A Different Vibe, Venue, and Voice in the Free State of Florida – Opinion

The Conservative Political Action Conference—CPAC 2022—is fully underway in the free state of Florida under the theme: Awake, Not Woke. Florida hosted this conference for the second time in 2018. There are no restrictions on COVID: there is no need to wear masks, forced social distancing or any COVID agenda.

The atmosphere at the event is relaxed and more engaged because of it. On Thursday morning I was there in the wee hours. Since then, the interaction between participants and the media has increased throughout the day. The consensus is that people are less worried and on edge when they don’t need to control their temperature.

Team Trump-CPAC 2022 Participants. Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell


CPAC 2021’s theme was America UnCanceled. It felt like you were punching a wall. CPAC 2022 is more akin to holding hands and singing, “Kumbaya.” Yes, there’s a bit of hyperbole in that analogy, but suffice to say there is a sense of ease and normalcy to this year’s conference that was not evident at last year’s.

The reality-based community continued to fight COVID restrictions in 2021 (even though it was located in Florida). CPAC’s annual, previously grassroots, event was moved by the American Conservative Union (ACU) to Orlando, Florida, at Governor Ron DeSantis’s request. D.C. was shut down and wasting taxpayer dollars and the U.S. National Guard’s time with nonsense fears and barbed wire fencing. Florida was the only state that was capable of hosting such an event.

Despite opposition, the Hyatt Orlando 2021 event was large and had lots of energy. It was also due in large part to the fact it was the first chance to meet and communicate with people face-to face for over a decade (even if that meant wearing a mask at times). DeSantis welcomed conservatives to Florida and reiterated his support for keeping the state open for business and protecting individual freedoms.

But the drama was strong with the legacy media and Leftist activists—but I repeat myself—who wanted to make it a COVID Super Spreader event, and a poster child of their hackneyed bogeyman of white supremacy. It was only fitting that Trump the ex-President closed out the festivity. Next, there was the so-called Nazi-symbolism of the stage design. This is where the Left tried to denounce and cancel Hyatt Corporation’s hosting rights. The corporation first defended the contract they had with ACU, making it seem that they were going to ignore the criticism. Unfortunately, they gave in and later apologized. It was a sign of the nature and intensity of the wars to be fought between the Leftist agenda and conservatives as well as everyday Americans.

CPAC 2022’s hallmark is its change in venue. ACU chose to have a conference centre in Westgate Resorts or Rosen Shingle Creek that is more private and club-like. CPAC has the advantage of being the Only focus, allowing for free flow of interaction and information, without the conflict of other organizations and people who might be “triggered” by this unabashed overflow of conservative thought and strategic organization. The security is tighter. The driver of my Lyft was pulled over well before he reached the entrance to the building. He was then questioned about his activities there. Although it was 6:06 a.m. it’s clear the ACU wanted to make sure everyone has access. Anyone who isn’t is barred.

CPAC’s foundation is grassroots conservatism. This topic and many speakers are focused on regaining this focus. Every politics has a local component. The school board turmoil, the mandate protests, all of it would not be possible if there weren’t people within their community fighting for their kids, their neighborhoods, their livelihoods, freedoms and saving their schools.

It was great to have the opportunity to talk to some of these people, most of whom were formed in 2021 to address our failures in protecting individual liberties. The most shocking aspect is the dismal and brutal attacks made on children by all sides.

Loud Majority was founded by Heather Lieberman of New York and Dana Diffendale. The group is making a positive impact in the local community by voicing their concerns and has already helped to flip school boards and other seats. Lieberman’s goal is to spread this progress and help others organize so that they can do the same.

Heather Lieberman & Dana Diffendale are the Leaders of Loud Majority at New York Grassroots Organization. Credit: Jennifer Oliver O’Connell

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