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The Price of Liberty

July 13, 2008

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Ron Paul supporters gathered at 9:30 am on Saturday morning to participate in the Campaign for Liberty’s Revolution March. My husband and I drove to the Metro parking lot in Vienna and then we took the Orange Line to the Smithsonian. I didn’t know anyone else so I wasn’t sure if I should go or not, but I think it was a good experience for me. (Since my husband doesn’t have any paid time off from work left after our trip to Peru, our summer vacation trend seems to be exhausting and hot day trips. πŸ™‚ )

One guy, reminding me of Zacchius, climbed into a tree to take photos of the crowd gathering before the march began. It would have been nice to see the crowd from above, because when I was in the middle of everyone I had no idea how many people were there. Thousands. But I don’t know how many thousands. We were told to walk in groups of 20 so that we could be counted, but that was laughably unrealistic.

We marched from the Washington Monument, down Constitution Avenue to the lawn of the Capitol Building. Being on Constitution Avenue, not on the sidewalk, was made possible by permits and policemen blocking traffic. I am grateful that it was well-organized with access to porta-potties and free bottles of water. The marshals and the medics did their jobs well.

I felt like every single person had their camera with them, since we knew we would have to “cover” the event for ourselves in the absence of The Media. (I mean what an old episode of the Simpsons refers to as “CNNBCBS, a division of ABC”.) So many 20-somethings had that look that gave them away as likely bloggers and YouTube account holders.

It was awesome to walk right by the IRS building and chuckle at the quotation engraved in stone: “TAXES ARE WHAT WE PAY FOR A CIVILIZED SOCIETY” OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES. And then we saw a statue outside of the National Archives that was engraved: “ETERNAL VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE OF LIBERTY”. A little farther down we saw an entire side of a building which assured us that Congress cannot prohibit “. . . THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, AND TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES”.

A few dozen people were dressed in colonial costumes. It was over 90 degrees and we were in the sun all day. I was dripping with sweat in a light blue cotton sleeveless shirt, so I have no idea how the people in costumes were able to stand it. There were revolutionary flags (the Rattlesnake Flag and the Gadsden Flag circa 1776) carried by many people and three guys that had made suits of armor out of Ron Paul campaign signs complete with helmets, axes and swords. I wore the campaign button that Michael Nystrom designed, and I got one of the free stickers from isupportronpaul.com that one of his friends was handing out.

As we came onto the Capitol Lawn and got closer to the platform, I heard Aimee Allen’s song “Ron Paul Revolution” being broadcast over the speakers (repeatedly for about 30 minutes). I was disappointed that she couldn’t be at the rally to sing it live, but I just read on her MySpace page that she was seriously injured in June. I hope you are healing well, Aimee!

Naomi Wolf was one of the many speakers that afternoon at the rally. I had just read her 2003 article on pornography in New York Magazine, which BlueMilk blogged about last week. She was introduced as a leftist (not ridiculing her, but certainly teasing her) and she acknowledged that she had never hung out with a libertarian crowd before. But she said we have love of the Constitution in common. Civil liberties are very important to her; she mentioned Dennis Kucinich several times during her speech. I uploaded her speech to Google Video so that you can hear what she said and see what an enthusiastic and energetic woman she is.

The last person to speak was, of course, Congressman Ron Paul. What I liked the most about Dr. Paul’s speech was that he explained the price of liberty. When people are given the responsibility to make their own decisions about what they smoke and eat and drink (raw milk, for example) they take responsibility for their decisions instead of trusting the government to keep them safe and happy. The price of this liberty is that some people choose poorly. But the rewards are that people are able to take care of problems within real relationships like families and communities. His attitude was casual and confident. Two of his granddaughters were there and sat on the platform stairs during his speech. He gleefully told the crowd of his plans for September 1st and 2nd. I didn’t record his speech, but it is easily accessible on YouTube.

Maybe people get nervous when Dr. Paul says that the revolution is permanent because that sounds like something a communist insurgent would say, but I recognize now what he means. Eternal vigilance means people never get to a point where they feel comfortable with their government. Eternal vigilance means people distrust central power and stay informed of the bills that are being discussed and passed. When people stop being vigilant, the revolution ends and the government succeeds in its counterinsurgency efforts. We are losing the liberties that make our country strong. That’s the lesson I took away from the rally.

I took so many photos it is hard to choose which ones to share here. There are many more on Flickr thanks to Jlilyea, who took some really nice ones. (I’m in the bottom right-hand corner of the one that I linked to!)

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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Revolution March Freedom Rally

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21 Comments
  1. July 13, 2008 11:28 pm

    That is so awesome that you got to go to the Paul Rally. The only coverage I have seen on it was on Wonkette.Com. They are a bunch of Commie nihilists and labeled the affair Paultardapalooza. There are some killer pics on their site though. They got their staffers drunk and sent them out to photograph and antagonize.

    That is cool you got to hear N. Klein speak. I respect her views on shock induced market manipulation and liberty loss, among other things. I had read her porn article a while back. Thanks for re-posting it. I was heavily involved in the free-speech obscenity issues while in school. The pro-sex feminists vs. the Dworkinites indicated the lack of cohesion on the matter. As a First Amendment absolutist, and a Anarcho-Libertarian, the found the censorship argument loathsome.

    Great post (as always) πŸ™‚

  2. July 14, 2008 12:38 am

    i know this was a great experience for you, S.
    i really enjoyed your photos.

  3. July 14, 2008 7:11 am

    Thanks for telling me about the photos on Wonkette.com, Johnny. They got great photos, even if they meant to ridicule, they ended up helping document who was there, so that’s cool. I’m glad you liked my post!

    c, thank you for assuring me of the value in participating! There were some people there who had agendas I don’t agree with, but there were a lot of people there who I was glad to be associated with. I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos.

  4. July 14, 2008 11:18 am

    Oh, and Johnny, you mixed up Naomi Wolf and Naomi Klein. I know they are both hot and activists, but they are not the same woman. πŸ˜€

  5. July 14, 2008 12:00 pm

    Doh! I really need to work on my reading comprehension (and get my Naomi’s straight). My apologies for any confusion that I have created. Also, I meant to type:

    “As a First Amendment absolutist, and a Anarcho-Libertarian, I found the pro-censorship argument loathsome.”

  6. July 14, 2008 2:19 pm

    It’s all good, Johnny. My only intention was to clear that up in a humorous way.

  7. Joe Pulcinella permalink
    July 14, 2008 6:36 pm

    Doh! I thought it was Naomi Watts!

  8. July 14, 2008 9:36 pm

    Hi there, Joe. Welcome to my blog. Thanks for “contributing” to this conversation. πŸ˜‰

  9. Lofter permalink
    July 15, 2008 8:04 pm

    It’s so cool… you’re literally a part of history. Awesome stuff. And (as always) fantastic photographs!

  10. July 15, 2008 10:57 pm

    I’m glad you went. It’s very nice to have an informed report from someone I trust.

    “When people stop being vigilant, the revolution ends and the government succeeds in its counterinsurgency efforts.”

    Well said.

  11. July 15, 2008 11:52 pm

    I’m so glad you went to the rally! That must have been exciting. And I love your last picture– it’s great!

  12. July 16, 2008 4:57 pm

    Thanks for taking us there with you. Walking the walk isn’t easy, if it was everyone would do it. Thanks for showing us how to walk the walk too!

  13. July 16, 2008 6:51 pm

    Thank you, Lofter. That’s something I thought about, and it was exhilarating.

    Rick, I was looking for you or your dad there. Then when I didn’t see anyone I knew I figured I would represent all the nice people I have gotten to know through the Ron Paul connection. I hoped that blogging about it would make you all feel like you were there.

    Kristin, when you were going to come to the Acres, USA thing at Joe Salatin’s I wasn’t going to go to the march/rally because I wanted to meet you. But when you all couldn’t come, it made it more feasible for us to go to D.C. I really like that last one, too.

    Debi, you are so welcome! Ron Paul is someone we can count on not to flip-flop. He is the definition of principled.

    P.S. Have you all been to the Campaign for Liberty website?

  14. July 17, 2008 11:10 am

    Haven’t yet been able to get Dad to appreciate Dr. Paul.

    He remains a McCain guy. He follows the “we must always carry a big stick and never back down” school of international interventionism. Ironic, because George Washinton is his hero. But he’s a different generation (nearing 70) and spent time in the US Navy.

    What really interests me is he thinks Paul’s “Revolution: A Manifesto” is nothing new, or radical. True, in the purest sense. Except when compared to today’s political crop. But his *perception* of McCain is that he already embodies Paul’s ideals…so why settle for the “generic” Republican?

    Great lesson about marketing.

  15. July 17, 2008 3:07 pm

    It was the colonial costumes that made me think I might see your dad there, Rick. I don’t like McCain because he comes off as so smirky and cocky.

  16. July 18, 2008 5:49 pm

    Loved your photos…sounds like it was a great event. You really don’t hear about RP in the media at all anymore, and I keep looking around for information about what’s going on with his campaign, so thanks for “reporting”! My hubby was just commenting yesterday that the media keeps talking about McCain and Obama as if they had already won their respective nominations — they haven’t. I also think it’s interesting that they have hyped the age difference between the two candidates, as if Obama will carry the younger generation and McCain the older — and yet look at Dr. Paul’s age and the median age of the crowd at your rally.

  17. July 18, 2008 10:02 pm

    Thanks, Rebecca. There was such a range in the ages of the people there! I have to disagree with you about the media, though. I’ve been seeing more mentions of him lately than I ever did during his campaign. Check dailypaul.com and campaignforliberty.com to see all the clips from talk shows and all the recent admiration of his advice about “sound money.”

  18. July 19, 2008 12:49 am

    Love these photos, you really captured the feeling of being there. I’ve really enjoyed the times I’ve seen Naomi Wolf speak, glad you did too.

  19. July 21, 2008 10:05 am

    Thank you, blue milk! It was nice to have read her article before hearing her speak. You had great timing.

  20. July 24, 2008 7:13 am

    I don’t know why I didn’t comment on this one earlier. Congratulations on supporting the only decent candidate left. I doubt he will be our next President, but that remains to be seen.

    I noted your comments about McCain. I have to say that I don’t like the fact that he made unthinking racists comments openly (about Asians 4 years back and about Latin Americans less than a year ago). I can understand why his unpleasant experiences would instill bitter racism, but I don’t find it a “presidential” quality.

    I loved the “Don’t Tread on Me!” flag. As a child I found it compelling. At an Independence Day event we had face painters. The normal children got flowers, balloons, clouds, rainbows, etc.; however, I had them paint this flag across my face.

  21. July 24, 2008 11:08 am

    I agree. I don’t think McCain gives off any presidential vibes. That is so cool that you had that flag painted on your face as a child! You certainly didn’t fit in with the “normal children” as you put it. That is bringing a big smile to my face, thinking about what it must have been like. I told a friend over the phone that I had been to the “Ron Paul Rally” and he said, “What? The Long Haul Rally? What’s that?” I keep replaying that part of the conversation in my mind because it makes sense in a funny way.

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