Today as I write this blog, I struggle to find the words to describe the experiences of my past week. Although that seems to be cliché, this week I have explored new ideas and locations that were previously unfathomable. That being said, this astronomical journey to Las Vegas was preempted by a significant week of work.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on creating a new webpage for Votespotter to be formally found here. After coordinating the graphic design with the IT coding and writing a lot of articles, I’m happy to say that the website is live!
With that milestone complete, I looked forward to making my way to FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Flying into Nevada mid-afternoon, I was astounded by the desert landscape and how it was plastered against this huge city oasis.
After registering at the FreedomFest kiosk located in the conference centre of our hotel, I attended a FEE seminar on fascism within the US. During this seminar, keynote speakers Geoffrey Tucker, Max Borders, and Steve Horwitz discussed the threat of modern fascism through the culmination of nationalism, authoritarianism, and populism within America. The panel elaborated on instances where liberty can be challenged from the political right wing.
That evening, there was a North American Mannkal scholars reunion as each of my fellow interns swapped stories and dined upon some Las Vegas cuisine. It was great to hear what the five other scholars had been tasked with and how they were experiencing their times in America and Canada.
During my time at FreedomFest, I was very grateful for the opportunity to attend lunch with Rand Paul. The Kentucky senator expressed his support for the freedom movement and acknowledged the need to fight against big government. He also gave a signed copy of his book “Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America” to all members of the lunch.
The Libertarian Party were out in force over the weekend. Gary Johnston, the Libertarian Presidential candidate, and William Weld, the Vice Presidential nominee, both spoke at the convention. The theme of the talk was to introduce the Libertarian Party and address their main policies and beliefs. Gary Johnston humorously spoke about the number of times he vetoed bills as Governor of New Mexico- namely, a bill that required pet stores to exercise their animals for two hours each day. Overall, the head of the presidential ticket spoke well and with confidence about the possibility of a win this November.
After the final afternoon of seminars, all six of the Mannkal scholars attended the Gala Saturday night farewell banquet. The evening consisted of magic tricks, speeches, and music that captured both Las Vegas and FreedomFest respectfully. That evening spurred conversation and jokes between myself and other members of American think tanks.
FreedomFest itself was an excellent celebration of liberty and a clever excuse for me to expand my personal library. Without Mannkal, this experience would have never been possible- hence, why I am eternally grateful.
Post-convention, I travelled to the Grand Canyon via Route 66 with fellow Mannkal scholars Max and Chad. I was in awe of the canyon and photos simply could not do it justice. Again, a special thanks to the team at Mannkal through whom this opportunity was made available.
Flying home Sunday night, it was straight back to work Monday morning with tasks left, right, and centre. This week, I’ve had a phenomenal trip and I don’t doubt my time in America will be slowing down soon.