by Collin Reischman
An annual rally, hosted by the Missouri Leadership Project, titled “Consent of the Governed,” was held in the Capitol rotunda on Wednesday, Jan 16. The rally featured speakers and activists from numerous statewide organizations and organizer Ron Calzone of Missouri First, called it a “success.”
“The overreaching theme today, I think, is that the Federal government is stepping out of its bound and that the people won’t take it,” Calzone said. “Government has gotten too big and it has forgotten that power is vested in the consent of the governed, and that’s why we’re here today.”
According to Calzone, the Missouri Leadership Project is a coalition of “patriot groups,” throughout the state and is comprised primarily — thought not exclusively — of local Tea Party groups.
Keynote speaker and author, Tom Woods Jr., Ph.D., of the Liberty Classroom, spoke about conventional wisdom and historical revisionism.
“Public opinion in this country is confined to a 3 by 5 card acceptable views,” Woods told The Missouri Times. “You can debate whether the top marginal tax rate should be X or Y, but you can’t debate whether the whole tax system is completely invalid. We want to set a match to that 3 by 5 card and encourage a wider range of public opinion.”
Other speakers, like retired certified registered nurse Marc Perez, spoke about specific issues like gun control. Perez, who was joined on stage by several sign-carrying citizens with pro-gun messages, sparked energy in the crowd.
“Do we want the government or local schools knowing who owns a gun and who doesn’t?” Perez asked the crowd, who unanimously replied “No.”
Perez received a standing ovation, both at the end of his speech and when he referenced a federal lawmaker that announced plans to explore impeaching President Obama over his recent gun control announcements.
“The Second Amendment is important, so important, because it allows us to defend and ensure all the other rights,” Perez said. “What if they passed a law saying reporters can’t report on this issue or that one? Wouldn’t that be a violation of your 1st Amendment rights?”
Other topics from speakers included spiritual revivalism, paper ballots, Obamacare, employment freedom and the fair tax, according to the event programs. Most in attendance said they had no affiliation with any specific political group, but came because the rally addressed their concerns as citizens.
“I’m here as a taxpayer of America and of Missouri,” Chris Blattel said. “I’m here because my rights are just as important as yours, and because this is where we are deciding on those rights.”
Blattel is supportive of HB 70, which would permit teachers and administrators with valid conceal and carry endorsements to bring their weapons into public schools. Blattel is a public school teacher and brought a sign to the rally reading “Teachers for Conceal and Carry.”
Calzone said the rally was usually held on the first day of the legislative session, but that the inauguration of the governor this year created a scheduling conflict in the rotunda.
“People are here, they see their country suffering, and they want it fixed,” Calzone said.