By Whitney Blair WyckoffFor a number Americans the economy is a major issue for this upcoming presidential election. But many of those attending the X-Conference held in suburban Washington, D.C., over the weekend are concerned with a different kind of green.
The X-Conference is a weekend-long symposium on exopolitics--or governmental, political or social issues relating to aliens and UFOs. Various heavyweights in the UFO community came to the event to speak about their work and to discuss a conspiracy to cover up encounters with the third kind.
"There is no more important research going on in the world," said Steve Bassett, executive producer of the event, at the conference on Sunday morning. Most of the 120 or so audience members nodded in agreement.
Grant Cameron, a lecturing UFO researcher, said that UFOs have long been an issue with presidential candidates. But he said that he no longer thinks that presidents have all the facts when it comes to extra terrestrial visits.
"There's a government inside a government," that controls this information, Cameron said.
Take former President Jimmy Carter, he said. Cameron said that Carter admitted to seeing a UFO and promised to disclose any information the government had about UFOs during his presidency. But Carter never did, Cameron said.
Rom Simone, another lecturer, said it was because Carter was an outsider, shut out of the industrial-military complex. "This is what Eisenhower warned about in his last speech," Simone said.
For this election, Cameron thought that Dennis Kucinich was the mostly likely candidate to provide full disclosure on UFOs. After all, Kucinich also admitted to seeing an unidentified flying object during one of the presidential debates. But since Kucinich dropped out of the race, Cameron endorsed another candidate.
Carmeron ended up endorsing Hillary Clinton on his Web site "Hillary is sympathetic to the issue," said Cameron, a Canadian who also works as a building facility manager at the University of Manitoba to pay the bills.
Cameron added that both Hillary and former president Bill Clinton met with UFO enthusiast Laurance Rockefeller to talk about extra terrestrials. And Cameron said that he has acquired documents through Freedom of Information Act requests that show that the former president investigated UFOs.
But Cameron stressed that it is up to the UFO community to keep pushing the issue.
"Everybody is waiting for a Messiah, everyone is waiting for someone to come and make it all better," Cameron said. "Disclosure is our game. It's up to us to do the work and push the issue."
While some at the conference were skeptics about UFOs until they witnessed a sighting, Terri Mansfield said that she had believed in life outside of Earth ever since she was a little girl.
"I used to look up at the sky and wonder where I came from," she said.
Eleven years ago, Mansfield witnessed a light formation over Phoenix that some said was a UFO. The event got much press coverage. Mansfield is featured in a documentary called The Phoenix Lights.
Even though Cameron has devoted his life to studying UFOs, he said he has no problem with cynics. In fact, Cameron's 25-year-old son has no interest in UFOs, he said.
"Everybody has a right to believe what they want to believe," he said. "In the end it will eventually work out."