Hope For America Conference Smacks It Sideways!
Strait back from the Hope For America Conference and Ron Paul rally!
Oyate from http://www.restoretherepublic.com/ wrote a great peice about the event I thought
I would share with all of you! All of this is 100% true, as I was there, and I was one of the geeks
trying to get things working!
Folks, it was incredible. What an event!
The day began for me with a cheap Chinese alarm clock, one of those very "modern" ones that only show you where 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 is on the dial. So the stupid thing had me up at 4:45. A bit early but what the heck, I hate rushing out of the house. I'd have plenty of time to get ready. And what could possibly go wrong with all the planning we'd done?
But of course, at 6:00 sharp, frantic instant messages start popping in. Gary Franchi and Sam Ettaro, headliners of the event were stuck in Renee's minivan with Sam's family and all the sound and AV equipment. The van wouldn't start. Nobody had a large enough vehicle to accommodate all this stuff. So I did what any Phoenix activist does in crisis. I went crying to Ernest Hancock, father of the R3VOlUTION. But just as I'd awoken the placidly slumbering son of House Hancock, word came through that by some twist of fate, the van decided to start. We were in business. So we all began to converge on location a good 45 minutes behind schedule.
Attendees were already coming in, none of the tables and chairs were set up, nobody could make the printers work to print out registration sheets (which had been updated almost constantly up to that very point with late registrations), half of the power outlets were down along with half the lighting. So pretty much everybody chipped in and somehow pulled the room together and got all the vendors and tablers set up. And the security guys were running all over trying to help. What security guys you might ask? Why, OUR SECURITY GUYS. Yes, we had our own security team, some openly wearing sidearms. But that's not a bad thing at all in Arizona. A fair amount of the attendees came in wearing their sidearms. Not at all uncommon in Arizona, but the team didn't wear their sidearms to be intimidating, why should they? In a room full of patriots, we needed no protection but ourselves. It was the safest room in the land that day.
So it was time to get the live webstream going. It worked fine from the location the night before, but now? Forget it. I mean, why should it work? Why should anything work in this world? So people hastily rushed off to get Verison wireless adapters which actually worked until the moment of the official start of the event when the multitudes of people logging onto the live stream overwhelmed the feed server. And that was the end of the internet thing.
That's why nobody that wasn't actually there didn't get to see the whole event. The server we were feeding into got totally swamped. There was no way that server could have handled that load.
Attendees at this point were flooding in the door, and having no show to watch just yet, they pounced en-masse on the poor food vendor who had no electricity to brew coffee. And a great howl arose from the masses. Activists like coffee.
Meanwhile a spontaneously convened team of tradesman and geeks struggled heroically with the breaker panel, trying to find out where to get enough power to plug everything in. Because we were drawing enough juice to power a small city. About 10 laptops, the sound mixers, a floor-to-ceiling projection screen, stage lights, 4 static cameras, PA speakers, you name it.
Several components had to be eliminated, guys ran out to trucks for spare extension cords and finally something went right: coffee was served. That took the edge off a lot of nerves. Meanwhile, Renee Houlihan, co-chair of Arizona AFTF managed to direct this storm of frenzied activity with a serene sense of capable sensibility.
Then pure showmanship took over. People were called to their seats by the booming voice of Sam Ettaro which had 5 times the rousing effect of the coffee. Man that guy can boom. You've heard his voice on conference calls and on WTPRN, but you should see the guy in person. You should see him and Gary, impeccably suited and tied, these guys look like a million bucks. Don't tell anyone we're all poor activists, seriously they looked like a million.
The first speaker, Bill Still, producer of the seminal work "The Money Masters" got up about 45 minutes late, but the crowd was enthused and attentive. Bill Still knocked them dead of course, if you've never done a Still lecture it's a trip. It's like doing a tour through reservist history with Dr. Who in his time machine and twice as surreal (truth really is stranger than fiction).
From there is was rapid fire. Tom Cryer brought a thunderous standing ovation describing his victory over the IRS, Ernest Hancock, well I don't have to tell you about Ernie. But if I did I'd tell you that he throws a Christmas party in your own mind and invites the whole R3VOlUTION. On to George Shepherd who told people how they could be internet gurus, Alan Korwin kept us in hysterics, Paymon Motadeh then won the crowd with his marvelous handouts, Joe Bannister knocked them dead, Arizona Senator Karen Johnson tried to sneak in but is too well loved by all to go unannounced, and right about at lunch time pretty much the whole room got up, grabbed every sign and banner in the place and marched out to do one of the most riotous sign waves anyone's ever seen out on Bell Road.
By this time, the crowd had swelled. I couldn't believe how many out of state attendees there were. And there were more of us Arizona AFTFers there than have every gathered since Aaron Russo was here promoting the movie. Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Sam Ettaro finished up with stellar performances. The crowd stayed beyond the end of the party. Tired as everyone was, nobody really wanted to leave. Everyone got to meet at least one of their heroes and many of us who had worked by phone and internet for months (and in some cases years) got to meet in person. And we all turned out to be even better looking than we imagined.
The whole event was high energy, punctuated constantly by chants, a responsive crowd and roaring calls to action. For such an even age distribution (this was definitely NOT "just college kids"), I'm surprised nobody had a heart attack. If you were there in any condition, you would have been proud to live or die in Arizona right then. The atmosphere was as warm and welcoming as any event we've done. Smiles all around. One big family composed of so many groups and individuals, all eager to support one another.
What a great day to pull together from all over the nation and express our non-violent, legal movement for change! Non-violence doesn't mean we aren't warriors, we battle daily against the forces of evil, of destruction, of despair, of monetary-policy induced poverty, but you really should have been there and felt the sense of family we had.
But never fear oh sons and daughters of America, we mean to take this show on the road. It's a multimedia experience that needs to go on. And go on we will. The R3VOlUTION is afoot and nothing, absolutely nothing can stop us!