Nullify Now Conference: Florida Tea Party Activists Celebrate 10th Amendment
Around the State
Hundreds of liberty-minded Florida activists gathered Sunday -- the symbolic 10-10-10 -- at a resort in Orlando for the Nullify Now conference, a rally and seminar to celebrate the 10th Amendment and promote the idea of nullifying federal laws like “Obamacare.”
The event drew many high-profile speakers who discussed a wide range of topics, mostly focusing on the “out-of-control” federal government, its “unconstitutional laws,” and what state governments can do to stop it.
Keynote speaker Tom Woods, senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and author of several best-selling books including "Nullification: How to Resist Tyranny in the 21st Century," had the crowd alternating between laughter and standing ovations. He spoke about the Founding Fathers’ ideas on nullification, the dangers of centralized power, and the need to stop and reverse the expansion of federal control.
“Something historic is going on here,” Woods told the boisterous audience. “We are getting out into the mainstream with these ideas.” The crowd went wild.
In an interview with Sunshine State News after the event, Woods said he was pleased with how the day went, especially because so many different groups were able to interact and network with each other.
“Right now, we’re still at the education phase,” Woods explained. But soon statewide coalitions will start to form, and bad laws will be voided at the state level.
“For more than 100 years, we’ve had a federal government that has -- in a completely unchallenged way -- determined the scope of its own powers. And the results are all around us: unpayable debt, impossible entitlement liabilities, crazy foreign policy, crazy monetary policy -- everything is crazy about this regime,” he said.
"Given that every other strategy to rein it in has been a failure, Floridians and Americans in general need to embrace something different. They need to embrace a strategy in which we concede that the federal government won’t limit itself, so we decide that something else will have to do that job." And that something, according to Woods, is nullification.
The other keynote speaker, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a libertarian-leaning Republican and the honorary chairman of the Our America Initiative, was equally passionate about stopping the federal government’s perpetual growth.
“We need to right this financial ship, or we’re going to collapse,” he said, pointing to the government's estimated $100 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities. “We’re bankrupt, and I’m outraged by that … government spending needs to be slashed.” He called for term limits, legalization of marijuana, and an end to nation-building overseas. And he, too, got a standing ovation.
“What’s energizing is that there are so many people aware of what’s going on in government,” Johnson told Sunshine State News in an interview after the event. He said he thought there was a real opportunity for true change. “I’ve never seen this before in my lifetime.”
Numerous other speakers also riled the crowd with talk of putting the federal government back in its place. Among them were Jim Babka, the president of Downsize D.C.; Phil Russo, co-host of the Tea Party Patriots' live radio show and co-founder of the Orlando Tea Party; radio host Robert Scott Bell; Mark Cross, state director of the Florida Campaign for Liberty; and many more.
The event, the second stop on the national “Nullify Now” tour, was sponsored by a diverse coalition. Groups from Campaign for Liberty, The John Birch Society and various tea party and 912 Project chapters to People United for Medical Marijuana and the Republican Liberty Caucus were all represented. Most of the organizations had booths set up in the area. Activists were handing out fliers, business cards and bumper stickers.
“We educated a lot of people who are new to these ideas,” Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Boldin, a co-organizer of the event, told Sunshine State News. “They may disagree on specific issues, but they can all come together on nullification.”
Other conference organizers also said the day exceeded their expectations. Tickets were sold out -- 550 in all, according to event organizers. In September, the tour passed through Texas. Next up is Chattanooga, Tenn. And for next year, the sponsors say they hope to visit at least another dozen cities, maybe more.
Alex Newman, a speaker at the Orlando Nullify Now event, wrote this story "special to Sunshine State News." He lives in Miami.