I’m always of two minds about political protests.
On one hand, I have an optimistic, red-blooded American view about civic participation and the importance of people showing their power.
On the other I’m cynical because I’ve seen so many examples of Big Pharma rigging the game I wonder if it’s worth my time because it takes a lot to organize care for my severely autistic daughter when I need to be gone for a day and there’s no school.
But when the invitation came in from Joshua Coleman…
…to introduce my co-author, Dr. Judy Mikovits, at a “Stop the Hate in the Vaccine Debate” rally on the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, I knew I couldn’t refuse. Let me say this about Josh. I consider him to be one of the finest and most creative political activists I’ve ever seen.
When I arrived at the Capitol, many of our rally supporters were lining the roads with large signs, each with a specific fact about vaccines such as “VACCINES ARE MADE WITH ABORTED HUMAN FETAL CELLS.” It was an impressive display. I parked my car, got my backpack, and started walking through the supporters with their signs, thanking them for coming.
I dress and look like a federal agent…
…especially with my square jaw and block-head, so many were surprised, saying, “Thank you. That’s so much nicer than the last guy who told us to f*** off and die.”
“I’m one of you,” I said, as I continued on my way.
I quickly found Judy at the main tent and set my things down. I’ve learned that protests, especially this one, starting at 8 a.m. and not ending until three in the afternoon requires one to pace themselves.
I wasn’t there more than five minutes when two big muscular guys with smiles on their faces approached me and stuck out their hands.
“Hey, Kent, I’m Andy* and this is Todd*. We’re guards over at Folsom Prison and we just want you to know we’ve checked security, talking to California Highway Patrol and Capitol Police. You’re safe here. Security’s all good. You won’t have any problems.”
I thanked them, we made some small talk, then I asked a question. “My wife often asks about the safety of me and Judy, in particular when we’re just out in the world. Any thoughts on that? Things we should or shouldn’t do?”
“You guys are protected,” said Andy. “Don’t worry about that. When there are people doing good things in the world, the word goes out. Angels are watching over you.”
I tried to inquire about exactly who was protecting us and how, but he waved me off. “You guys are good. Don’t worry. If you or Judy got taken off the table, there’d be a whole lot of suffering on the other side.”
Of course, my next move was to introduce Judy to Andy and Todd…
…then she spoke about how many in her family were law enforcement. I gave Andy and Todd a signed copy of our book, PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION. Got to keep your angels happy, right?
When we finished with Andy and Todd, Judy said to me, “Hey, Larry Klayman is having a press conference at 11 a.m. where he’s announcing he’s suing Governor Gavin Newsom about the lock-down and masking orders. Do you want to be a part of that news conference?”
So at 11 a.m. in front of the Hyatt Regency I was standing on one side of attorney Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, as he announced he was suing the Governor. Judy stood on the other side. It was then I found out Judy was the lead plaintiff in the case, along with writer and actor, Ben Stein. And yes, I made sure I got to say a few words.
We made our way back to the main tent, and the crowd was starting to fill up.
There’s a strange reaction that happens when somebody recognizes a person they’ve read or seen in an interview. I’ve observed it enough times that I can recognize it. The eyebrows go up a little, as if their eyes are cameras and want to zoom in on you to confirm their suspicions.
When I see that happening I smile and say hello and introduce myself, saying, “Hi, I’m Kent.”
“Heckenlively,” they inevitably answer, and I know they didn’t mistake me for some distant cousin.
I probably had forty or fifty different conversations with people I’d never met before with each of them saying some variation of “God bless you for what you’re doing.” Or “Brave people like you renew my faith in humanity.” Sometimes I got people asking with concern, “Are you keeping yourself safe?”
Many had their copy of our book and wanted me to sign, which I happily did…
A few didn’t have their books, but they’d picked up some pamphlets printed by the Cato Institute of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution and asked me to sign those. Yeah, you can’t help but feel a little pride when people want to group you with the Founding Fathers.
The speeches got started and I was in the main tent, not really sure when I was going to go, but knowing it was going to be near the end, since Judy was the keynote speaker.
I was about one speaker away when someone rushed up to the main tent saying…
…“Robert Kennedy’s here! We’ve only got him for about an hour before he has to catch a plane!”
Okay, I’m getting bumped by Robert Kennedy, Jr. Not the worst thing in the world, right? I saw Kennedy standing in the shade of a nearby tree, surrounded by people, so I walked over to him.
I’ve spoken to Kennedy many times on the phone, but I’d never actually met him. I gently pushed my way to the front, and said, “Hi, Robert. Kent Heckenlively. Good to finally meet you!”
He quickly grasped me by the shoulder, we took a few pictures, and he said “You did great work, Kent.” Others wanted to talk to him and I let them, but as I walked away I couldn’t help but feel a warm glow from his compliment.
A few minutes later, Kennedy took the stage, gave a great speech, then when he was done, the organizers wanted to get a picture of all the speakers together. We went to the other side of the Capitol in the shade and Robert made sure one arm was around Judy Mikovits and the other arm was gripped tightly around me, as if to say, “Welcome to the A Team!” Yes, it was a special moment.
I was quickly hustled back to the main tent…
…as it was my turn to speak and I gave a brief ten minute speech, lauding Dr. Mikovits as an honest scientist who was persecuted because she wanted to tell the truth about how Big Pharma has ruined our health.
When Judy took the stage she graciously said, “Kent is the real hero of this story because he figured out how to give me a voice when so many wanted to silence me.”
The difficulty in this activism is confronting the darkness all around us and still retaining that spark of hope. From law enforcement telling me I was protected, to individuals telling me I’d renewed their faith in humanity, to Kennedy telling me I’d done “great work”, to Dr. Mikovits telling me I was the “real hero of this story,” it was an emotional day.
For all of you who made the rally such an energizing event for me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You give me the strength to continue fighting.
Opinion by Kent Heckenlively, JD
Be sure to order Kent Heckenlively’s new book with Dr. Judy Mikovits, PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION from Amazon which you can do RIGHT NOW!