Blue Water Tea Party

Help put your nation's feet back on the path on which our nation was founded

Silent Majority No More

DC on 9/12: One Person's Experience

I happen to be one of those everyday Americans from the Midwest who goes to work every day, pays my taxes, believes in God, and in general tries to do the right thing. And like a lot of Americans I have become increasingly frustrated, angry and downright cynical about our Government. On Saturday, September 12, 2009 I had the unique experience of coming face to face with hundreds of thousands of people just like me.

I had wavered for weeks about making the trip to Washington D.C. to participate in a demonstration against Big Liberal Government. Should I spend the money? Should I take a day off work when I am so busy and worried weekly about keeping my job? Do I really want to spend 12 hours on a bus going anywhere? I finally concluded that it is time to seize the moment and I either had to commit to the cause or sit on the sidelines. So off I went.

I signed up for a bus trip sponsored by a local Tea Party group that I was aware of but was not really involved in. I was alone and had never met any of my traveling companions. The group was made up of mainly middle-income working people. A few of them brought their children or grand-children. Many were senior citizens. The man sitting in front of me was a 75 year old Marine veteran. Several were walking slowly and painfully with canes. Two were in wheel chairs manned by their spouses. We all had a single purpose. We were marching on Washington to say ‘We have had enough’.

We arrived at our hotel at about 5pm on Friday. By that time everyone was tired and needing a shower, some Motrin and several hours sleep on an actual bed.  Instead, we hurried to our rooms to drop off our luggage so we could get back on the bus and head down to a pre-rally event to watch the Tea Party bus that had traveled across the country that week arrive in Washington. At one point a speaker in the crowd asked all of the veterans to raise their hand. As a former member of the United States Air Force, I was proudly among them. Several people walked up to shake my hand and thank me for my service. My eyes teared up. We sang the National Anthem. We sang God Bless America. Hokey? Overly sentimental?  Perhaps. But it was heartfelt and sincere. And it felt much more productive than screaming at the TV in the privacy of my home.

After a quick 6 hours sleep on Friday night, we again boarded the bus to head down to Freedom Plaza where the march was to begin. There were hoards of police around – on foot, on horseback and sitting in patrol cars. They had no experience with dealing with an angry mob of grass roots conservatives and obviously didn’t know what to expect. As it turned out, their main job that day was to give directions, direct traffic, and escort two hapless liberals carrying a ‘Public Health Care Now’ sign out of the rally.  Interestingly, those were the only Obama supporters I saw that day.

There were signs everywhere. All hand-made and all unique. One of my favorites was carried by a 6 or 7 year old beautiful little girl that said ‘I Survived Roe v Wade’. Wow. But as unique as the signs were, the message was consistent. We had captured our conservative values that day in ways that the Republican politicians can only dream about. Limited government, lowered taxes, personal freedom and responsibility, national security, life. I saw no signs promoting the Republican Party. This wasn’t about them. It was about us and our families and our future. It was about preserving the values and institutions in this country that so many have served and died for. It was about making our voices heard in the most liberal, socialist, anti-American government any of us have seen in our lifetimes. They ignore us at their peril.

There are varying estimates on how many of us there were. The media rushed out to marginalize the event by estimating ‘thousands’. The Capital Park police said they were stunned at the crowd size and guessed at over a million people. As the march began, we were spread across Pennsylvania Avenue and stretched out a full mile to the Washington Monument. This was far bigger than a handful of right wing extremists like CNN and MSNBC would have you believe. There may well have been some right wing extremists there but I didn’t personally meet any and I spent my day walking around and talking to as many people as I could.

The most captivating moment for me happened at the end of the march as I made my way toward the entrance point at the Capital where the rally was to take place. There was a quite elderly couple standing quietly at the gate. They were dressed very nicely – both in suits. They had a sign next to them that said ‘We Survived the Depression, Raised 5 Children and Never Took a Penny From the Government’. What caught my eye, at the bottom of the sign, was her name. She was a Captain in the Army during World War II and was a nurse. I dare say that this woman has seen and lived more of life than almost anyone I know. I stopped and took her hand.  I said ‘thank you for coming today’. She took my hand in both of hers and in a very soft and sweet voice said ‘You’re welcome, honey. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world’. That America has slipped away from us. Let’s bring it back.