On Saturday, August 14th, 2021, the Oklahoma State Capitol building halls flooded with thousands of Oklahomans attending a Freedom Rally for healthcare workers’ rights. Oklahomans, however, did not stop there; the line to get inside the 2nd-floor rotunda wrapped around the Capitol. Despite reports from various media outlets around the state and country, the State Capitol was not “broken into”. The capitol doors were open, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was on sight performing security.
The rally was co-hosted by the Ekklesia Oklahoma and Senator Warren Hamilton. The event featured a veritable who’s who of Oklahoma conservative grassroots, including US Senate Candidate Jackson Lahmeyer, Oklahoma State Senator Warren Hamilton (R-Haskell), Sen. Jake Merrick (R-Canadian), and Oklahoma GOP Chairman John Bennett among others.
The rally’s first speaker, Jackson Lahmeyer, stepped up on the third-floor platform looking down into the sea of Oklahomans that showed up demanding freedom. One of Lahmeyer’s first words was USA, which prompted the thunderous response and chants of those in attendance, “USA! USA! USA!”. The feeling inside was almost as if the foundations of Oklahoma politics shook in awe of the demands. Lahmeyer ended by saying, “Our state is in trouble, our nation is trouble, but it is not without hope.”. Then employing people to “pick up that phone, you make phone calls, you send emails, they represent you guys!”
Following Lahmeyer, Senator Hamilton took to the platform where he laid out the reasons for his support of the healthcare workers and Oklahomans that choose not to take the COVID-19 vaccination. Hamilton spoke of the letter that he sent Governor Stitt in July and how “2,000 people” have signed onto that letter, demanding the governor’s action. Stating “what is the purpose of government” “to protect the rights of people.” Hamilton asked the crowd, “are we trying to stop anyone else from having it?” which elicited a loud “NO” from the patriots in the rotunda. Hamilton continued by stating, “there you have it; big boy rules apply!”.
The thousands of people waiting in line could hear the thunderous applause coming from inside the Capitol as the Highway Patrol worked tirelessly to get them inside. However, those waiting outside did not have to wait long because after Hamilton finished his address inside the rotunda, he and Senator Jake Merrick made their way outside near the line where they addressed those on the lawn as well.
During the address, Merrick emphasized the importance of choice in the administration of the vaccine. Merrick also stressed the importance and power of “the people”, encouraging those in the audience to get involved and run for public office, saying, “You don’t have to know everything to do what is right.”
A Rising Star Is Introduced
Following his speech, Merrick took the time to introduce a rising star in the Oklahoma Republican Party and a member of Oklahoma’s 2000 National Championship Team, Chris Toney. Toney will be running for the new State House District 66 located in eastern Oklahoma County that was created as a result of redistricting. He joined Merrick, where he echoed the calls of those who spoke before him on the importance of choice and rights protection, stating that, “[we] can no longer be the silent majority.”
Ignite Liberty had the opportunity to speak with Toney following his address at the Capitol. He said he is running for office because he sees the “acceleration of ideas in the opposite direction of freedom and liberties which undermine this nation.” When asked what Toney thought that the rally stood for and what it represents, he stated that:
“The importance of the rally was it represents a unified front to figure out this [mandatory vaccination] issue as it applies to Oklahomans,” and that the rally represents the, “freedom, liberty and the right to choose what people put in their bodies.”
Ignite Liberty also caught up with Senator Hamilton after his address outside, where he clarified who the aggressors are in this situation.”It’s not us; it’s the other side who’s trying to use force to make us or coerce us to get the vaccine that we don’t want to take.” He said what needs to be stressed is the importance of understanding that it all comes down to force. A state that prides itself on being the bastion of freedom and liberty in this country cannot take to forcing law-abiding citizens to wear masks or take vaccines against their will.
The rally seemed to have been formed at the perfect time in response to the encroachment on individual liberty that the metro area has seen in the last several week, with multiple healthcare systems in the Oklahoma City area announcing that they will be introducing mandatory vaccination policies while simultaneously denying multiple exemption requests.
This week the situation reached a boiling point with the superintendents of both the Santa Fe South School District and the Oklahoma Public Schools announced that they would be instituting mask mandates in defiance of SB658, which took effect on July 1st of this year.
Both situations have intensified the call for a special session, as Ignite Liberty reported in our last article. We will continue to monitor this rapidly-changing situation and report on any breaking developments as the happen.
– Jonathan Hewitt