Saturday, July 19, 2008

Travelogue: Roadtrippin' for Freedom

Me and my buddy Kyle departed from home Thursday morning, July 10th. Our destination was our nation’s capitol, Washington DC. Like many others across America this past weekend, we were packing up and heading out to show our support for Presidential candidate, Ron Paul and the ideas he represents.

The budget was tight, but we managed to get our money’s worth out of the trip. Fortunately my brother and his family recently moved to Arlington, Virginia just down the road from the Capital.

With the Freedom March being Saturday morning, and only a 13 hour drive in front of us, we were able to spend all of Friday touring DC. We made sure to hit up the Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR (only by accident) memorials, as well as the American Portrait Gallery.

Oh, and we managed to find our way to the front steps of our beloved Federal Reserve headquarters and participate in a good old fashioned protest. There were probably 50 or so of us adorned in monopoly money. Most of us were Ron Paul supporters who were making the most of being in town a day early. So it was nice to meet and chat with some like-minded people. We actually ran into our good friend Dan Tucker, the excellent meet-up group leader we met while attending school in his hometown of St. Petersburg, FL.

We were out the door by nine Saturday morning, with my brother Reed driving us down to the northwest corner of the Washington Monument. In an ode to ingenuity, we spent the following hour working on our make shift sign for the march with a Sharpie and a shower curtain we picked up in haste the night before.

By 10:30, a serious crowd had taken shape and we were busy making our way to the front of the crowd (because we wanted to be near the bagpipes) to get ready to launch the march.

The crowd started to work itself into a frenzy as we began to envelope Constitution Ave. in waves of twenty or so. There were all sorts of different chants and war cries throughout the stream of thousands. Kyle and I would carry our “Ideas Are Bulletproof” banner with one group advocating something like abolishing the federal reserve, then we’d hang back, take some pictures and join another couple hundred in a different call for freedom. It was a lot fun getting out there and making some noise.

By marches end, over 6,000 Americans had poured onto the front lawn of the Capital. We stayed on that lawn, listening to good music, over a dozen prominent speakers, and sharing ideas and enthusiasm with others, clear until 6 pm.

It was especially interesting to see the range and diversity of people at the rally. In fact, where one might expect to find a bunch of college youth making a ruckus, instead the majority of the crowd was the droves of families that came out.

With a variety of people you get a variety of sights. The spectrum of messages being advocated on people’s shirts and signs were certainly broad. Memorable messages such as, “Legalize the Constitution” and, “Warfare + Welfare = Broke” abounded the field along with a plethora of patriots waving a variety “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. Oh…and I also got a sticker handed to be me with Che’ Guavara wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Awesome.

Ron Paul was our keynote speaker; he covered all the big issues and commended us for our continued energy in the cause, pointing out that we should be proud and aware of our ongoing responsibility to civic duty. As always, he was kind, generous, and witty. It’s always a pleasure to hear him speak. His most present concern seemed to be the escalation of Iran war talk.

The march was an excellent time all around. I’m looking forward to having a similar, if not, better experience at Ron Paul’s convention September 2nd in St. Paul, Minneapolis. We already have reserved a stadium opposite of the GOP’s convention, which holds just over 11,000 capacity. Needless to say, it’s going to be a great big party and all are welcome to join!

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