Kentucky’s foster care system, with 2,500 eligible to be adopted and 6,500 houses of worship. He challenged about the care for 2,500 kids “who just need a shot.”
As he started winding down, Governor Bevin cautioned, “This is not a game. What’s at stake is significant.”
“If not us, who? If not now, when? What are we waiting for?”
“I love America. I love this country. I would die for his country,” the former U.S. Army Captain who served four years on active duty said in a more somber tone. “If more of us don’t feel that way, we’re in trouble.”
Governor Bevin’s 20-minute speech was met with a fairly long standing ovation.
The Director of Investigation and Research from Judicial Watch, Chris Farrell said that the non-profit is known for its FOIA – Freedom of Information Act – requests for records and documents, but they do so much more with their relatively small staff of 50 people mainly in Washington D.C. and a few offices around the country.
Farrell relayed an abbreviated version of the case of a Sheriff’s Office former chief deputy, Jesus “Eddie” Campa from El Paso, Texas, probably the most corrupt city in America.
Of the single greatest conspiracy by Federal law enforcement officers to unseat a President, Farrell, a former Military Intelligence Officer and graduate of several Intelligence courses, said he is not guessing at this, he has done it for a living.
Farrell explained that a foreign intelligence event was manufactured in the U.K. so that an intelligence investigation could be opened in the U.S. against the Trump campaign and presidency. “What they did to abuse their authority is off the charts,” concluded Farrell.
In investigating the attack in Benghazi through FOIA requests, it was Judicial Watch that was responsible for revealing that Hillary Clinton had a private server that contained “a whole other universe of documents,” advised Farrell.
He said that “Comey lied like hell,” in the last 90 seconds that followed the 13 minutes of that now famous statement regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system.
In closing, Farrell said that Director of Litigation, Paul Orfanedes, may be low profile, but he is brilliant and an unsung hero of Judicial Watch. There are a lot of people “busting it every day,” doing things like condensing 270 bankers boxes of documents into a single page.
The keynote speaker was former Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council under President Ronald Reagan and Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, Dr. Alan Keyes.
“The Republic that I believe is now threatened with its demise as developments are taking place in the United States that clearly portend the end of our liberty, if we don’t wake up and do something about it,” began Dr. Keyes.
Not being partisan, Dr. Keyes said that unlike the Virginia legislature, he believes that when you mention the President of the United States, you are actually mentioning the people he represents, their constitutional sovereignty before the nation and the world.
“When you treat that representative without respect,” explained Dr. Keyes, “you have actually violated your oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” which was met with applause and cheers.
Dr. Keyes said he was “profoundly impressed” when at the national 4th of July celebration, he heard the most famous passage of the Declaration of Independence quoted in full, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Dr. Keyes was impressed because everywhere he has gone in the course of his political life, he has found it to be “more and more and more the case that the people that stand before the American people act as if we now live under a law that requires that we never mention in politics and in public the name of our Almighty God.”
“I will plead guilty and I will be affirming that guilt in the course of my talk this evening,” said Dr. Keyes,
Passionately, Dr. Keyes went on, “I try never to stand before an audience in this country or anywhere else without reminding them that the bedrock foundation of our claim to independence, of our claim to rights, of our claim to just government in the United States is the authority of Almighty God. Turn your back on that authority, and you have turned your back on every right, including liberty.”
In his uniquely fiery and eloquent style, Dr. Keyes elaborated further on those concepts which extended into the issue perhaps Dr. Keyes is most well known for raising in the American consciousness, “the grave injustice of withdrawing nascent children from the womb.”
“How can we expect to maintain those rights, if we forget the authority from which they come?” challenged Dr. Keyes.
Speaking as much to the other five participants as the attendees, Dr. Keyes turned toward them frequently throughout his animated speech, during which he bounced on the balls of his feet and waved his arms in the air, adding to the volume and tone of his voice to further emphasize the importance of his arguments.
“This is what has given truth to that wonderful phrase, ‘One nation under God,’ but it is also what ought to remind us that we cannot possibly remain one nation if we forget that the common ground on which we stand across all these bounds and divisions that they wish now to foment so that we will be at one another’s throats,” Dr. Keyes growled. “We can avoid all of that only if we are willing not to go to battle against one another in the name of their false ideologies but rather to join in prayer with one another.”
Dr. Keyes said that there are things about the country that he does not take pride in, such as slavery.
“There is one thing I do take pride in. I take pride in the fact that even those who bore some such prejudice, even those who practiced some such greed were willing to band together from time to time and time and again when a call was made, even when it went out about the oppression of nations they did not know and peoples who they heartily despised, they would go to die on battlefields for the sake of those people, not because they loved them, but because they loved God more than they loved themselves and were unwilling to see the truth of His justice abandoned.”
“There are cemeteries filled with the brave souls, American souls, who answered that call whenever it was raised. Have we forgotten them now? Have we forgotten that this creed is soaked in their blood and ennobled by their sacrifice? This is what makes us one nation.”
“How does ‘what have you done for me lately’ honor those who are not here to enjoy such benefits because they answered the call of battle?” asked Dr. Keyes.
“Time and again our leaders have said, from Lincoln to Kennedy to Reagan – it didn’t matter the party in the past – they all understood that our brave men have died in vain when we let go the self-evident truth for the sake of which they sacrificed, for the sake of which we came together, in order to defend the future that they would never experience, because they made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could know it.”
“When we go to the voting booth, we’re not thinking ‘what have they done for me lately,’ we’re thinking what must I do to benefit my community, to benefit my nation, to benefit my God so that my life can be a blessing to him and my nation can be a glory to His name.”
“There’s one issue, and it’s why I talk about it all the time, that exemplifies this truth more than any other,” without specifically saying abortion, Dr. Keyes continued.
“We stand and do nothing while we are obliged by our God and by our creed and by our Constitution, to put the slaughter to an end.”
“When will we move?” demanded Dr. Keyes.
“Some say we’re waiting for a decision by the Supreme Court. Well, the Supreme Court has made its decision,” shrugged Dr. Keyes.
Dr. Keyes explained the government is comprised of three equal branches and that if one of them departs from the authority of the Constitution, how can we say it’s the law of the land, when the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
He posited, “If the President or a Governor gets an opinion from the Supreme Court that deprives life, liberty or property without due process of law, withdrawing the equal protection of this class of people, are they to do it, just because the Supreme Court says so?” which was met with shouts of “No!” from the audience.
“Are they to do it,” continued Dr. Keyes, “because some opinion has been read that in plain and in open violation of the clear and readable text of the Constitution violates the terms of that supreme law?”
“You’re right, the answer is no. We are not. If the Court is wrong, we are not obliged to respond to their opinions.”
“In matters of execution of their decisions, the first obvious balance is in the executive branch,” said Dr. Keyes, before offering a bit of a history lesson on 17th century political philosopher Montesquieu’s guidance on both the relationship between and the separation of powers of the executive and judicial branches.
Dr. Keyes explained that “person” is defined in Webster’s 1828, the relative text at the time of the founding, as a human being possessed of a rational nature. “Rational nature,” instructed Dr. Keyes, “is understood better than ever with the discovery of DNA” with the rational markers.
Dr. Keyes said, “The Constitution always referred to personhood as a class of persons, presumptively human, whose humanity was in controversy. In the original Constitution, that class of persons was enslaved black people,” referring to Article I, Section II, paragraph 3 for the allocation of representatives and what has become known as the “three fifths clause.”
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Justice Blackmun who wrote the opinion, said that if the suggestion of personhood of the fetus is established, the case collapses. Dr. Keyes holds that Justice Blackmun erred, not wanting to call it a lie, because the nascent child is indeed a person and is protected by the Constitution.
“Roe v. Wade can have no force of law, because it plainly violates the Constitution’s demand that no person be deprived of life without due process. That no state make or enforce any laws that withdraws from any person the equal protection of the law.”
“We need to stand now as a nation who has proven our re-commitment to the premises of our founding, then we must stand with one voice and demand of all those who claim they represent us,” with his hand clenched, but just missing banging it on the podium, “that every abortion clinic under the power of any executive in our nation must be shut down forthwith,” said Dr. Keyes as applause and cheers broke out, “so that our Constitution does not stand abandoned.”
“This is not an issue of partisanship. This is not an issue of rebelliousness and lawlessness. This is an issue of whether or not we, as a people, need to take the initiative to put us back into consistency with our Constitution,” adding in a more hushed tone, “into conscience consistency with our own claim to unalienable rights.”
With his head down and appearing somewhat teary-eyed, Dr. Keyes went on, “God bless the ones who first step forward to make this clear to the nation, who, by their actions step forward so that every American” touching his temple area as if pointing to a consciousness or awareness, “will realize that those that are trying to withdraw the equal protection of the law from the nascent children and the born children – like Cuomo in New York, and the elderly – like the folks that advocate the death panels under Obamacare.”
“If they’re trying to withdraw the protections of the Constitution, let them try to do it by Constitutional amendment. Let them go through the process by which the people will declare the abdication of its conscience and the betrayal of its God. Instead of drifting to perdition, we will have well deserved it, and you can bet God will let us suffer the consequences of our abandonment.”
“But if we mean to avoid it, we must force them to try and we must defeat them when they do, for our Constitution of liberty demands it. And, we must stand forward in every way we can to prove we still deserve that Constitution, because we have the moral, and the physical and the courageous Constitution in ourselves as individuals required to stand firm so that our nation will survive.”
“Will you do this?” question Dr. Keyes with a softer, optimistic tone to his voice.
Because, I think this election offers a perfect opportunity to stand forward and prove that we know what it requires to be free. It is not the largesse of government. It’s not even the grant of the Constitution.
Like salvation itself, the price has already been paid for our unalienable rights.
The question is, will we return to God in order to claim that prize which he has given us with the greatest sacrifice so that we can endure to inspire others in that same path which leads in the end, as it has before, to an example that can inspire all of the human race to build a life of decency on God’s understanding of right, so that someday, someday, we will look at a world in which this nation never stands alone in the defense of justice and right, according to God, because all decent humanity lives and prospers under rules and governments that have learned from us how to sustain that.
With that, Dr. Keyes concluded his 30-minute speech, delivered in his own, very distinct way. As he turned from the podium to return to his seat on the stage, the others on the stage and audience alike broke into a standing ovation.
The three speakers were offered the opportunity to leave as emcee Brian Thomas prepared to ask the audience-provided questions to the three Congressman.
Before starting the question and answer session, Representative Massie jokingly asked for a personal point of privilege. He explained that the first political check he ever wrote was in 1980 to Ambassador Alan Keyes and that it had been on Representative Massie’s bucket list to meet Keyes ever since.
The first question pertained to the red flag laws as a reaction to the shootings earlier that week in El Paso, Texas and nearby Dayton, Ohio.
Representative Massie, who heads up the Congressional 2nd Amendment Caucus, went first and said it might come as a surprise that he believes in a waiting period, before he added the qualifier, “for legislation.”
In light of the horrific events of the week, Congressman Jordan talked about evil being bent on doing something evil. He also made the point that the 2nd Amendment is right next to the first for reason and that red flag laws, and other things, make him nervous.
Representative Davidson referred to the surrender caucus and said that red flag laws are a gun control measure and not a mental health measure, or those people would be cared for.
On the subject of the border, Representative Jordan said the four things he has learned after a trip there is that what the Democrats say about the holding facilities is not true; everybody knows how to fix the problem, but the Democrats don’t want to; the control by the cartels is as much about trafficking as drugs; and, the border security wall needs to be built.
Other topics discussed ranged from Google and other social media and internet giants, the accomplishments of President Trump over the past two and a half years, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that will be taken up when they return from summer recess in September.
Representative Massie cautioned against falling for what he called “easy solutions,” such as term limits, a balanced budget amendment and a Constitutional Convention.
Congressman Davidson said that solace should be taken that, in Scripture, not many times did God accomplish his mission with a majority, but did it with good and faithful servants.
The video of Dr. Alan Keyes full speech can we watched here.
Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.