The White House has a message to the tens of thousands of protesters who railed against big government during a rally in Washington Saturday: You’re wrong.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the protesters, part of the “tea party” movement, do not represent the views of the broader public when it comes to health care reform.
“I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood,” Axelrod said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “You know, I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they’re wrong.”
Dear Mr. Axelrod,
You don’t know me, but that hasn’t stopped you from casting judgement on me. You say I’m “wrong” and that I don’t represent the views of the “broader” public. Which makes me wonder, do you have any idea who you are speaking to? Did you even take five minutes to look at the faces of the people in the crowds marching on your turf on Saturday?
Let me give you a glimpse.
I am a stay at home mother of four. My husband works in the computer industry. His company probably made some very large contributions to your boss’ election campaign. We live in a part of Virginia that according to your polls is somewhat “Blue”. We have never participated in a protest before.
(Oh wait, I take that back. When I was about nine, my mom took me to a “no nukes” rally in Seattle. My parents (all 3 of them) are raging liberals.)
Have I messed with your concept of demographics yet? Oh wait, there’s still the “astroturf” and “brooks brothers” tripe you’ve fed the media this summer.
How’s this for Grass Roots: I found the rally on facebook. And how’s this for “Brooks Brothers”: I made my own T-shirt. As did my husband and my 14 year old daughter.
I really liked mine, it was a quote from James Madison – you might remember him Mr. Axelrod, he was our 4th president and is considered the Father of that document you love to stomp all over, the Constitution. He said, “Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant.” Which I thought was rather apropos, given your friend Rahm’s famous quote.
My husband chose a quote from Margaret Thatcher: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Oops. He used that word. Socialism. How dare he point out that your friend Obama wants to spread the wealth around. Obviously he forgot that it’s no longer okay to point out the obvious, here in the Land of Hope and Change.
My daughter, who has a mind of her own and never does anything because someone else told her to (most especially her parents!) found this quote, from her rock idol, Kurt Cobain: “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” Ouch. Bet you never thought the youth of America might wake up and catch on to what you guys are doing. She’s supposed to be in the “broader public”, swooning over handsome Barack and trusting in him to give her everything she needs. Unfortunately for you and the President, my daughter – like many teens – can think for herself. And she’s also a voracious reader. Her current favorite author? George Orwell. Which is why she made this sign to carry in the march:
My younger children came along mostly as an educational exercise. I wanted them to see what Freedom of Speech looks like. I wanted them to understand what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said, “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?”
We arrived in DC hours before the March was scheduled to begin. Apologies to Al Gore, but we drove. See, it’s a lot more economical for us to park all day for $7 than to pay for 6 metro passes. Also, you know, it’s swine flu season, and as you’ll remember everybody’s favorite Vice President, the man your boss chose to succeed him, advised Americans, “I would tell members of my family — and I have — that I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now.”
We parked and walked a few blocks to Freedom Square two hours before the start of the march and found a crowd so big it was spilling out of the square and into the surrounding streets. We couldn’t even see the stage where the speakers were – just hundreds (or more likely thousands) of people, and a sea of homemade signs.
Not long after we got to Freedom Square an announcement was made that the march was starting early. The DC police insisted, because there were too many people in the square. The crowd was so large, it was causing safety and traffic issues in the area.
Now before you leap to the conclusion that safety issues = unruly crowd, let me clear something up. The people at that rally were there for a purpose. They were serious about the cause of liberty. But they were not ANGRY. Well, okay, they were angry at your boss and his friends in congress, but they weren’t CRANKY. In fact, it was one of the friendliest crowds I’ve seen in a long time. People were polite and smiling and patient with one another. You know what we were? Energized. Excited. Happy to FINALLY have a voice, when for far too long we have been pushed aside and ignored.
And so we marched. People of all ages and backgrounds, united in one thing – our desire for liberty. What that looks like to everyone isn’t exactly the same. In fact, there were some people there I didn’t really agree with. For instance, I have no desire to vote for Ron Paul. Also I think comparing your boss to Hitler is not a productive thing to do. (Though let’s be honest, we all know most of those Obama-as-Hitler signs are wielded by members of the LaRouche Party… not Conservatives.) And some signs I thought were too graphic – the ones where Obama’s face is made to look like the Joker’s (they did the same to Bush, so let’s not pretend it’s a “racist” thing, K?). The ones with graphic pictures of granny dying because Obama is lying. I covered my younger kids’ eyes for those signs. But they were a tiny tiny minority of the signs we saw that day.
Most of the signs were pithy and funny, simple and to the point. “Joe Wilson Was Right.” “Czars Czuck”. “Democrat Against Obamacare.” (Uh Oh David! How’d that person get in there? Aren’t they supposed to be in your broader public?) Many of the signs were mini-lessons in history and our constitution. You know it’s a great educational outing when your kids are asking you “What’s the tenth ammendment?”
When we got to the Capitol building, two hours before the big rally was set to begin (due to the early start of the march), the lawn was already packed. Having four kids with us, we decided to hang out at the small park across from the staging area. From there we could (mostly) hear the speakers and watch as the people continued to stream in. There was a steady stream of people completing their march for the next two hours. At one point my son and I decided to go get a closer look at the stage, and found we could not even get through the crowd, it was packed so tightly. When my eight year old had to answer nature’s call, the line for the porta-jons was nearly an hour long. I tell you this because I know that you and your friends in the media want very badly to minimize how many people were gathered in DC on Saturday. Even with images like these, you try to say there were only “scores” or “thousands” … even Fox News sticks with “tens of thousands.” Well, I was there. And I’m looking at the pictures. The very least you could accurately say is “HUNDREDS of thousands.” More accurate? “A million strong.”
So Mr. Axelrod, you may want to minimize what happened Saturday. You and your boss can try to brush us off, or say we are “coarsening” the “political dialogue“. But when you do, you are only fooling yourselves. For all the hundreds of thousands of us who rallied on Saturday, there are hundreds of thousands (or day I say – millions?) more who were there with us in spirit. And when those 2010 elections come around, you and your boss and all his friends in congress are going to find out just how WRONG you are.