Tuesday, September 15, 2009

912 Personal Accounts

This will be a collection of stories recounting 912.

One Account.
There was some anger yesterday, there was a lot of frustration, but mostly there was a multitude of Americans determined to have their voices heard. I am talking about people of all colors. I am talking about people with long hair, short hair, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, conservatives, cops, teachers,college students, grandmas, grandpas, great grandmas, moms, dads and kids.......

A Second Account
The excitement was tangible, preparing for the most important trip of my life to this point. This was not a vacation, and it wasn’t going to feel like one, either. My dad, my boss, and I were gearing up for an exhaustive amount of traveling. We were going to Washington, DC, to show them we are not going to put up with big (and intrusive) government or a new American brand of Socialism. Period........

Third Account
(includes pix)
Arrived at the Vienna Metro station in Fairfax shortly after 9:00 AM to take the train into town. When we arrived, the lines for the ticket dispensers were huge, extending far into the parking lots on both sides of the station.

Fourth and Fifth Accounts
I am still stunned from the march yesterday.....I looked up Pennsylvania Avenue and was blown away. It was filled from the White House to the Capitol, a distance of 1.5 miles.I’ve been to a lot of demonstrations in Washington, starting with the anti war protests in the 1960s, and I have never seen anything like this. From ground level it was impossible to guess the numbers of people.

Sixth Account
I made a point to walk to the highest point of the hill and look out and you could not see the end. The stream line of signs ran from Capital Hill to the White House and on the over side from Capital Hill to Union Station. This was as far as one can see.

I will add more accounts as I find them.........don't forget to read my post on this amazing day, right below this one.

Seventh Account
Since we were there, Congress seems different. Maybe it was us. Maybe the pendulum is swinging. Whatever it is, the Dems seem less hostile and snarky to us Astroturfers, and the GOP seems to have gotten a spine.
What no one seems to understand is that all the photos, and all the counts, and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty back together again.
We are the tip of the iceburg. We are awake. We aren’t going away. We aren’t going to let up. A whole bunch of us read Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, and we don’t have anything else to do. Grandma and Grampa have money. Great Grandma and Grandpa don’t want to get snuffed. And our grandkids don’t want to pay for this.
And here is the real scary part. We loved it. Next time we’re bringing some friends. If they didn’t hear us then, just wait. They will.
What is that song Tom Petty sang after 9/11? And we won’t back down….

Eighth Account
Being there all by myself was terrific, in some ways.......when you are a party of one, you can slip into small places, and this was necessary the day of the 912 March....in order to get anywhere close to the action. I really had NO IDEA that people were going to show up in large numbers. The morning of, I did not hurry to get downtown, and I remember wondering if I would find a big crowd, or if it was going to be more of a bust.

So I was really amazed at the number of Americans who came out.......I got into the march line and headed down PA Ave, and when I got to the end, it was packed in the area leading up to the Capitol grounds. I was frustrated having to walk behind slow moving people....to snake around wherever it is that the police wanted us to go.......so I just stepped over some kind of a fence and got right onto the grounds. I maybe was not supposed to do that, but there was no one stopping me, and I did not realize until a couple of days ago that I was probably breaching a barrier I was not supposed to cross. I read that they were letting 80,000 into the immediate grounds, and after that, no one else gets in, unless someone leaves. So since I made it inside, I guess they actually had 80,001!

And then when I got in, I chose not to get too comfortable. I mostly just kept moving to get different vantage points. There would have been no way to do this with a big group of people. I feel like I really saw a lot more of the place than many who parked themselves in chairs or on steps and were then afraid to get up and lose their spots.........I just wanted to soak up what was going on everywhere I could manage to get to. The only limits were my eventual exhaustion, and the fact that the stage area was packed for so far back, you seriously could not see the stage or the speakers. I remember getting close enough to THINK I was seeing the stage. One of the speakers seemed to have a huge head, and I thought that was so strange. When the next person also had a big head, I realized I was not looking at the stage, but was looking at a video screen. I really never even found the stage..........I felt like I was close to the Capitol, but that stage, which was between me and the Capitol, had to be very very far away from me.

My exhaustion kept me from going to the mall, and that is the only part I really regret. I wish I had gotten close enough to see that from ground level. I am told there were people all the way back to the Washington Monument.........I could see the grassy area was clear......but people were telling me that people were crowding under the trees, This I would not have been able to view from my spot near the statues at the Capitol Reflecting Pond. Later I learned that the grass was reserved for other events, and that is why that grassy area was empty.

Throughout the day, I was able to stop and talk with whoever, whenever, and I could eat when I needed to, and there was no one to annoy with my photo stops, either. So I really did just love the day. It was only at the end, that I realized that it would have been terrific to talk with a group of attendees over dinner. I had heard that Andrew Wilkow was going to address a group at a dinner over in Virginia. I REALLY would have liked to have been there for that! But I had forgotten to look up the group, had forgotten the name of the hotel, and had not followed through to find out if I could even get to that particular hotel by metro, or even if it was possible for me to attend. If I was not so darn tired, I would have asked around and figured it out. But heading back to take a shower seemed like the most important thing in the world at that point.

Something to tell the grandkids, my attendance at 912. Even when I was there, and could see it was huge, I really did not think of it as a history making thing. But now I really suspect that it was. No matter how the media has tried to minimize the size of it, Congress KNOWS and things are going to be different from now on. ACORN got defunded this week, for example. The changes may be big or the changes may be subtle, but we have been heard.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The March on Washington

I was there! It was an incredible day. I took the metro from Friendship Heights towards Metro Center. The trains were ABSOLUTELY packed when I got there about 9:30 AM. I met some really nice patriots on the ride. When we disembarked, no one really knew where to go.......because everyone was from out of town. One lady had come from Texas and had flown in last night just for the event. We all got out at the Metro Center stop. Some people wanted to get on another line and go to the next stop. But the trains were packed on this line as well, so I wished them luck and went off on my own, figuring I would really rather just walk the few blocks. I wandered up into Macy's and decided to stop for the restroom. There was a long line there, and everyone in that line was sporting patriotic T-shirts and carrying flags. Pretty cool to be surrounded everywhere by people who GET IT.

I found the exit and ended up on 13th street, I think, and walked only one block before finding myself in a throng of people. I could not stop smiling; I just started soaking it all in. I headed down to Freedom Plaza and I could not believe the size of the crowd. And the Patriots just kept coming and coming and coming, carrying incredibly clever and creative signs, once again, just as we always do at our tea parties! I found the National Theatre at 10:30 and saw no SGP shirts there, and no ladies assembling. I had hoped to meet up with members of Smart Girl Politics who I have been talking to for many months online. It was early for the SGP meeting, which was to occur at 11:00 AM, before the march.

But it was soon obvious that the march had already begun. There was a podium and a lady with a loudspeaker was telling us that we had to start the march early because there were just too many people to be held at Freedom Plaza, which is an area of a pretty fair size. I decided to just mill along with the crowd in the direction of the Capitol Building, because I did not know if the SGP plans would be changing due to the early marching. So down Pennsylvania Avenue I went, with my camera, snapping pics all the way, and chanting "you lie, you lie" at times and singing patriotic songs. Whenever someone saw one of the several Joe Wilson for President signs, they would break out in that "you lie, you lie" chant.

We would erupt in random cheering every so often. This happened when we came upon the Newseum, which has the text of the First Amendment etched all up and down the side of the building in massive letters.

When we got close to the Capitol Building, I stopped at the East Wing of the National Art Gallery for another pit stop. I found lines of patriots streaming in to the building for the same reason I had come. We helped each other avoid long lines by relaying to each other where other sets of restrooms were. It was just one of those terrific teaparty days where everyone is in it together and being nice and helpful to each other to make things go more smoothly.

I came out again and headed into a very crowded area, trying to get close to the Capitol, and was routed here and there by the police. Finally I got close to the reflecting pool, and found it SURROUNDED by concerned Americans. It was so heartwarming! There were some steps there next to the pond, which would have been lovely to park myself on, but I really felt I needed to move around and see more of what was happening. Being just me and my camera, moving through a very thick crowd was do-able, and I went for it, hoping to get closer to get some better shots. Things were almost at a standstill for about a half hour, with streams of people trying to move in while others were trying to move out, and no one going anywhere too fast. but I finally got through that bottleneck, and found myself between the Capitol and the reflecting pool. Here I did indeed sit on another set of steps for awhile, as it was a good place to be able to hear the speakers. I sat with some ladies and when we got to talking I realized that though they had come together, they had not known each other prior to today. We all stood and sang the National Anthem, but we were singing too fast, and kept having to wait for the singer to catch up! I shouted out a very loud O at the appropriate time, but found no other takers. Apparently there were not many Baltimore natives in that particular section of the crowd! Then I pulled out an apple and some nuts I had brought. There was not a lot of food to be had in that heavy crowd, and it was going to be insane to leave the area to look for food, so I was glad I had brought my own.

Eventually someone nearby told me that she had been over near the botanical garden in search of restrooms and had seen that much of the mall was covered with people. She thought I ought to get a picture of that....with my big fancy camera, lol...so I headed that way to see what I could see. I did not wish to cross the reflecting pool again, so I had to depend on my not so young eyes for information. It looked to me as though there was green grass on the mall after a bit of a crowd, so this made me think that the grounds were not covered all the way back to the Washington Monument, as had been reported............but others were saying that under the trees, there were people back as far as you could see. I just don't know for sure. It was largely a cloudy day, but when the sun was out, it would have been nicer to be under the trees, I am sure.

I just kept moving around. It really is handy to go to one of these things all by yourself, because you can just go where you like when you like.....and I really appreciated the ability to see the event from MANY different angles. I finally did wend my way around to right in front of the stage, and that was a prime spot, though I was dozens of rows back and could not actually see where the stage was. To get there, I passed by a large group of people holding a huge flag perpendicular to the ground. That made for some nice pic opportunities, AND it made for a shaded underneath, where there were kids lying down out of the sun. Pretty cool stuff.

There were two large video screens, and I was able to see some of the speakers on a part of one of these. They were not installed very high, so they were hard to see over all those people! There were SO MANY speakers. It was great to hear from Jim De Mint and it was heartbreaking to hear from a man who had his car dealership stolen from him by Obama and his pick-the-winner ideology. Betsy McCaughey spoke about health care, as she has on the Mark Levin show....... boy is she a terrific speaker! I already knew that she knows her stuff, but I had most assuredly not expected such a rousing speech from her!

The Ray Charles version of America the Beautiful brought more than a few tears to my eye, as it always does. Lloyd Marcus was there and performed a good song. He is not African American, he told us, he is American! But he was far from the only minority who spoke. It was great to see so many Asians in the crowd, as well as representatives of other minorities.

When the event ended, I headed back to Metro Center and had a lot of nice conversations with quite a few people on the long walk to get there. One nice lady told me she had come on one of FIVE buses from her section of Delaware. That is a lot of buses for a tiny state! It was on this walk that I saw my first counterprotestor. He was standing in a pile of trash next to the trash can, holding a handwritten sign which said "SUPPORT POTUS". Why he was standing IN hte trash, I can't say. I almost wanted to ask him if this was a sarcastic display, and not a sincere sentiment. But I could not think of a way to do that nicely. Later, there were two young boys, the elder being 17, who were carrying Pro Obama signs and who wanted to engage us in dialog. A number of us did stop to talk, and were trying to make them understand what Obamacare will really be like. One of the men speaking to them said that we are doing this for the benefit of the young people, so that they can enjoy the freedoms we have had. Another pointed out to them that they are well intentioned, but they need to read and to learn before they protest any more. I suggested to the boys that they read Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny. Then I headed for the metro. When I found it, the trains were packed yet again, and stayed packed until after my stop. But just as I was about to get off, a young man who had been standing there the entire time was curious where we had all been. "Protesting something?" he wondered. We said yes.....and he asked if it was health care. Someone said that health care was not the entire issue, and he queried, with the slightest smirk, if we had been protesting that "whole constellation of Glenn Beck issues". WOW.

Glenn Beck is entertaining, but I don't know what his whole constellation of issues is, and I surely did not attend the march because of Glenn Beck, or because of any other person or organization. I explained that we want responsible spending, we are supporters of the Constitution and that we want to start following our roots again. I pointed out that our country is no longer a free market, and that our problems therefore, can't possibly be due to out of control capitalism, but rather, must be due to governmental interference. Therefore we want smaller government. I capped this all off by saying that we want a return to freedom!

And then, mindful of his smirk, I recounted a Gandhi quote for all those standing around me on the subway train:

First they ignore us. Then they laugh at us. Then they fight us. Then we WIN!