On Saturday, November 14th, I had the privilege of attending the Freedom Summit 2015 held at the Westin in the Chicago Northwest suburb of Itasca. The event was attended by thousands of conservatives, libertarians and TEA Party members from across the midwest and sponsored by 560TheAnswer.
The day included messages from some of the nation’s most well-respected conservative commentators including Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, KT McFarland, Katie Pavlich, Guy Benson, and local Joe Walsh. It was a sold out event. The day was intended to be focused on the upcoming 2016 election, but in the wake of the Paris attacks the previous day, the discussions were all about ISIS and National Security.
The morning session began with National Security Analyst KT McFarland. KT McFarland is a ‘Fox News’ National Security Analyst and appears regularly on Fox News and Fox Business News. She has held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan Administrations and also, as an aide to Dr. Henry Kissinger. KT talked about the recent attacks on the Russian airline and Paris. She explained these attacks were very clear targets of ISIS. The Paris attacks targeted a sporting event with Germany and France, a concert with an American band and other sites, that were well planned, on a date of Islamic significance, Friday the 13th, and targeting deliberate people. She said this was a specific attack on a country with the toughest gun laws in Europe. She again emphasized the millions of Syrian refugees coming into Europe with no vetting; refugees are only asked their name, age and country of origin. She mentioned that in Europe, since they don’t have borders and people travel freely between countries, the FIRST country that a Syrian refugee steps his/her foot into that country MUST accept them, if that refugee can’t get into any other country. KT also criticized Obama’s fight in Afghanistan and the Middle East against ISIS, and that basically, he has just been “buying time”. She went on to explain, that with a different leader, the outcome would be entirely different if we had gone after the “economic” weapon and used it to collapse the economy. KT went on to say – America is an exceptional county and we need to stand up and be proud. America has always reinvented itself. When our economy and military are strong – America is strong and we use it to help others. McFarland ended by saying that it is IMPERATIVE we deal with these terrorists, if we don’t no one else will.
The lunch session featured Sean Hannity. Hannity is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, heard on more than 500 radio stations by more than 13 million listeners. He is currently ranked number 2 in Talker Magazine’s Top 100 Talk Show Hosts in America. He is also the host of Fox News Channel’s Hannity. Sean entertained the crowd with several interjections of his impersonation of Bill Clinton and others. He spoke on topics of Benghazi, Hillary and Hillary’s lies to the media. Hannity moved on to discuss Obama and his background, specifically in Chicago with activist Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright. One of Hannity’s best received lines was when he said: “I am more angry at the Republicans than I am at the Democrats.” Sean continued on to discuss our new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. He stressed how he spoke personally with Ryan and told him “60% of the base feel betrayed”. That in order to move forward – Ryan needs to work with Congress to set promises, and then demonstrate to the American people, that they will keep those promises. In otherwords, Ryan needs to build back trust. He said it’s not complicated. Hannity closed with discussion on securing the borders, choice in education, healthcare, and refugees. Sean also stated if Congress and our politicians are not going to do their job, then “we need to fire them”. In closing, Hannity said America has done this before and we can do it again – but we have got to be strong again.
The evening session included an exchange of ideas and questions between Ann Coulter and Hugh Hewitt. Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer, law professor and broadcast journalist whose nationally syndicated radio show is heard in 120 cities across America. Hewitt served in the Reagan Administration. Ann Coulter is the author of 11 New York Times bestsellers, including her recent Adios, America! Coulter also writes a popular syndicated column for Universal Press Syndicate. Hugh began the session by advising those in the audience “we have to stop the narrative” and say “that’s not what’s happening”. He mentioned that Coulter was one of the best at showing “how to take control of a conversation” and knowing how to “change the premise”. Ann and Hugh had a lively back and forth discussion with topics of Obama, presidential candidates, Syrian refugees, and ISIS. Ann mentioned her lively discussions on Twitter with college kids and others. One of Coulter’s best received lines “we need to stop importing people who kill us!” Coulter spoke often of her support for Donald Trump, but did say if Trump were not running she could support Cruz. Ann defending Donald and the often “mispoken” or “misinterpreted” metaphors that he uses, as with Dr. Ben Carson. Hugh and Ann addressed the somewhat commical, but socialist Bernie Sanders and his remark “Climate change was directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Hewitt and Coulter spent much time on the topic of illegal immigration, building a wall, and deportation. When Ann was asked about working with Trump should he be elected the next president, she said, “I just want to be in charge of immigration.”
In closing, it was an inspirational day filled with great speakers and broad topics, surrounded by strong conservatives, libertarians and TEA party members who all showed compassion and desire to make America great again.