As reported, I, my wife Kathy, and daughter Susan attended the 9.12.09 DC Tea Party march on the Capitol. I wore a tee shirt with the words; The Smallest Minority: The Individual. Kathy wore a cap with a bold "I" superimposed on the words; The World’s Smallest Minority – along with a matching tote. These are a reference to Ayn Rand’s famous statement in her essay on Racism (see below). And Susan wore a tee shirt that read simply, SHRUG, an obvious reference to Atlas Shrugged.
“[T]he smallest minority in the world is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." (The Virtue of Selfishness, page 154)
Ipresented a full discussion of our plans and my take on the Tea Party movement in my last post, but I just wanted to follow up with some observations.
It was quite an experience. As expected, there were a multitude of opinions and motivations expressed by the crowd and the speakers. But I think there was a common sentiment that united everyone, which can best be expressed by:
“Don’t push me around!!”
I think that that was the most important and encouraging and, potentially, the most significant aspect of the march. But there were other positive observations.
One was the utmost civility of the people. Everyone we encountered was pleasant and respectful. No one we encountered was rude.
I also was amazed by the sheer number of signs. This indicated a high level of motivation, a good sign (no pun intended) for the endurance of the movement.
Another good sign was that there was a lot of anger expressed against the Republican Party and not just to Obama and the Dems. The march, I believe, was primarily an anti-statism message. I did not see or hear President G. W. Bush’s name invoked a single time! As would be expected, Ronald Reagan was mentioned and quoted numerous times. This is good. It’s reflects the realization that Bush was a statist, not a “free market kind of guy”.
Finally, the size of the crowd was huge. It ranged well up Pennsylvania Ave. It was quite a sight looking back from the hill in front of the Capitol back over the masses of people. The lowest estimates were in the tens of thousands, and ranged up to two million. The actual tally likely measured in the mid-hundreds of thousands. The main thing is that the Tea Party movement’s growth trend seems to remain on track.
I also want to stress very strongly my belief that the Tea Party movement is much bigger than the mere physical appearance of so many people. I believe that the millions of Americans who are frustrated and fearful of the statist trend, and who speak out on any level, can rightly call themselves as much Tea Partyers as the attendees.
All in all, the 9.12.09 experience was one to remember, and the three of us are proud to have been direct participants in it.