9-12-2009: Conservatives March on Washington
It’s been an amusing but nonetheless predictable experience watching the news coverage of this past Saturday’s march on our nation’s capital. That the leftist media establishment has chosen to minimize or ignore this event of monumental significance really shouldn’t be surprising. After all, these protesters descended on Washington sans any central leadership or organizing figure. It was love of country and respect for the founding principles of our republic that drove these ordinary citizens from across the country to converge on the Washington Mall this day. They came to show their outrage at the policies being advanced by the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress.
This was a true grassroots uprising if ever there was one. I know. I was there. I witnessed it. It was exhilarating, wonderful, and a stunning rebuke to the most leftist group of legislators and executives ever to hold power in our nation’s history. Some have argued that Obama rode a wave of mindless, irrational euphoria to victory last November under the campaign slogan “Yes We Can”. We had come to deliver an entirely different message to our civil servants: NO, YOU WON’T.
Though the train from Arlington was packed with protesters carrying placards and wearing T-shirts bearing anti-Obama/anti-big government slogans, it wasn’t until I exited the Metro system at Federal Triangle that the true magnitude of the gathering became evident. As my train came to a stop and the doors opened, another train on the adjacent track arrived from the opposite direction, and a massive throng poured out onto the platform cheering, high-fiving one another, and completely engulfing the multiple escalators that carried us up to street level. Every age group was represented, from young parents with small children in strollers, to teenagers, to senior citizens in their 70s and 80s.
Once we emerged onto the street, I could see that the crowd filled the entire width of Pennsylvania Avenue, stretching in one solid, unbroken line from Freedom Plaza where I stood, all the way to the Capitol building. Even the police along the route appeared to be stunned at the size of the crowd.
Something else struck me – the civility of the demonstrators. This was no wild, unruly, rock-throwing, mob. On the contrary, people stood and marched in polite and respectful solidarity with one another. Police, firemen, retired military, truck drivers, business owners, students, parents, grandparents, doctors, lawyers, management professionals, and those from countless other walks of life. All of them here to show opposition to a radical leftist agenda that now dominates Washington and threatens to destroy the country we know, remaking it into something entirely unrecognizable and antithetical to its original founding principles.
While some have attempted to portray this as a completely non-partisan crowd, nothing could be further from the truth. This crowd most certainly DID have an ideological point of view, and it was decidedly anti-Obama, anti-Democrat and anti-Left. As Rush Limbaugh commented on Tuesday, this was undeniable evidence of a conservative ascendancy. It was as anti-Left, pro-Liberty and free-market capitalism, anti-big government as you could get, and when the crowd finally dispersed, the Mall was left just as we found it, not strewn with litter and debris. By dusk there was nary a sign of what had happened only a few short hours before.
How can the Democrats and the sycophantic media establishment acknowledge this without admitting that principled opposition and valid alternatives exist to their stated agenda? They can’t. And they won’t. I heard estimates of the crowd size ranging from “tens of thousands” to “a few hundred thousand”, but from where I stood, I’d say that a more accurate approximation would be between 1 and 1.5 million. The BBC reported that the crowd may have reached 2 million, which would place it among the largest crowds ever assembled on the National Mall – possibly even exceeding the Obama inauguration. All I can say is that standing on the Capitol lawn facing the Washington monument the crowd filled the Mall and the streets bordering it from there almost all the way to the obelisk. Take a look at the photos I took for yourself. You be the judge.
(Editor’s Note: We’ll be sharing more of Mark Koenig’s photos over the next few days.)