Anti-Big-Government DC Demonstration Draws Huge Crowd: “Don’t Tread on Me”

According to ABC News, Washington D.C. police initially estimated that a crowd of 60-70,000 people traveled from across the U.S. to participate in a massive demonstration (in the rain) not just against ObamaCare but the overall, huge explosion of federal power, spending and debt. Updated estimates (see London Daily Mail and San Francisco Examiner) place the crowd at as large as 2 million. As reported by the New York Times:

Ruth Lobbs, 57, a schoolteacher from Jacksonville, Fla., said she flew to Washington on Saturday to protest how she believes the government has violated the Constitution. She said she did not vote for the president, adding that her anger has been building for years.

“It’s more than Obama—this isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue,” Ms. Lobbs said as she held a yellow flag that declared “Don’t Tread on Me.”

“I don’t know if anything will come of this or not,” she said, “but this is a peaceful way of showing our frustration.”

An article at Bloomberg further states that:

Thousands of protesters carrying signs saying “Obama = Socialism” and “Keep Government out of Health Care,” descended on Washington today to oppose government spending and the rising budget deficit.

“This tax-and-spend government wants to limit our freedom and erode peoples’ rights,” said Leonard Starr, 65, from Richmond, Virginia. “We’re building a giant bureaucracy headed to fascism using untruthfulness and lies.”

And an article in the Washington Post notes that:

Jeff Mapps, 29, a stagehand and labor union member from South Philadelphia, left home about 6 a.m. to come to the protest. He said he hadn’t been involved in previous Tea Party demonstrations, but he watches Fox News host Glenn Beck “all the time” and he wanted to be a part of something he thinks will be historic. Beck has been drumming up support for the march.

Holding a sign that said “Preserve, Protect, Defend” on a Red Line Metro train packed with conservative activists, Mapps fretted over a “blatant disregard for the Constitution.”

“We’ve been watching it for six to eight months,” he said. “It was finally an opportunity to get involved. It’s been boiling over . . . It’s not just about health care. It’s about so much more than that.”

. . . .

Like countless others at the rally, Joan Wright, 78, of Ocean Pines, Md., sounded angry. “I’m not taking this crap anymore,” said Wright, who came by bus to Washington with 150 like-minded residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. “I don’t like the health-care [plan]. I don’t like the czars. And I don’t like the elitists telling us what we should do or eat.”

This demonstration may reflect one of the fastest growing, grassroots movements in American history and one that is rapidly inspiring millions of people of the need to seek major reductions in the size and scope of government power. Simultaneously, the poll ratings for Obama and Congress, and state governments continue to drop.

Recommended books by Senior Fellow Robert Higgs on the need to significantly reduce government power include the following:

Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs

Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, by Robert Higgs

Neither Liberty Nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government, by Robert Higgs

Depression, War, and Cold War: Challenging the Myths of Conflict and Prosperity, by Robert Higgs

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute and Publisher of the quarterly journal, The Independent Review.
Full biography and recent publications
Beacon Posts by David Theroux
  • Catalyst