“The last bastion of freedom.” “The greatest nation in the history of mankind.”
Passionate, patriotic speakers at the 2014 Western Conservative Summit used these terms to describe “America at it’s best,” the theme of the 3-day weekend that called for unity, generational harmony, moral courage, and the preservation of America’s founding principles of faith, family, and freedom.
The Summit was hosted by Colorado Christian University’s public policy think tank, the Centennial Institute, and led by director John Andrews.
“We at Centennial Institute are delighted with the overwhelming response to this year’s Western Conservative Summit,” said Andrews, adding that speakers, exhibitors, media, sponsors, and workshops came together to create a clear vision of the conservative message.
“Working together really dramatized the vision of America at it’s best, to be clear about what we oppose but also positive, practical, and inspiring about what we’re for,” said Andrews. “People went home really energized to make a difference in their community from the bottom up, not just politically but culturally and as neighbors, and in their attitudes spiritually.”
Former U.S. senator and current president of Colorado Christian University, Bill Armstrong said the Summit started five years before and has grown exponentially since.
“We hoped to get 300; we got 700,” Armstrong said of the inaugural year. “The next year we got 1,200, and the year after that 1,500. Last year, [we had] 2,000.”
2014 boasted 3,300 conservatives from around the country and drew the presence of nearly 90 media venues, including five international outlets.
Social media took particular interest in the event with #WCS14 trending in the top four in the nation twice during the event, even above left-wing conventions like Netroots Nation. More than 32 million total impressions were made on Twitter, reaching nearly seven million users by #WCS14 during the weekend.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin drew the greatest interest on social media, pointing to the conservative value of unity beyond race or gender.
Top themes of the Summit 2014 included an emphasis on harmony and values, returning to the voice of the people, securing American borders, refuting the “war on women,” protecting the American dream, and bringing strong clarity to the conservative message, both what is opposed and what is supported.
The 2014 Western Conservative Summit surged with high moments of vision and patriotism, and quotations from just a few of more than 20 speakers from the event provide an inside glance at the weekend’s inspiration:
“There’s only one remedy for a president who commits ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It’s impeachment. The ‘i word’! You don’t need a fancy law degree to know laws aren’t enforced today.”
“What’s “right” is standing for freedom, and a culture of LIFE, and respecting the United States military, letting free markets create jobs & securing borders to protect jobs! It means, Mr. President, defending our Constitution & the rule of law.”
“The thing that worries me the most is this president’s relentless efforts to redefine the American dream.”
“I don’t know about you, but the American dream I learned about is that our best days are always ahead of us.”
“We need to repeal every word of Common Core. We already have a common core. It’s called the Constitution!”
“Why am I optimistic? A grassroots army is coming up!”
“I don’t like the word compromise when it applies to principles.”
“All of us together, we have to look at the big picture. We are trying to save the nation right now. So we cannot have this attitude that ‘if they don’t agree with me on this particular issue, I’m out of here.’”
“I hope that the people of America realize that the policies of this administration are hurting them.”
“Conservatives don’t care about the color of your skin. We care about the colors of our flag.”
“Why should we increase taxes on people for being successful? For following the American dream?”
“America is the most compassionate nation in the world. The only thing we ask you is that you come in the front door, not the back.”
“Think of the sovereignty you have inherited….That inheritance carries with it a duty to preserve your freedoms and the system of Constitutional government in the United States.”
“You can’t go on like this. There’s something wrong with a British politician having to come to the United States to tell you to get a hold of your own debt.”
#7 Ben Shapiro:
“Just because you have a right to something doesn’t mean you have the right to take it from your neighbor.”
“Collectivism is legalized thievery…Jealousy is the root of everything the collectivists believe!”
#8 Fox News contributor K.T. McFarland:
“America’s future is very bright, but it’s not a given.”
“We have never seen a more dangerous world with bad leaders.”
#9 Senator Tim Scott:
“If it starts working right, the President thinks it’s wrong!”
“The issue of education cannot be owned by the Democrats…All people love the concept of choice!”
#10 Senator Elbert Guillory:
“We do not need Middle Eastern oil. Let them frack!”
“14 months ago, I was a Democrat….I once was lost; now I am found.”
As Colorado and the country look ahead to next year’s Western Conservative Summit, John Andrews anticipates continued growth and energy. “We will be fully in the Denver Convention Center because it’s the only venue big enough for us now. The working title of next year’s conference is “Winning Hearts and Minds,” said Andrews. “We especially want to emphasize the dimension of the heart…The friends of freedom are the ones who care the most and are the most inclusive and the most community-minded. That’s our message at Centennial Institute and Western Conservative Summit as it grows and gains influence year by year.”