I had the great opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to be part of the “Exempt America” Rally. The Tea Party Patriots and many other liberty-minded groups were sponsoring the rally and they had gathered “All-Stars” to voice our opposition to the Affordable Care Act and to demand a vote to defund what is commonly called “Obamacare.”
A very generous Patriot subsidized a bus to bring us to the rally. For only $10.00 (round trip!), members of the Tea Party movement could get to this rally. More than fifty of us traveled as a group to the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It was early in the morning when we arrived at Union Station in Washington DC. We gathered at the mall inside Union Station for breakfast and to recover from our long bus ride.
After a little while we headed off. I had never been to Washington D.C. before but I had familiarized myself with maps from Google before we had left. There were plenty of “You-Are-Here” maps and we reached the West Lawn quickly. We found several people there already setting up what would be the stage and camera platforms. I walked up to them and introduced the group and myself. Exhibiting the best in southern hospitality, they warmly shook my hand and acted as if they were impressed that I and my august group had chosen to attend their humble event. I was totally charmed. We set up our table and gathered under some trees on the right hand side of the lawn (where else?). We watched as the stage was assembled and the fences were set up.
Of course, we had left behind some important supplies so a few of us set out to find them. D.C. is an impressive city with much magnificent architecture. But it is not an early rising city. We wandered until we came to a CVS and were able to purchase pens and note books and junk food. Even at the CVS, the people were gracious and kind. We returned to the lawn and it was still some time before the speeches started so we called the Jeff Kuhner Show. It was a funny diversion while we waited.
Tower cranes rose above the skyline, construction was happening everywhere, even the Washington monument was wrapped in scaffolding. Well dressed-people walked hurriedly to make important appointments. If D.C.’s economy is dependent on government instead business, they are none the poorer for it. It seems to be a very prosperous city, from what little I have seen.
Some of us had attended this rally with the goal of introducing as many of our fellow attendees to the “Right to Refuse” Amendment as was possible. It was our fondest wish to enlist these activists into the fight for the only way to permanently stop Obamacare. As the crowd gathered slowly we started introducing ourselves and handing out our literature. When the music swelled and the rally started there were four thousand people on the lawn in the DC heat – over 90 degrees! Even more arrived in as the speeches got underway and they did not stop arriving for the duration of the rally. We walked up and down the lawn talking to everyone shaking hands and passing out our cards. I meet many wonderful people from all across our country. Soon we hand given out all of our literature. Together we had contacted thousands of activists.
All the stars of the movement had come to this rally. Activists and Legislators from all over our country spoke out against the ACA and against funding for Obamacare. Out of all the speeches, Senator Ran Paul's got the most applause. Senator Cruz got the loudest chants of "Run Cruz! Run" when he took his turn at the microphone. All of the speakers were pitch-perfect and there was not any place on the lawn that wasn’t perfect for see and hearing them. The organizers should be proud of their work. It was an exceptionally well run rally.
This was an experience that both energized and drained me. The steamy heat and hazy sun took its toll on me as I worked the crowd. The many hours of bus travel with too few hours of sleep made me stiff and achy. While I was surrounded by friends, I still missed my wife and children. But I would do it all again.
The time on the bus allowed time for real conversations and for strengthening the connections between us. The city of Washington D.C. is a place that every American should go to see. Meeting and talking with other activists filled me with new ideas and new energy. After this wonderful experience I am even more eager for the work that needs doing. I am more certain than ever that the Tea Party movement is the salvation of our republic.
A closing thought: with all of the noteworthy celebrities on the “Exempt America” stage, and the obvious passion of those in the audience, it seems that some Republican Party leaders are misunderstanding what is happening in their party. The Carl Roves of the world may just wake up one morning and find that the party they think they are leading has moved on without them.