The following is the October 28, 2023, introduction by Allan Stevo for California anti-lockdown activist Theresa Buccola at the biweekly pro-freedom event Menlo Forum in Menlo Park, California hosted by the excellent Robert Mish of Mish International, an area businessman and precious metals vendor.
There are heroes who walk among us.
There is Johan Vandertuin who believes the police of San Benito County, California have no business fabricating charges against him because he dared to walk into a UPS Store in Hollister, California unmasked in December of 2022. And that the conservative District Attorney cooperating in this should either end the matter against Johan or resign in shame.
There are heroes who walk among us.
There are the parents of Autumn Schall who believe it is their complete and total right to decide what medicines their child is given or not given, no matter what Stanford Hospital had to say, no matter what CPS has to say, no matter what a California judge has to say.
There are heroes who walk among us.
There is Anh Colton, who believes it is her right, and your right to run for sheriff where you live, not just the privilege of those who have spent years being indoctrinated by the system. You may not agree with her, but that does not mean she should walk through the world without applause for that bravery. Nor does it mean she belongs in a jail cell.
There are heroes who walk among us.
There are pastors Gabriel Abdelaziz and Dorothy Abdelaziz, who never closed the doors of their church in Paso Robles, California.
There are others like that.
Why did they not close? Because it is their duty to not close and their right to not close.
There are even some elected officials, such as Dan Dow of San Luis Obispo County, who said in response to the public health orders to close churches that his county is henceforth a sanctuary county…for churches. That in his county, no church, no pastor will be prosecuted for refusing to shut their doors.
But there are thousands more, perhaps millions more — heroes in their own right in this state, who refuse to simply do as they are told. Who know their values are worth fighting for. Who perhaps even know California is worth fighting for.
There are young men like Teyo, 17 years old, whose last name I won’t mention. Who said one day, I will never wear a mask again, and because of that he was told by the school system, that he would not be able to be educated in this community – that was likely a frightening and uncertain situation for his parents and others who love him and wanted to see him succeed, but you know what…as scary as that might have been…the day he said, he would never wear a mask again, and the day he was suspended from school, which left no other option than to homeschool him, was probably one of the best things to have happened in his life.
These stories need to be told. For there are heroes who walk among us.
Or the story of Zane, another young man, whose last name I will not mention, who at the age of 13, or some similarly young age, marched into his school board meeting, demanding to be heard, insisting he would not wear a mask in that place. Threatened by one teacher, by a second teacher, by an administrator, grown adults with no shame, used to bullying children, and then having the police called on him – a 13-year-old having the police called on him for wanting to enter a public building unmasked and to be heard at a public meeting by elected officials.
Hardly can I think of something more American than what that 13-year-old did.
While a bunch of adults quivered and hid in fear, or even ran away from the state, because it was just too much for them to handle. While teachers and media spoke words of fear into our lives, it was the 17-year-old Teyo’s story that inspired the 13-year-old Zane.
How important it is for us to be willing to share our individual stories with others, because there are heroes who walk among us.
Before we made it normal in our individual lives to be so distracted by so many screens, that was so much of what humans did with each other — tell stories. That was part of why our communities and families and relationships were able to be so strong, because we spent a lot of time telling stories to each other.
It was not the domain of someone who had a website, or a production company, or an 8-figure Netflix movie deal, or a book writing contract, or presence in the media or on social media. It was the domain of every person on this planet to be a story teller with each other, at least with those in life who mattered most.
And you don’t need the world to change. So don’t make that your excuse. You can say to yourself “One hour less screen time for me today, in exchange for one hour more time sharing my life, and my stories with those I care about most.”
Yes, the world has changed. But the good news is this…
You don’t need the whole world to change. You need to change.
Heroes walk among us. Mostly quietly, perhaps a lot more quietly than appropriate, for then, we seldom know how to stand up, how to fight, how to behave justly in the most unjust of situations.
When you have stood up, and you refuse to tell that story — even if done out of seemingly virtuous reasons, such as modesty, or not wanting to self-promote — when you have stood up, and you refuse to tell that story, you commit a great evil to those around you, for you deny them that special blessing placed in their lives: the blessing of a righteous example.
One aspect of the nature of freedom is that no one human being can know everything, so we never act like such a thing can be. We never turn to one human for all the answers. We never turn to one human to do all the work. We never turn to one human to make all the decisions.
Crowdsourcing has been the norm since before there was an Internet, crowdsourcing has been the norm since before, there was even a printing press, crowdsourcing has been the norm since before there was even a written word.
Telling one’s story to others, especially telling one’s encouraging stories to others, is a thing as old as the first time humans gathered together.
Not only is it our duty to tell virtuous, and encouraging stories to one another, it is written into the very nature of community, and culture, and impressed upon our DNA for us to do exactly that.
We are about to hear from one such hero. And it is not lightly that I use that word hero.
But first, let me impress upon you further, how very selfish you are being, especially in an era like this, when you do good in the world around you, and you do not tell that story.
Millions of good people left this state last year.
Because they thought it was hopeless.
Anyone with eyes to see can tell how not hopeless it is. California is 12.5% of the US population. That means in California we have the most conservatives of any state in the country. We have the most libertarians of any state in the country. We have the most Christians of any state in the country. We have the most religiously devout people of any state in the country. We have the most health freedom warriors of any state in the country. We have the most freedom fighters of any state in the country. Do you mean to tell me that with a mass of people like that, this is hopeless?
Millions of parents refuse to speak up.
Millions of taxpayers refuse to speak up.
Millions of business owners refuse to speak up.
Because it is hopeless.
They have bought into the notion that 51% is required to change history. Or that 33% is required to change history. Or that 3% is required to change history. Or some other critical mass.
While that is quite the romantic notion, I contend that it is a great lie and a great disservice to spread.
The truth is that one person at a time, one person interacting with one other person, the world is made better.
It matters little in my life what Santa Clara County Public Health Director Sarah Cody belched out of her mouth and onto paper yesterday, or last week, or last month, signing, claiming new privilege over others. It means even less in my life what Bill Gates has planned for the world. It matters not in my life what Klaus Schwab has to say about bugs or cars or 15 minutes. The people I interact with are the ones who truly matter in my life. Both those I am able to impact and those who impact me.
You may not realize how vital it is, that you treat your own heroic stories as more important than anything some idiot on TV has to say about Klaus Schwab, but the same is true for podcasts and YouTube and Rumble. You may not realize how vital it is that you treat your own heroic stories as more important than anything the internet talking heads have to say. This is such an important part of building a strong community and having a strong community.
One of the things they want is to divide us from one another, to divide us from our community, to ignore how special one on one conversations are, how special small gatherings are, how special small gatherings just like these are, small gatherings, especially among a tireless minority.
Yes, big names in media, social media, and citizen media, are important. They have their place. But dare I say, in my individual life, and almost certainly in your individual life, gatherings like these, and one-on-one conversations mean so much more than almost anything broadcasted for the masses.
I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank you for your support of Robert Mish and Menlo Forum and for your support of this community.
Because I am selfish, and I realize we live on the front line of what may be the greatest, most glorious battle of this era: The Battle of California, the decades, long effort to destroy the most wonderful and most influential place on this planet.
And why destroy it?
Because then the rest of the country will fall, and the rest of the world will fall.
It is not lightly that I say how important you sharing your stories generously with others is.
It is not lightly I introduce someone who is so generously coming to share with us such a story. Theresa Buccola, an unsung hero among us. Theresa, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stand, and in my life Theresa, I have to say thank you for the encouragement.
Because not just a few times, I have seen Theresa’s flight from a distance, and said to myself – if she can fight that battle then I have no excuse. I do not have to deal with the police the way she does. I do not have to deal with the constant oppression around me the way she does. I do not have to deal with the burden of the small critical community around me the way she does.
What a blessing it is to know there is a Theresa Buccola out there. As Theresa speaks, I ask you to challenge yourself with this question: What did I think was my excuse for not acting? What did I think was my excuse for not doing all of that and more? As Theresa speaks: What did you think was your excuse for not doing all that and more?
Theresa took a piece of tyranny, and she said “I am going to beat against it until it releases its holds from my life and from my community.”
Is her way the only way to do it?
Can you come up with criticism?
Is Theresa perfect?
Who cares. Who among us is perfect?
These are distracting questions that come from the enemy.
A good question to ask as Theresa speaks is this, “What did you think was your excuse for not doing all that and more?”
Please put your hands together.
Please give a warm, warm welcome to Theresa Buccola.
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