WHEN THE United States is in a tough fight, Tennessee always comes through. When the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and Britain, 2,000 Tennesseans volunteered to fight under General Andrew Jackson. The Tennesseans made up the main part of Jackson's army that defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.
Leading the fight is the Tennessee Freedom Coalition (TFC), a non-partisan grassroots movement led by executive director Lou Ann Zelenik and chairman Andy Miller.
You can see their first-rate 16-minute video on YouTube here: Losing Our Community. This video had a significant part to play in alerting legislators to what needed to be done, and they recently voted overwhelmingly to approve an anti-terrorism bill in a 26-3 landslide in Tennessee's Senate. The vote passed in the House a few days earlier, 76-16. The bill allows Tennessee to prosecute anyone who provides material support for terrorism of any kind.
The other important thing TFC has accomplished is the inaugural Signature Series event on May 12, 2011. The main speakers were Geert Wilders, Sam Solomon, and Bill Warner. This event also had a major educational influence on Tennessee politicians and helped the anti-terrorism bill pass. Many state legislators had a chance to meet with and listen to Geert Wilders at this event, and the very next day, the bill had 14 new co-sponsors!
You can read an excellent first-hand account of the event by Baron Bodissey here: Tennessee the Model. But I'd like to quote Bodissey briefly here, just to give you an idea of what kind of event it was:
Last week’s events in Nashville can provide inspiration for the rest of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and anywhere else in world where grassroots groups are resisting Islamization. Tennessee can also serve as a model for future actions all across the American heartland.
This was the largest and most effective event of its type that I have ever attended, and one of the main reasons for its success was the mega-church environment. I realize that this doesn’t sit well with some of our atheist or secular readers, but it’s hard to argue with effectiveness.
The plans to bring in Mr. Wilders gained TFC some media attention a day or two ahead of the event, but most of the advance publicity was by word-of-mouth through churches, civic organizations, and the local Republican party. The venue was ideal for a large crowd, since it could seat as many people as a convention hall, and had enough parking to accommodate all their vehicles. The church already had the expertise and personnel to direct traffic, deal with crowd control, and provide security. With the local police cooperating, the setup was orderly and secure.
There was no entry fee.
The audience response to the speeches was uniformly positive and enthusiastic — Geert Wilders was interrupted by applause over and over again. One could tell that people had been desperate to hear these things actually spoken out loud. These were opinions which they had thought were forbidden, but which they now understood to be held in common with thousands of other Tennesseans. Mr. Wilders reminded them of their rights under the First Amendment — as he said, “here I can say what I want to say without having to fear that I will be dragged to court upon leaving this church.”
Thousands of people who had never heard of Geert Wilders have now listened to him and understood his message.
TFC has a DVD of the inaugural Signature Series event, which you can purchase here: Geert Wilders' Warning to America. The Nashville event was Wilders' only United States appearance during his last visit. You can see Bill Warner's speech, which is included on the DVD, here.
The Tennessee Freedom Coalition is a new and formidable force in the counterjihad movement. I encourage you to sign up for the TFC email updates, to "like" TFC on Facebook, and to follow TFC on Twitter. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.