SAN DIEGO—San Diego residents Michael and Jeanne McKinney are both staunch conservatives who feel they have “a lot of skin in the game” of saving the United States from the policies of the far left.
“We have family. We have grandkids. We really care about America,” Jeanne McKinney said. “There are so many conservatives in San Diego and California.”
On March 11 and 12, about 3,000 conservatives gathered at the Awaken Church in San Diego, where keynote speakers described a new course for the nation based on Christian conservative principles.
“I like to support everybody with the change we’re hoping to move toward. We need rapid change in this country,” Michael McKinney told The Epoch Times.
“We need to get back to the Constitution. And what really bothers me is the Supreme Court, [which is] not even close to what the Constitution is about. It just bothers the heck out of me what’s going on in this country.”
The two-day event in San Diego was a stop on Clay Clark’s “Reawaken America Tour,” a coast-to-coast series featuring well-known pro-freedom speakers such as Dr. Mark Sherwood, attorney Leigh Dundas, Dr. Lee Merritt, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Eric Trump, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former U.S. national security adviser to President Donald Trump, as well as dozens of others.
Several overflow areas were set up so that people unable to access the sold-out event could view the speakers on closed-circuit television and share in the energetic spirit akin to a religious revival meeting.
“We came to watch all of them but we love General Flynn,” said Susan Meyer of California, who encouraged Americans to “stand up for our freedom, for our rights—everybody unite under God, like we’re supposed to, and love each other.”
“We are beautiful people, and [yet] we’re taught to hate our whole lives,” she said. “We are literally fighting for our country and fighting for our freedoms.
“I want to see the change where we have a smaller government, we live by our Constitution to protect us, and we have the unity—not parties. We’re all patriots, God-loving people.”
Her friend, Darlene McCint of Orange County, California, said she’s hoping for a GOP sweep of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
“I think we’re going to turn it around. I think the Republicans are going to take over the House and the Senate,” she told The Epoch Times. “People are miserable now, liberals and Democrats. I prefer to say I’m a conservative.”
Meyer said she’s concerned about the downward trajectory of the country at home and abroad.
Weeks before the price of regular gasoline reached $6.39 a gallon in California last week, Meyer said she was filling gas cans at two-thirds of the cost.
“To blame it on Russia—no. When you stop [petroleum] production in your own country, you can expect it’s going to rise. And there’s no end in sight. I expect our gas prices to almost double from what it is now—I’m getting ready to buy a horse,” she joked.
Meyer said she sees the war in Ukraine as another flash-point for America, although she doesn’t expect a “full-scale” war with Russia.
“I expect people to start praying; this is all in God’s hands. People in our government are guilty of a lot of stuff. Once people realize it, [politicians are] going to be gone. God’s going to take care of these evil people,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gail Kimura of Chicago and Stevie Strang of California are optimistic that things can and will get better under conservative leadership.
“Progress is [knowing,] where does the voter fraud stand? Is it ending soon? When is it over with?” Strang said.
A loyal Trump supporter, Kimura said she votes “every time” and will vote conservative in the midterms. And while Chicago is overwhelmingly a blue city, she said, the political landscape is “turning slowly.”
“There’s a lot of people that still wear masks that still are scared. There’s a lot of COVID still going on there,” Kimura told The Epoch Times.
“We’re waiting for Trump. We need the help,” Strang said.
“Of course,” Kimura added. “Look at what he did for the country. And he could do so much more.”
Apryll Held of Orange County and Sherry Schmidt of Bozeman, Montana, said that galvanizing political events such as “Reawaken America” help to educate people about patriotism and conservative values.
“America is a good [and] loving country,” Schmidt said. “I’m sick of the narrative that we’re evil. I’m fighting for my kids and their future. I want them to see that this country is worth fighting for.”
Held said the event was, for her, a “way to get involved and lift our spirit.”
“Evil is trying to take over America,” she told The Epoch Times. “War is used in order to transfer money to a country. Oh, let’s throw some money at Ukraine. Why would that be?”
Schmidt said: “Follow the money. You just have to dig a little deeper outside of mainstream media.”
The event was more than an outlet for passionate rhetoric and symbolism—it was a way to spur people to “take action,” Held said.
“And it educates people to then talk to other people,” she said.
Rena Malkah of Florida said she left her native Canada for good last September—two months before the nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate went into effect.
“I escaped. I feel like I escaped from behind the Iron Curtain,” Malkah said. “I went to Florida because I already had a home there. So I had a place to go to. I’ve been fighting for freedom the whole time.”
Even before leaving Canada, Malkah attended medical freedom rallies and led a few of her own. She then started FreedomLoversCanada.com, which now has 3,500 members.
“There are a lot of us who don’t want to wear a mask or be vaccinated because we’re educated as to what’s in that vaccine. The truth is not allowed to be told. It’s all propaganda and censorship,” she told The Epoch Times.
On Nov. 30, 2021, Canada became “the only country in the world where you cannot leave.”
“If you’re not vaccinated, you’re not allowed on a boat, plane, or train. It’s the only other country where you can’t leave—other than Cuba. My father was a survivor of Auschwitz. In Canada, as well as the U.S., they’re building camps,” she said.
“I’m petrified of being taken to a camp. I ran away from Canada because I wanted to have freedom. I’m turning 70 this year. I want to live like a normal human being like I lived the first 69 years of my life.”