I was over at Minuteman People’s Park yesterday, particularly at the Old North Bridge, which is very popular this time of year. It was much improved without the park rangers running around. Its a great place to talk not only to people from all over the United States, but also from all over the world. And a bunch of us are making sure that those tourists get to hear about what happened at that bridge, even while the rangers cower inside their little station. When we tell that story, we always make it current–that the distant government was overtaxing the people, spying on them, denying them rights and, when fear set in, that the same government was willing to invade their homes to impose gun control on the colonists. We discuss that the farmers were the kind of pesky insurgents that George would probably have dropped a drone strike on, simply for trying to protect their homes from foreign invaders intent. We talk about the revolution as a government shut down. That George III was justifying his actions by simply claiming he had a debt ceiling problem caused by the French and Indian War, and that if the colonists refused to raise the debt ceiling the King would default and chaos would ensue. We always wait for the crowd to walk away when we get to the clear modern parallels, but they don’t. They nod their heads. Yeah, those colonists had every right to force a government shut down and not want to pay George’s debts.
What’s interesting is the disconnect between the media that is based in Washington and the rest of the world outside of that bubble. So much of the angst you are reading in the press is not coming from a voice of reason, but rather the voice of people who are so deeply embedded in the Washington culture that they have totally lost touch with the people. Outside of Washington, the local economy is not based entirely upon those who labor for payment from the federal trough. Outside of Washington, lots of people comprise a local economy not dependent on welfare payments and global bond trading. And outside of Washington, there are a lot of people who don’t want to think about the federal government every day, and aren’t willing to pay for that kind of omnipresent federal government. At Minuteman, most people think the “shut down” is ridiculous. I mean, we were standing at the statue of the Concord farmer, one hand grasping his musket, the other wistfully resting on the plow he is about to leave, and right next to it is a sign declaring the park is closed? People were laughing. At Obama. At the Democrats. At the media. At the politics. What I wasn’t seeing was anyone wringing their hands about closure, or default. What I was seeing was a whole lot of people who think the government is too big, that it needs to reign in spending, that it needs to cut costs, that measures that force that process are not unreasonably or dangerous or wrong. What I was thinking we should do, and I proposed this to a tour group, is take those twenty tour buses, go to Washington, grab the politicians who think that the people support endless spending and endless government, and take them on a tour of America, at which point they will realize that the Tea Party philosophy is not waning or weak, but growing more powerful each day as the voice of the people.
Yes, we were outside yesterday. We held the bridge. And the people. And the federal rangers cowered inside.