i arrived at old mill park in fredericksburg just as philip van cleave of the VCDL took the stage at this “we the people” rally.

as i waded into the crowd, an event organizer approached a newspaper reporter taking notes and demanded to know his personal views.
i think that reporter & i are the only people here wearing masks. COVID infections in fredericksburg & spotsylvania county are consistently trending upwards.
before i arrived, dr david martin, the creator of plandemic 2, a COVID denial “documentary”, addressed the unmasked crowd
a man in character as george washington has some trouble quoting the bible
if you’re going to tell a fake story, at least make it interesting
after recounting a series of largely ahistorical anecdotes about the life of george washington (all told in character, in the first person), he takes off his tricorn hat, gets down on his knees, and says “and that’s what made me the prayer warrior that led this great nation.”
“i’m gonna tell you an equation: 27 minus 2 equals zero,” says jarome bell, specifically addressing the children in the crowd. “we have 27 amendments to the constitution and if you take away the second amendment, we have none left”
the event is taking a brief recess before the next speaker. some parents are taking children to the other side of the muddy field to the small bounce house. woody guthrie’s “this land is your land” plays from the stage.
sheriff richard mack, who will speak after the recess, is signing copies of his book in a tent near the stage. you may remember mack as a key figure in organizing participation of the oath keepers in the bundy standoff in 2014.
watching a crowd of people dance to “another one bites the dust” at a pandemic denialism rally without the faintest whiff of irony. i have transcended reality.
i was wondering how they were going to stretch this event over 5 hours and i guess the answer is make a “short break” an hour long.
still waiting for the oath keeper sheriff, still on our “brief break,” and i am encountering some brand-new-to-me music including this super racist song that includes a segment that’s just audio of a toddler trying to say the pledge of allegiance
after about an hour and fifteen minutes, event MC jarome bell has taken the stage again. he says he doesn’t want to “make it political,” but again blames the “fake news” (the local paper) for the food trucks backing out of the event.
in introducing sheriff richard mack, bell compares him to joe arpaio and says mack now travels the country spreading the message of the oath keepers to sheriffs all over.
volunteers are handing out booklets containing information about mack’s lawsuit. he was recruited by the NRA in the 90s to be a plaintiff in a case that eventually made it to the supreme court. they did succeed - several provisions of the brady bill were ruled unconstitutional
mack says you should never call it a “sheriff’s department,” “it’s an office. you cannot departmentalize it.” (sounds like some maritime law gold fringe shit but ok)
mack says officials pushing COVID mandates are “self-appointed hitlers.”
“you have an obligation to disobey unjust laws!” “who decides what’s unjust? who decides what’s unconstitutional? we. the. people!”
mack says governor northam should be criminally investigated “for telling the state it’s ok to kill babies that survive an abortion,” parroting a bizarre line the president has been pushing lately, outright accusing the governor of murdering infants.
“we take back america, county by county, one sheriff at a time,” mack says. “you must have a relationship with your sheriff now,” mack says you can’t wait until the health department comes to your home for forced vaccinations.
“we will stand for liberty and people’s right to choose,” mack says (although he means your right to choose to remain contagious - he absolutely does not think you have the right to choose not to be pregnant)
mack has the crowd open the little booklet containing information about his supreme court decision to this page which he reads dramatically
someone just coughed like 20 feet away from me and i almost climbed out of my skin
“in 20 years of law enforcement, i never once struck a person,” mack says as evidence that he deplores violence. (except the time he punched someone during a basketball game, he adds) and yet the fake news tells people he’s a domestic terrorist, he laments.
“i’ve never worked with a militia in my life, except that i am a member of a militia as a citizen of my county,” says mack, who is also on the national board of the oath keepers.
“gun control in the united states of america is against the law,” mack says. “your governor, several governors, and your legislators, have violated that law. and we’re supposed to go along? not even! i suggest we remember the legacy of rosa parks.”
mack says we should never have heard of rosa parks. we should instead have a story of two officers who refused to enforce an unjust law. a “true oath keeper” would have shaken her hand and escorted her home, he says.
“a lot of them don’t know better. they’ve been trained wrong,” mack says. he says police training needs to be changed & it must include education on oath keeping.
“if you have your sheriff on your side, your civil disobedience will not be just protected, it will be promoted. we will not comply,” mack says, encouraging the right wing crowd to seek out personal relationships with law enforcement in order to gain special protections.
next is yvette bronx, described in the program as a homeschool mom & activist. she says a woman asked her “who gave you the right to not wear a mask?” she raises her arms above her head, lifts her eyes to the heavens, and she “jesus christ.” the crowd cheers.
she says she has “un-uh-lien-able” rights, “no i did not say that wrong. un-a-lien-able. because my lien has been paid by my creator!”
“why are so many people following laws that do not exist?” she asks, saying laws inconsistent with the rights given by god are not real.
this speech is a hodge podge of classic patriot aphorisms and the kind of stuff qanon nanas would cross stitch on pillows if the internet went down
“here’s a newsflash for you: you’re gonna die. i’m gonna die. we’re all gonna die. no one has the right to not be sick. no one has the right to demand that someone else doesn’t make them sick.”

yvette... what?
“our servant government doesn’t have the authority to make up statutes,” yvette says. (so all laws are fake now?)
“your feelings do not matter when it comes to the preservation of liberty,” yvette says. “obedience to any lawless act made by men is a rejection of the rule of god.”
“the only thing that makes an unlawful act legal is compliance.”
“don’t you get it? if none of us followed the servant government’s false authority, it would have no authority whatsoever,” says yvette who doesn’t appear to identify as an insurrectionary anarchist and yet...
next is katherine o’neal duran. she is an activist against sex ed and since the pandemic started, has crusaded against virus mitigation ordinances.
katherine tells a story about “a grandma who looks like me” who got pulled over. a cop looked at her drivers license even though she didn’t commit a crime. “i’m not really a grandma, but the grandma in that story? it was me”
i hate cops, too, but it wasn’t a very upsetting story.
boring, not saying anything new, no charisma. bring back the super christian george washington impersonator. at least he had a unique act.
“when government operates outside the contract, it is in effect an organized crime syndicate.” “we are literally paying an organized crime syndicate to do us the harms the contract was meant to protect us from,” katherine says.
damn i wish they were saying this about police brutality and not like... wearing a surgical mask.
“it is over. it’s already gone. it cannot be saved,” katherine says about the republic. (cool, i love this for us, thank you katherine!)
“the US is already committed to the global agenda.”
OH MY GOD i’ve never heard someone sincerely parrot talking points about agenda 21 in real life. i feel like i’m looking at an anti communist easter bunny.
katherine repeats one of sheriff mack’s talking points - “you need to have a relationship with your sheriff.”
“the sheriff is the highest law in the county. the president of the united states could come to town and the sheriff could put him in jail.”
“the next thing you need is a plan. there’s only one lawful, peaceful way to return order to the republic,” says katherine. she stresses constitutional literacy and “harsh, painful consequences for noncompliance with the law.”
MC jarome back up. he says this is a “non profit” “but it’s expensive!” and directs people to the donation box.
jarome, who is black, makes a joke about “bringing up my white supremacy group that put this together,” the other event organizers. “i know the fake news is gonna say it; that’s gonna be in the freelance star!”
“we’re just moms. we’re just moms who want to save this nation!” says yvette, who is sobbing. “if we can do it, so can you!”
we’re halfway through a 15 minute break. between katherine’s uninspiring speech & the tearful thank-you’s from event organizers after 4 hours of speeches, many people thought it was over and started to leave. yvette grabbed the mic and said IT’S NOT OVER! DON’T GO ANYWHERE!
next is dr leland stillman, who jarome calls an advocate for right to choose (but not the kind you’re thinking of)
he got his medical degree at UVA.
he opens his remarks by quoting from the declaration of independence.
god i wish i were as passionate about anything as these losers are about not getting flu shots.
journalists are “accessories in this war on the american people,” according to dr stillman.
dr stillman has a strong message about the evils of “america’s elites.” leland... can i interest you in communism?
dr stillman rattles off a litany of numbers about deaths in america over the last few years without really making a point. he just said a lot of numbers and now says lockdowns aren’t justified. “why should we believe them?” ‘them’ being doctors, public health experts, journalists
“how many people have really died or COVID 19? how many of them have actually just died WITH covid 19?” this man is both a medical doctor and an idiot. they exist.
“the vast majority of those who died with covid 19 would have died anyway,” “how many years of lives have truly been lost?”
man, shut the fuck up.
dr stillman says the constitution doesn’t grant you the right to security, but liberty.
so... we need to liberate & endanger ourselves and others?
“how many people have died of loneliness this year? i don’t have a PCR test for that,” says dr stillman.
“if lockdowns work, why didn’t freedom loving states like florida and texas have more deaths?” he questions why NY & NJ had so many deaths.
“life is uncertainty. that is why the constitution doesn’t guarantee us safety, security, or comfort,” but liberty, says dr stillman. he says there is still a lot we don’t know about COVID.
dr stillman, who doesn’t think the government can make people make safe choices, does think laws should be passed to prevent people from using food stamps to buy junk food and soda.
“it’s very very refreshing to see all of the FACES and the SMILES,” says jarome bell, referring to the entirely maskless crowd. “we the people are the new founding fathers.”
yvette bronx is now introducing pastor JC hall and KrisAnne hall. she describes them as her “heroes,” russian linguists and patriots.
“we don’t need revolutionaries. we need solutionaries,” says JC. he says people accuse them of being radical or violent but he travels the country doing this work and never hears anyone talk about violence.
“we want you to thrive, we want you to prosper! we just want you to leave us alone to do the same!”
JC was introduced as a pastor and he certainly speaks with the cadence of one.
“the other side, just the existence of a disagreement drives them to want you to exterminate you!!” JC says
“so-called justice warriors will talk about how dated, how racist our founding documents are.”
he says that if you take out your pocket constitution, these so-called justice warriors can’t show you anything racist.
he says there is a cabal of people hiding behind free speech undermining america.
JC says it’s illegal to obtain someone’s tax documents and the 1st amendment doesn’t protect you from a criminal act. (no one has actually said donald trump’s name all day, oddly enough. trump flags were specifically prohibited at the event)
he is angry that the government subsidizes genocide. i am also angry about this but i bet we’re mad about different things.
“a baby is not a body part,” JC hall bellows into the cheering crowd. “do whatever you want with your body but leave that baby alone!”
apparently god told nehemiah “BUILD! THAT! WALL!” which JC says with a familiar modern cadence. again, no one has said the president’s name. it has to be deliberate at this point. but the pastor is making very heavy handed references.
“we’re gonna recover what god’s given us or we’re gonna die trying,” JC says.
“WE WILL NOT COMPLY BECAUSE THERE’S SOMETHING WORTH STANDING FOR,” he shouts, before calling his wife up to the stage.
“it was god himself who said i will raise up the women when men won’t do their job,” krisanne says, finishing an anecdote about a man who asked her if it’s biblically acceptable for women to be lawyers
“maybe you don’t even know why you won’t comply,” krisanne says the urge to not comply with unjust laws is divine, put in you by jesus.
krisanne says the first man to give his life for our freedoms was crispus attucks, a free black man, which she seems to think is conclusive proof that there was no oppression of minorities built into the founding of america.
krisanne says black people at the time of the declaration of independence knew that “all men” really did mean all men, including them. (i’m not sure they did know that, krisanne, because it definitely wasn’t true!)
the liberties she is taking with the life story of james forten are criminal. taking his abolitionism and repackaging it into this modern patriot framework is shameful.
krisanne says actually the STATE constitution is the most important one and it’s only our ignorance that has allowed our governor to go crazy.
“the sheriff doesn’t take an oath to THE LAW, he takes an oath to the constitution of the US and the constitution of the state.”
krisanne asked “when was the declaration of independence published?”


“it’s not a trick question. you know it.”

krisanne says that because the constitution wasn’t ratified for 14 years, the federal government didn’t actually exist in that time. the states are actually what secures our rights.
re: “the consent of the governed,” she asks if we really know what we consented to. “our state constitution specifically outlines what we consented for the government to do.”
uh oh krisanne says one of our inherent rights is “the pursuit of happiness and safety.” a bunch of previous speakers says there’s NO right to safety which is why it’s ok to make us get the virus.
krisanne pauses mid rant about the violation of due process in closing businesses for pandemic lockdowns because her phone stopped working. “can you imagine? my electronics aren’t working.” (unclear if she’s implying something nefarious being done to prevent her speech?)
“separation of powers is the greatest guard against the evolution of government into kingdoms and dictatorships,” krisanne says. “the governor cannot lawfully issue orders and expect them to be enforced!”
“it is the most violent attack on your contract that exists,” she says about executive orders like the ones we’ve seen during the pandemic. she accidentally refers to ralph northam as a king in the ensuing rant.
kind of like the medical doctor we heard from earlier who doesn’t understand how viruses work, krisanne calls herself a constitutional lawyer and definitely doesn’t seem to understand how government works.
a mass of children have congregated near where i’m sitting away from the crowd. they are... so bored. they’ve been in this field for five hours and are now very loud.
“we actually enslave our neighbors and our children at the same time” when we close our businesses to prevent the spread of a deadly virus, i guess.
“i don’t really like that term - civil disobedience. because my noncompliance is not disobedience. it is *O*bedience” to the real laws. “peaceful noncompliance is not us breaking the law. remember, your VA constitution says your governor does not have the authority to write law.”
krisanne: “i want to give you the solution: it’s very very simple. notice i said it was simple, i didn’t say it was easy.”
“thomas jefferson said of you are living in peace with your government, you’re already a slave.”
“government & liberty - they don’t get along so well.”
krisanne: “why do you think they want to keep us divided?” “united we control them, they don’t control us”
“so here’s what you’re gonna do: you’re not gonna shut your business.”
she says if they give you a citation, fine. if they arrest you, you say fine. if they shut off your water, tell them the community will bring you water.
krisanne tells the crowd that they have to take a stand
she has the crowd on their feet chanting “i will not comply!”
and that’s it, i guess. that was... something.
again, the authoritarian nightmare they are protesting isn’t the epidemic of police violence or anything. it’s the governor asking them to please not give each other a deadly virus. that’s what they’re willing to die refusing to comply with.
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