That’s what the mainstream media and the Obama administration would have you believe. But I was there, and it was huge. I also loved the spirit of these happy warriors, and the sense that, win or lose, we all knew that we were participating in something big.
“We’re in the fight of our lives,” Betsy McCaughey, a patients right activist, who has actually read the 1,000-page plus House health care bill, said at a tea party before the march Saturday. “We don’t want to hear about it,” a liberal friend, who knew I’d been to the march sighed. No, they don’t. They really, really don.t want to listen. A senior White House adviser says we’re “unhealthy.”
“How do you marginalize a significant protest against a politician or policy you sup port?” asks Matt Welch. “Lowball the numbers, then dismiss participants as deranged and possibly dangerous kooks. In the case of Saturday’s massive 9/12 protest in Washington, done and done.”
As many as one million people flooded into Washington for a massive rally organised by conservatives claiming that President Obama is driving America towards socialism.
The size of the crowd – by far the biggest protest since the president took office in January – shocked the White House.
Demonstrators massed outside Capitol Hill after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue waving placards and chanting ‘Enough, enough.’
The London newspaper also captured the flavor of the crowd:
Richard Brigle, 57, a Vietnam veteran, said: ‘It’s going to cost too much money we don’t have.’ Another marcher shouted: ‘You want socialism? Go to Russia!’
Terri Hall, 45, of Florida, said she felt compelled to become political for the first time this year because she was upset by government spending.
‘Our government has lost sight of the powers they were granted,’ she said. She added that the deficit spending was out of control, and said she thought it was putting the country at risk.
Anna Hayes, 58, a nurse from Fairfax County, stood on the Mall in 1981 for Reagan’s inauguration. ‘The same people were celebrating freedom,’ she said. ‘The president was fighting for the people then. I remember those years very well and fondly.’
Saying she was worried about ‘Obamacare,’Hayes explained: ‘This is the first rally I’ve been to that demonstrates against something, the first in my life. I just couldn’t stay home anymore.’
Andrew Moylan, of the National Taxpayers Union, received a roar of approval after he told protesters: ‘Hell hath no fury like a taxpayer ignored.’
I talked to a lot of people who marched. The thing that struck me was that it really was, in a way the anti-Vietnam war march in New York I participated in as a callow youth, a crowd made up of (to borrow from a literary source) “the sorts and conditions of all mankind.” I met a highly educated man from my home state, a man who’d traveled everywhere, and was emotionally embraced by an older woman with a tooth pick in her mouth when I gave her a thumbs up. The news media had to look hard to find vitriolic signs. There are many ordinary folks who rode buses long distances to be here Saturday.
We all seemed to share a sense that, whatever happens to our beloved country, we can no longer afford to remain on the sidelines.
This is a life or death issue.