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A Former Radical Goes Back to the Future at the 9/12 March

The real thrill began when the Metro whooshed into the station -- only the second on the route -- and all the cars were already full, standing room only. A roar of surprise went up from the small crowd and we packed ourselves in like sardines. Out-of-towners, most had never ridden Metro. The ride was slow as the tracks were undergoing maintenance, so by the time we made it to the Federal Triangles stop in D.C., we’d had lots of time to swap news, experiences, opinions, websites, and email addresses.

Then my camera and I were squished through the crowd up the escalator and out into the crisp early autumn air of the city I will always love. The march had to begin early, as the unexpected crowds could not be held at the starting point. My heart leaped, and I literally ran a few blocks up and over to get ahead of the march, grateful for DC’s diagonal streets.

For the next three hours -- from my perch on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then walking around the South Lawn of the Capitol -- I shot a story of hundreds of thousands of people who were not astroturfed, an angry mob, Nazis, or racists. Just ordinary, everyday, people -- our neighbors, families, and friends.

The 245 pictures I published the next day tell one story -- but my own experience adds a postscript that I need to put in words.

The feelings bubbling up from the September 12 crowd had several things in common with the protests I went to so long ago.

There was the amazing sense of belonging -- finding there are so many others who have shucked off the MSM misinformation and know what’s really happening. As black motivational speaker Mason Weaver put it: “Ropes and chains instead of hope and change.”

There was the joy at finding how many of us there are -- and what decent, unpretentious people. There was the added solidarity of knowing that we are who we are in spite of the lies spun about us, a solidarity which only adds more determination.

There was the energy which comes from acting rather than reacting. Speaking truth to power, as the left used to call it when the power was on the other side. (And by the way, it’s time to co-opt their language and stop letting them define us.)

There is the hope that from this mass movement will come some people worthy to lead us. Ours will be a movement not led by radical theorists, elitists, would-be dictators, fear-mongers and race-baiters, nor by the moderates who continue to act like nerdy kids trying to break into the popular crowd, but by those courageous enough to break away from the Washington status quo and speak directly to the people.

As with Sarah Palin, the Alinsky left will try to ruthlessly destroy these voices and these leaders, but this time they will not succeed. This time they pushed it just a little too far. They awoke the proverbial sleeping giant, and we are just beginning to roar.

Take heart, my friends. It’s just beginning to unfold. See you at the next march -- and next time bring your friends!