I’m back from D.C. after a whirlwind weekend. Let me tell you: it was a grand old party.
Ten months ago, the idea of abandoning my children and husband for a weekend to attend a protest in Washington D.C., would never have crossed my mind. Group protests are simply not in my nature. I’m a conservative. Conservatives don’t travel in a herd. We are fiercely independent. While some may say “Lead, Follow or Get out of the Way,” I’ve always preferred the simpler: “Get out of the Way.” We don’t like people telling us what to do, where to be, what to say, or how to say it. That’s probably the reason why so many conservatives start their own businesses and hesitate before becoming directly involved in grassroots political activities.
When my husband mentioned attending a Tea Party in April, I hedged. I am a middle class working mother of two elementary-aged children. The rally was smack dab in the middle of a work and school week and I knew that finding a sitter would require skill, persistence, and fifty dollars. All of the above could be deemed worth it if the end prize was hanging out with my husband over appetizers and a few drinks, but fighting rush hour traffic to stand in the middle of downtown Atlanta with strangers? I wasn’t so sure about that. Besides, I had kind of checked out of politics for awhile.
I’m ashamed to say that like many of my fellow GOPers, a few weeks after the November election, I sought my own mental “secure undisclosed location” and unplugged. Between Oprah’s incessant gloating, the mainstream media’s cheerleading, and the new administration’s odd Office of the President Elect logo-neering—I knew it was going to be a long, ridiculous four years of “it’s our turn now” condescension. I didn’t want any part of it.
But where could I hide?
It wasn’t going to be easy to walk away from a 25-year obsession with all things political. I am an Alex P. Keaton Republican who came of age during the Reagan years and eventually married a man who shared my passion for politics. During both presidential and midterm elections, we set up a control center that rivals CTU so we could be in constant contact with our GOP friends and family members “in the field”. It was a huge fight in both 2000 and in 2004, and there were plenty of times that it seemed like the contest could have gone either way. But something changed the last time. The only real doubt was whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would be the democrat candidate. And once his mind-numbing happy talk and media support began to eclipse a well-qualified Hillary Clinton, I began to suspect the worst: there was not going to be a contest, there was going to be a coronation.
The thumping didn’t surprise me.
The RNC that performed so brilliantly in 2004 was merely watching from the sidelines. The only voice I heard from the RNC was on the other end of the phone line. They called me every other week asking for money. Sorry, guys, but to pull a quote from Glengarry Glen Ross: coffee is for closers. Figure out how to leverage your huge membership. Stop having your candidates waste their time with media outlets that will never give a Republican a fair shake. Give some money to the organizations that actually do something. Figure out an honest and effective way to compete against the liberal network of community organizers who are paid to blog and protest. Oh, and while you are at it—put your weight behind real conservatives.
You remember, right? You know what I’m talking about. All things considered, it was time to walk away. And although I wasn’t exactly sure what my exit strategy would be, I was delighted to realize that I didn’t need one. He did it for me! From his first speech, our new President’s college professor intonations triggered a switch in my C-student brain. Trying to keep up at night with C-Span reruns, I would fall asleep as if I’d just downed a mug of Zicam. As for Nancy Pelosi, my experience as a stay at home mom to children born 22 months apart was perfect training for what my girlfriends and I call “blocking.” By mid-March, her voice blended in with the buzz of my ceiling fans. And Harry Reid? Seriously. Not worth a clever exposition.
Not only was I sleeping like a baby, I grew deliciously despondent. I had officially kicked the habit and replaced my nightly political internet prowling for The Real Housewives of New York. I was finally as stupid as all the people who elected this student council from hell. And you know what? Not giving a rip was so enticingly pleasant. Hey, look – US Magazine!!
But he wouldn’t just let me be. Try as I might, there was no escaping he that will be heard. I’d drive past the Volvos that would not shed their bumper stickers. I’d pick up a magazine at the salon only to be faced with yet another Camelot reference. By the time the Tea Party Patriots came on the scene, I was ready to re-engage.
After following politics for so many years, I intuitively felt something big was about to happen. Without anybody directing them to do so, liberty-loving Americans decided that they were fed up and weren’t going to wait around for somebody to follow. They were going to take the lead and I wanted in.
The same day that People magazine showed America the first official (Exclusive!) photographs of Bo Obama—a decision, as has been pointed out, that took longer to arrive at then his plan for Nationalized Health Care—my husband and I secured a sitter, ordered a pizza for the kids, hit the ATM, and fought our way back through Atlanta rush hour traffic to attend a Tea Party.
It was the best decision I’ve made all year. That night confirmed what I knew in my heart but had to see with my own eyes: even though the liberal politicians and the main-extreme media want to isolate conservatives and make us feel like we are alone: we are not alone. And not only that, we have something that can’t be manufactured or orchestrated: a true understanding and appreciation for what makes America…well, America. The people who attended the first Tea Parties and the 9/12 March on Washington didn’t need a puppet master hiding behind the curtain telling us where we needed to be and when we needed to be there. There was no SEIU or ACORN to foot the bill for the gas, bus trip, airline ticket, or hotel bill. During tough economic times, we took money out of our family budgets and time away from our jobs to show up. We brought digital cameras, hand-held devices, and laptops because we figured that it was the only media we’d get.
Having just returned from the Washington DC rally, I can tell you that I haven’t felt this hopeful and relevant since the 2000 recount protests. Even though we’ll never get an accurate count of how many attended, it far exceeded everybody’s expectations. And when you consider that for every person who was able to attend—there were thousands who wished they could have, it’s easy to see we’ve really got something here.
A new activism for the people by the people. Perhaps this is the change that we were promised.
Mary Corbett is a military wife and mother of two. A published author, she has appeared on the Today Show, Fox News Channel and local affiliates in Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis. She is the founder of www.GippersList.com, a classified website for conservatives.