Conservative figures, including American actress Leigh-Allyn Baker, congressional candidate Robby Starbuck and radio personality Clay Travis, spoke at The Factory at Franklin Tuesday night during a kickoff event for a newly formed conservative political action committee.
Nearly all used their time on stage to talk about an alleged growing communist influence in U.S. politics.
Williamson Families PAC was launched in early October, with a goal to encourage and endorse school board and county office candidates that share the organization's conservative values. Its kickoff event, held in Liberty Hall in The Factory at Franklin, saw more than 300 people attend the free event.
State Rep. Terry Weaver (R-Lancaster) kicked things off by singing the National Anthem and former Davidson County Sheriff's Deputy John Smith IV was the first to speak at the event, and recounted a recent event he had at the gym.
"When I was working out at the gym, an elderly gentleman approached me and told me how old he was: He was 82 years old, and he told me about the time he was in Europe in the Army and he witnessed communism first hand," Smith said.
"Then he said to me, speaking of America, [he could] not understand why people in the most greatest nation in the world would want to put their citizens under that devilish system, and why do they want to teach our kids garbage; turning them against each other, dumbing them down to where they would never know the freedom that you and me had."
Communism has largely lost relevance in the United States in the 21st century, with the country's major communist party, Communist Party USA, having dwindled from a height of more than 75,000 members in 1947 to around 8,000 in 2020.
In simple terms, communism refers to a school of thought derived from the works of German philosopher Karl Marx that advocates for common ownership of the means of production and property. While sharing some characteristics, the distinct but similar school of thought, socialism instead advocates for workers to own the means of production while preserving private ownership of property.
Only five communist countries exist in the world; China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos. The exact number of socialist countries is in dispute due to there being no official criteria for being considered a socialist state, however, there are dozens of countries with viable socialist political parties, including Portugal, Venezuela and Peru.
The United States government has had a large impact in halting the spread of socialism and communism across the globe, having been involved in the backing of coups in Latin America more than 40 times between 1898 and 1994, largely to impose regime changes such as in the case of the 1973 coup of democratically-elected socialist president Salvador Allende.
Baker, an American actress known for her roles in Charmed, Will & Grace and Good Luck Charlie, was a surprise guest at the kickoff event and touched on her recent media coverage after being an outspoken attendant during the chaotic Williamson County School Board meeting back in August.
"That was 59 viral seconds at the Williamson County School Board meeting that changed my life forever; I went from America’s favorite Disney mom, to America’s favorite domestic terrorist," Baker said.
"So Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland is now going to send the FBI to investigate parents under the Patriot Act for using their first amendment rights at school board meetings. I personally would like to investigate the attorney general for harassing parents."
Baker was referring to an Oct. 4 memorandum written by Garland that outlined a "series of measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel." Garland later denied claims that he would target parents at school board meetings under the Patriot Act, a bill that allows for increased penalties for crimes considered to be forms of terrorism.
"I am so grateful to live in a country where I have the First Amendment right to speak freely; it does not go unnoticed that the very freedom has been threatened by big tech, big pharma and this new communist administration," Baker continued.
Baker went on to encourage those in the audience to consider homeschooling their children, and spoke of conversations she'd had with her friends back in her home state of California.
"So many of my old friends in California know that homeschooling would be way better for their kids, but here’s the truth: It’s just too inconvenient for them, [they say] they don’t want to give up their freedoms," Baker said.
"They have allowed slime ball [Gavin] Newsom to imprison them in their home, keep friends and family six feet away, restrict their oxygen, and inject them with an experimental medical product with zero liability and a side effect of death. But homeschooling their kids would encroach on their freedom?"
As of November, more than 423 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, with a review by the Centers of Disease Control finding no evidence of a single death being attributable to a COVID-19 vaccine.
To date, there have been a total of 9,367 reported deaths of people who received a COVID-19 vaccine, however, through reviewing all available clinical information including death certificates and medical records, the CDC has found no evidence to attribute those deaths to vaccines.
Starbuck, who recently launched a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and has received the endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul and others, told audience members that he has been observing "Marxism slipping in" the United States' political landscape "for years," and that without a course correction, America was on the path to become more like Cuba or China.
"My family fled Cuba, they fled that communism that ripped freedom away from them, and so embedded in my DNA is that fight; that eagle-eyed, necessary outlook where you’re always looking for any little mark that tells you there’s a sign that Marxism's slipping in," Starbuck said.
"We saw those signs and we have been shouting from the rooftops for years now, warning people about what’s coming, and now it’s here. That’s the trajectory that we’re on in the long term: turning into a Cuba or a China. We’re headed towards the lunacy that we see in a place like 'commie-fornia.' That’s what we’re going to get if we don’t stand up now."
Last to speak at the event was Clay Travis, a conservative radio personality who hosts a program with conservative personality Buck Sexton in what used to be the Premiere Networks radio time slot of the late Rush Limbaugh.
Like Baker, Travis also spoke during the aforementioned Williamson County School Board meeting that caught the attention of President Joe Biden.
"I talked at the Williamson County School Board a couple of months ago for one minute as a parent, [and] as soon as I left that night, I called my radio show co-host Buck Sexton and I said ‘something special is happening in this country,"' Travis said.
"I know we got criticized because one 30-second video goes viral and Joe Biden talks about it, but I left there and I said 'this is how we win.'"