My Grandpa PD was a tough Texas man. He used to work in the oil fields in West Texas, taking care of those giant insect-looking oil wells scattered throughout the Texas plains. He and my grandmother later retired to East Texas where Grandpa PD planted huge gardens, raised goats, hunted deer and he provided for his family.
His daughter Lou Ellen, my mother, is a 4th generation Texan. Like her mother before her, Lou Ellen taught high school for 44+ years and was the type of teacher all the kids loved and respected.
Here’s a picture of my fearless mother, holding a copperhead she had just killed on their front porch. With a garden hoe. (True story.)
Lou Ellen was also the only teacher who would consistently break up student fist (and/or knife) fights. My tiny mother would literally push her way past all the coaches and grown men and gawking students and she would put herself in the center of the fight—yet she never got hurt. The students respected my mother; they would stop fighting.
I definitely come from good and brave Texas stock.
So flash forward to this 4th generation Texan getting out of a taxicab in Washington, D.C. The first thing I saw was hundreds of purple and pink shirts representing the SEIU and Planned Parenthood. They were chanting, “We love Obamacare!” and “Healthcare is a human right!”
The feeling I had went against every ancestral instinct coursing through my blood and I have to admit–I was afraid.
Unlike my mother, I am not comfortable putting myself in the middle of an angry mob. I do not like the feeling of possibly being attacked, either physically or verbally. My instincts told me to get back in the cab–go back to the room and maybe watch the protest on Fox News…
But my PolitiChicks director and producer were urging me to ‘get in there’ and interview the protesters. I didn’t want to admit my fears to them; I wanted them to believe I was this ‘fearless chick’ and that pushing my way into the middle of angry protesters was no big deal to me.
I was happy to be wearing my sunglasses so they couldn’t see the panic in my eyes.
The best way to approach something you’re afraid of is to assess what you’re up against—so that’s what I did.
Collectively, the protesters looked like a giant angry purple and pink mob. They were holding their pre-made signs and they were shouting, chanting, marching in a large circle.
In the center of the circle was a man playing bongo drums to keep the chanters on rhythm and a woman with a megaphone leading the cheers. The protesters did whatever the ‘drum major’ and the ‘head cheerleader’ told them to do; they changed the cadence of their marching according to the drumbeat. They changed their chant whenever the cheerleader changed their chant.
Suddenly I realized the people I feared were really only a handful of people who were in charge–the rest, the hundreds of marching chanters, were basically worker bees doing whatever they were told to do.
So I took my PolitiChicks microphone and my cameraman; I thought of my mother and all my brave Texas ancestors and I courageously (yet very politely) made my way to the middle of the protest.
I literally stood in the center of a group of hundreds of SEIU and Planned Parenthood workers—the “enemy”—and I started asking questions.
When I asked why they were there, I was initially given a stock answer (e.g. whatever they had just been chanting).
“Because I love Obamacare!”
“Because I believe healthcare should be a human right!”
When questioned deeper, I was told varying answers about how “everyone in America should have healthcare.” I told them I didn’t disagree, that Conservatives also believe this and that we agree healthcare reform is needed. But when I asked who would pay for their healthcare, everyone told me that it should come out of ‘taxes’.
“We pay taxes anyway, so why not for healthcare?” one young girl told me.
Another multiple-pierced girl, hired by Planned Parenthood, was holding a sign that said, “Protect Women’s Health”. She told me she believed our government should pay not only for her contraceptives but also for her abortions.
“Some people just don’t want to have a baby, and if they can’t afford a baby or just don’t want it, they should be able to have an abortion and…not have a baby,” she told me, with a casual smile on her face.
The Tea Party Patriot’s press conference was about to begin so I had to move toward the Supreme Court steps where a hundred or so Tea Partiers were holding their signs and their Gadsden flags, waiting for the first speaker.
Just as the conference was to start, a smirking girl from the ‘other side’ stood in front of the podium holding a sign that said, “But Jesus, if you heal them that would be (gasp) Socialism!”
At first no one knew what to do. The Tea Partiers froze; all their “good and decent” instincts to be polite were on full alert. The Smirking Girl stood facing all the cameras, knowing she was safe because unlike what the Mainstream Media says, Tea Partiers are NOT violent terrorists….
But then, a woman in a wheel chair rolled up right next to the Smirking Girl and held her own sign in front of the girl’s face. Then an older Tea Party man stood on the other side of her and blocked her Socialism sign with his.
The “head cheerleader” started sending her protesters to our press conference in droves, telling them to position their signs in front of the cameras and next to the speakers.
That’s when all of us took action and throughout the entire press conference, those who were tallest (myself included) held our signs high enough to block the Union pro-Obamacare signs. In all the press photos, you’ll see Tea Party signs with shades of pink and blue behind them.
By the end of the protest I realized I would never be afraid of these people again.
I’ve written about this before, but one of my favorite Simpson’s episodes is when some bad guys are chasing Homer on a boat. The enemy sends a giant silver balloon to hover over Homer but he simply takes out a pin and pops the balloon.
“Why did you think a big balloon would scare him away?” the enemy is asked.
“Shut up, that’s why!” she responds.
And there you have it, in a nutshell. Our enemy is basically a giant balloon—nothing but a plastic enclosure filled with hot air. And when questioned further, their answer is “Shut up, that’s why!”
The great thing is now that we know the secret of the enemy—that there’s nothing to fear– it’s up to all of us to let the rest of the world know it, too.