People had tea bags pinned to their clothing. Small flags waved. I saw Harley t-shirts, American Legion caps, cowboy boots and designer handbags. The faces were unfamiliar, but I felt like I'd known them all my life.
Retired couples stood hand in hand, some of them settled on park benches. Moms brought their young children. Citizens of all ages and backgrounds stood in front of our county's courthouse for our local TEA Party, proclaiming protests and holding homemade signs. The phrases were all different but the messages were the same.
Listen up, Big Brother. We the People are not happy.
Someone took the stage- a trailer of hay bales parked behind a GM pick-up truck.
We prayed. Right there. In front of a government building.
Then a man stood and led us all in the pledge of allegiance to our flag. Men removed their hats, we placed our hands on our hearts, and joined together in a sacred promise. My country's flag waved in the New Mexico wind and it was in that moment that I knew I was part of something. Something big. Something small, but something.
Speakers began to take the mic.
No more big spending.
We're taxed enough.
Stop signing bills you haven't read.
I've paid my taxes, Congressman. Have you?
We signed petitions. We wrote messages to Washington with Sharpie pens on massive posters.
Not a single person burned a flag or a bra or a poster of a public figure. No one yelled obscenities (not that I heard.) People were opinionated, very opinionated. People spoke with passion but no one was violent or obscene.
No one was anti-American.
Instead, they spoke against the path their country is on, the methods their government is using and the arrogance their officials display. Someone quoted Reagan, then Jefferson, then Lincoln. We clapped and cheered. Some of us even hooted and hollered.
It was a protest against big government spending. It was a demonstration for so much more- for freedom, capitalism, fair taxation, life, liberty, fiscal responsibility, our troops, our veterans, our children, and our future.
Within an hour, the rally was over. I left with a new spring in my step. I am not alone. There are people out there who think like me, who still believe in their country even when they are disappointed in their country's leadership.
This entire post is probably sounding a bit sappy but there's really no other way to share this. I'm just being honest.
This morning there are bloggers and reporters who want you to believe that the majority of the protesters at these TEA Parties were irrational and dangerous. I am sure that there were some out there who acted inappropriately, but I think they are the small minority.
I'm glad that there are still people who are willing to stand up for something. Today I made a promise to myself, to my own child and to my country, to stand with them.
If that makes me a radical, or just plain nuts, so be it. Besides, I didn't need Homeland Security to tell me I'm nuts. I already knew that.
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." - Thomas Jefferson