“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson
09.12.09 – Some are calling it the beginning of the Second American Revolution. Yet the hope is (for now at least) that this “revolution” will be fought with words rather than guns; on the battlefield of ideas rather than in bunkers all across the fruited plain.
I, for one, was there – a witness to history. I’m still trying to figure out the progression of events that led to me to the west lawn of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., at precisely 12:12 p.m. on 09.12.09. I am a 34 year-old American; a father of 3; a small business owner; and a husband to the most ordinary-in-mind, yet extraordinary-in-thought, woman in the world. I graduated from a small high school, grinded my way to an undergraduate degree; suffered through 3 long years of law school; lived in Missouri my entire life; and, somehow, someway, on 09.12.09, I found myself there – in our nation’s capital – standing face-to-face with hundreds of thousands of Americans, unified in purpose and message: “Don’t Tread on Me.”
It was amazing; historic; momentous; unbelievable and indescribable. In fact, at one point during the march from Freedom Plaza to Capitol Hill, I sent out a “tweet” from my phone: “I literally have no words to describe this right now.” Even now, I’m not sure that I do…or ever will. And yet, when it was over, and we had returned to our hotel room, anxious to view the “postgame” coverage on all the news channels, it was as if nothing at all had happened. Feverishly flipping through the cable channels and local news stations to find something – anything – about this unprecedented march, it was as if it had all been a dream, a sweet escape from the realities of the harsh condition which has befallen us. But, I was there! I witnessed it with my own eyes – the passion, the resolve and the sheer determination of hundreds of thousands of individuals acting as one: “e pluribus unum.”
My first reaction was one of disdain and disappointment: “Here we go again…the ‘mainstream media’ buries another story that doesn’t promote and advance its agenda.” Disgusted and defeated, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel; but then, the strangest thing happened. I went to dinner with my wife and met up with some fellow 912 marchers and began to discuss the day’s events. Before we knew it, others in the restaurant were overhearing our conversations; we were overhearing theirs; the bartender was asking questions about ‘all of these people’ who had invaded his city: “What was this all about?” he asked. “Let me show you our pictures,” we said. “Wait a second,” the others replied, “take a look at ours.” We ate, we drank, we exchanged stories, photos, videos, and before the night was over, people from other tables wanted to join in the conversation. College football games dominated the televisions; Serena Williams dropped F-Bombs at the U.S. Open; the NFL season was set to kick off the next day; it was Saturday night; and nobody wanted to talk about anything but “this movement.”
The next day (09.13.09), before boarding a plane to head back to Missouri, my wife and I decided to “do the touristy thing” and take in a few sites. We took the long stroll up to the Lincoln Memorial and spent some time reflecting on our Sixteenth President’s words which are literally engraved in stone on the walls of one of the greatest monuments in the world. I had been there before. I had read Lincoln’s words on numerous occasions. But, on this date – at this moment – these words from his Gettysburg Address jumped out and jolted me:
“that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
I think it was at that moment that my revelation occurred – this is no longer about Democrat vs. Republican; Left vs. Right; Liberal vs. Conservative; or Blue vs. Red. This is about We the People vs. Them. This is about liberty vs. tyranny. This is about a “sleeping giant” who has been poked and prodded one too many times by an overreaching, overly intrusive federal government and we…have…had…ENOUGH! Don’t Tread on Me!
So to all you politicians, whether Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative – in the words of President Obama, “Let me be clear” –
“We the People” are done with broken promises; we are done with bailouts; we are done with so-called “stimulus packages;” we are done with you making a career out of being a politician; we are done with you mortgaging our children’s future in order to buy votes to get re-elected; we are done with you creating one set of rules for us and a different set for you; we are done with you apologizing to the rest of the world for America being America; we are done with you calling us “uneducated,” “uninformed,” and “ignorant;” we are done with you not having to balance your checkbook the same way we have to balance ours; and most importantly, we are done with you pitting us against each other! At the end of the day, we are all Americans, and we are sick of your games. We refuse to play. We will start a new game with our rules.
My revelation is that the revolution has begun. All of this talk of “hope” and “change” – I have finally come to realize that WE are the HOPE; and we ARE the CHANGE. We the People are the ones who will give “new birth to freedom.” No one in Washington can do it – not Barack Obama; not any Democrat; not any Republican; not the media – only us. You and me. With each day that passes, Democrats and Republicans are becoming more and more irrelevant. The “press” is becoming obsolete. They are being replaced by talk radio, internet bloggers, twitter and other social media outlets. They (a) think we’re too stupid to figure out on our own what’s really going on; and (b) are only concerned about their own financial security and advancement. Why do you think they spend so much time looking down their noses and demeaning all of these mediums? Why do you think they try to ignore hundreds of thousands of Americans converging on our nation’s capital to say “we have had enough”?
I still do not understand the progression of events that led me to Washington on 09.12.09. I still cannot comprehend the historical significance of what I witnessed. But I do know this – my wife and I arrived home on Sunday evening, 09.13.09, just in time to kiss our children and put them to bed. As we walked through the door, my 3 year-old came bursting down the hallway, jumped into my arms and said, “Where were you, daddy? I missed you!” I squeezed her tightly and kissed her on the head as I replied, “Mommy and daddy were in Washington, baby.”
“Why were you in Washington, daddy?” she said.
“For you, baby. For you.”
To view footage of the 912 March on Washington, go to: http://www.politicalmommentary.com