America Awakes: Reflections on 9/12 (Part II)
What brought the tea partiers together was their love of freedom and individual liberty and need for action. And it was inspiring. (Read Part 1 here)
September 30, 2009 - 12:49 am
Speaking of racism, it would never have occurred to me to count the number of non-whites in attendance. It’s what leftists do to score points in a phony game of “open-mindedness” that is popular among white snobs. But next time, I may be forced to do just that, if only to debunk the absurd allegation that the tea party movement is built on white racism. I didn’t look for black people in the rally; they were simply standing there with their signs when I was passing by with my camera. They didn’t come there as a token “minority group,” nor did they stand apart “representing” their race. Each one of them showed up as an individual, as did all the other responsible owners of this country who rose to protest the erosion of individual liberties regardless of their ethnicity.
This brings up an important facet of American life which took me a while to understand, and with which certain “progressive” Americans still have trouble coming to grips. America is not a race. We are not an ethnicity, nor do we require a formal kind of citizenship. It is the idea of individual liberty and the rule of law embodied in the American Constitution which unites people regardless of their origins. And if you embrace it with all your heart and are willing to defend it in the face of adversity and danger, you are an American. But if you wish to abandon or destroy it — sorry, you don’t deserve to be called an American even if you were born here.
The only racist rhetoric I heard that day came from a black Obama supporter. Standing on the curb on the outskirts of the rally, he screamed angrily at the predominantly white audience that the days of the white race were over and that with a black man in the White House, white people should be readying themselves to suffer the fate of an oppressed minority. Whether his anger was provoked by the media’s misrepresentation of the tea partiers as racists, or he was deliberately trying to provoke a racially-fueled incident, the orator didn’t appear in any way threatened. Nor did he need to be: a few random onlookers tried to argue with him rationally, but most shrugged him off as a nutcase and moved on.
Despite the accusations of being an “angry mob” thrown at them by Democratic politicians, the tea partiers — many of whom wore shirts with the words “this is what an angry mob looks like” — exhibited an exemplary peaceful behavior; not a single arrest was made. Unlike the leftist protesters who by and large claim to be for clean environment but always leave piles of trash after themselves, the protesting taxpayers left immaculately clean lawns and deposited their trash in designated areas. At the end of the rally I witnessed a scene where a splinter group of the departing “angry mob” actually waved at the passing police officers and thanked them for their service. And why not? If they “owned the dome,” they also owned the police. It is they whom the officers serve. They pay for that service with their taxes.
This is the exact opposite of the attitude of leftist protesters whom I have seen throwing bottles at the police and calling the officers pigs and Nazis without provocation. This contrasting behavior is perhaps the best illustration of the philosophical differences between the two types of protester.
It is the difference between the responsible property owner and the quarrelsome delinquent tenant. And I don’t mean tenants who have become temporarily broke due to unfortunate circumstances. I mean the “permanently offended” bully type, the fully capable but unproductive malcontent who resorts to righteous belligerence to obfuscate his own moral shortcomings that prevent him from paying rent. He litigates and finds a million excuses for his desire to live off someone else’s dime.
Political rogues have learned to spot such delinquents and recruit them into subversive pressure groups they deceptively call “community organizations,” which they use to infiltrate a building management. As it were, the new managers have recently declared the loud-mouth non-payers the “rightful owners” of the property and are now changing the rules and redistributing the apartments. And when the real owners have finally cried foul, they are dismissed as a hateful mob, with Obama condescendingly explaining their actions as trying “to get 15 minutes of fame” by being rude.
Blaming the government for failing to cater to their urges, leftist protesters demand to expand government powers to a level where the state becomes a charitable organization with the purpose of pursuing people’s happiness for them, according to the misconstrued “promise” of the Constitution. This, of course, is an unachievable goal, but the “progress” towards its fulfillment is guaranteed to limit everyone’s freedoms and saddle the producers with a crushing tax burden.
Protesters on the right are the actual producers whom the leftists intend to fleece. They refuse to finance doomed utopian schemes and subsidize their own destruction. In spite of the leftist misnomer, they are not “anti-government.” They value legitimate government services — the courts, law enforcement, and the military — and are willing to pay for them. But they are skeptical of the government as a charitable organization, well aware that it comes with increased controls and the subjugation of the individual to the state. Jealous of their freedoms, they believe that charity should be a private choice and that happiness is best pursued far away from the government apparatus.
The primal urge behind the leftist protest is the irrational, all-or-nothing tantrum of an ignorant, spoiled brat who demands unearned respect and entitlements no matter the cost. In contrast, the right-wing protest is based on the rational, informed skepticism of a working, paying adult who can take care of himself, is charitable enough to help others, and wise enough to discipline the brat when charity is being abused.
But there is a third factor: the political elites who mistakenly believe they are the actual owners of this country. That is why the idea of redistributing America’s wealth comes so easily to them. They view the real owners as an insignificant nuisance. Such an error in judgment may cost them dearly in the next election, despite their ties to the media and the fraudulent “community organizations.” Should they prevail, however, their error may become fatal to the country as a whole, as it will ruin the engine that powers America. The choice is painfully clear, now more than ever before.
As the tea party was winding up, El Marco hurried back to the hotel, anxious to make an early report. I still lingered, long after my camera batteries petered out and there was no one left except the police and a few residual onlookers who, like me, couldn’t get enough. I knew that the magnitude of a historic event is better judged from a distance. But I couldn’t shake off the feeling that the importance of what I had just witnessed would not diminish with time.
Once again my friend worked late into the night editing photos and writing commentary, as I lay stretched in the hotel bed with a bottle of Sam Adams, watching Fox News on mute, and once in a while adding my two cents to his work. His blog post ended up being one of the first and the best original reports from the rally. It was almost immediately linked by major conservative websites including Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, who couldn’t resist quoting a line from one of the photos: “Kiss my Astroturf!”
Over the next few days, mailing enthusiasts across the country transformed El Marko’s photo essay into a series of chain mails that, as of this writing, still continues to spread through America’s inboxes in geometric progression. I received quite a few of them myself. Most such mailings contained no attribution or link but had traces of multiple forwarding, changed titles, and various alterations and additions to the original comments — all signs of an instant classic.
National media’s refusal to cover the event seems to have been entirely compensated by my friend, whose work rose to the level of proverbial history-in-the-making journalism. Attaching a face to the world’s largest taxpayer protest, his photographs have already been seen by millions of people in the United States and around the world. Blog statistics have picked up a heightened interest from Europe: the Old World can still look to America for inspiration.
The “mainstream” media will never admit it in a smug tone reserved for leftist malcontents, but I know it and you know it.
That day we made history.