Even during the height of my youthful political-action phase, I didn't march on D.C. or burn any thing. I was more the Parliamentary Procedure-type, attending conferences to improve things by working within the system. I made speeches, drafted proposals, met in caucuses and voted on things. Maybe it sounds dull, but I believe in the system. I also believe that sometimes the system needs tweaking. Now is such a time.
I attended the Tea Party in Frederick, Maryland. It wasn't a big media-catcher like the one is Annapolis or Boston or D.C., but it held special meaning for me. Historically, Frederick is an American treasure from the Colonial period through the Civil War. It was the home town of Francis Scott Key and reportedly the last stop he made before heading to Fort McHenry on a mission that ultimately led to the writing of the The Star Spangled Banner.
More importantly, Frederick is small town America, a close-knit but economically diverse community of hard-working family people who are proud and worried and mobilizing, just as citizens are doing all across the nation. Though the rain poured and the temperature settled in around a chilly forty degrees, the people came. When the anemic sound system failed and we couldn't hear the speakers, we waited in the rain for the words we could hear . . . and then we cheered, and chanted and marched.
There were grandparents out there advocating for their grand children's futures, and parents worried about the America their children will inherit. There were old people, young people and in-betweens who don't necessarily have all the answers, but who know for certain that the solutions currently being pursued violate all the principles their parents taught them about thrift and integrity.
It's hard to gauge the mood of America from the news any more. Heck, it's hard to gauge much of anything from the news these days. . . Most of us only know how current events are effecting us and our family. For me, this was a chance to listen to my peers and their stories, and to feel powerful again as a citizen and as a community.
We have a voice. We have power. Collectively, we are still the employers.