So, I set my alarm clock for 1:30 a.m. Monday morning, but got up at 1:15. Put on my woodland camouflage BDUs (the Air Force uniform I served in, but not the current issue), packed my flagpole, flags, water, parka and helmet in a backpack. I was out the door and on my way by 2:02.
From Youngstown, OH, I got on 76 and headed east. Very light traffic, with a few truckers, but I began to notice a lot of buses heading east. Must be full of Obama voters from Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, etc.?
I arrived in D.C. about 7 a.m. and tried to head toward the Mall, but found that National Guard troops in digital camo uniforms had placed a cordon around the capital and mall area, and were directing people away. I pulled over at one intersection, rolled down the window and spoke to a Guardsman from West Virginia. I said I’d just driven five hours to get to the Mall and asked if there was a way I could get in. He asked if I had a pass, and I didn’t, so he said he was sorry, but couldn’t let me in. I drove on, crossed the Potomac, and found a way to get back by following a cab. Did this loop twice looking for a place to park.
On my second pass, I stopped at another blocked street and pulled over. There were two Guardsmen and a young D.C. policeman. The policeman came over, and I told him I was trying to get to the Mall. He thought about it for a minute, and possibly because I was in uniform, he said, “I’ll let you in here. Go to 17th Street and turn right. You might find a place to park there.” I did, and at E Street I saw a few parking meters that hadn’t been marked for the parade and security. There were four other cars parked there, so I thought it might be safe and I wouldn’t be towed. It was so packed and with no traffic, I hoped I was right.
I pulled the 7’ aluminum collapsing pole out of the back of the SUV and grabbed my backpack. Nothing had been searched to this point. The pole is telescoping aluminum tubing, with a 2” diameter bottom section, that extends to 15’. Made by Uncommon USA, a great American company that made the poles at my office and home. I had a 3’ X 5’ U.S. Flag and a white Culpepper Flag. I packed a yellow Gadsden Flag, too, in case I changed my mind. I shouldered the pack and carrying the pole over my shoulder, headed toward Constitution Avenue and the National Mall.
One police officer did stop me on the way down 17th Avenue and said that they may not allow the pole on the Mall because it could be used as a weapon. I’m sure he didn’t consider this, but it is about the size of a Bangalore torpedo. I replied that I would take my chances and just bring it back if they refused. I passed many security people, including FBI, US Marshals, Guard police, DC police, and others in various uniform. I was eyeballed by most of them, being in a camouflage uniform with a helmet hanging on my pack and carrying what appeared to be a pole with a gold globe and hooks at one end.
I walked with a scattering of people toward the Capitol, passing the Washington Monument on my right. One of the Guardsmen I met had given me a copy of the US Secret Service map for Inauguration Day, showing the pedestrian walking route, parade route, and the National Mall Access Points. I thought for sure I would be searched at the access point, but nobody ever searched me or my belongings. I entered at 8th Street and found they had covered the Mall with plastic decking to protect the grass. I continued east and noticed a raised police observation platform on the left with dark glass. Surely I had to stand out to them.
Moving east I got closer and crossed what would be 7th St., which was an opening between the plastic decking with no grass, just dirt. I stepped up onto the next plastic decking and decided it would be a good place to camp. Another police observation post was raised just to my left, and I took a picture of it. I thought they could watch me and see that I wasn’t doing anything dangerous. After a few minutes to get settled, I put my cover (cap) away and put on my helmet. Then I reached into my pack and pulled out the two flags, hooking them onto the snaps just below the gold ball. Then I raised the flag upside-down. It was about 8:30 a.m.
People behind me (west) were behind barricades that allowed a passage area between the decking. They began to “boo” and heckle me. I turned toward them and a young woman gave me the finger. I was concerned that I might be mobbed, but before I raised the flag I asked some Guardsmen in the walk area if they believed in First Amendment rights. I said I would be raising a flag upside-down, and they didn’t seem to be bothered by that.
Some of the red stocking-capped “greeters” or staff came up to me and asked why the flag was upside-down. This was my first opportunity to explain, and I said that it is a sign of distress, that our country is in dire distress, and that people need to understand this. “We are losing our Nation to socialism,” I concluded. Most of them just looked confused. I gathered that these were people who normally had a government job in D.C. and were making a little extra money on Martin Luther King Day, a work holiday for them. Then cameramen and reporters took note and came over to ask what I was protesting. I generally said that I was protesting many things, including the attack on our right to bear arms, but mostly that we were slipping toward becoming a socialist nation, and that I would fight that any way I could. In further explanation, I said that both political parties were taking us down the socialist road, and that every time the Republicans compromised with the Democrats, socialism gained another inch. I added that by many accounts we now have a president who is a communist, referring to his statements about “redistributing wealth,” a classic Marxist subject.
Some people asked to have their picture taken with me, and others just asked what I was doing. A man came up and said that this is the greatest country in the world, why are you protesting? After explaining to him and his son, I asked where he was from and he said he came from Iran twenty years ago and is now a U.S. citizen. I agreed that we still have the best country in the world, but we have problems we must face, like the fact that our government is bankrupt (the government, not the people). He said, “You know you would not be able to do what you are doing in most other countries?” I said, “Yes, I would probably be shot. That’s why our Founders created the First Amendment.”
I stood there for about two hours, and was interviewed by CNN and even some foreign journalists. While explaining to the well-dressed CNN reporter that Obama was using Cloward-Piven strategy to destroy our economy, and thereby, our country, I asked if he knew what Cloward-Piven was. He did not. Nor did any of the other people I spoke with. I admitted to some that until about six years ago, neither did I. Nobody knew about UN Agenda 21 either. And, of course, nobody ever heard of the Georgia Guidestones, which dovetails with Agenda 21 in calling for a world population of 500 million people. Ignorance and apathy. As long as your life’s comfort level is satisfactory and you are not “suffering,” people don’t care much about what is happening outside their little sphere.
When the CNN crew was interviewing me the crowd behind me began chanting, “O-bam-a, O-bam-a” to drown out what I was saying. Didn’t bother me, because, after all, this was CNN and they probably wouldn’t air anything negative on Obama’s big day.
A lady came up with a group of ten young men who appeared high school age. She told her class that, “Here is a person exercising his First Amendment rights.” She then asked if they had any questions for me, and I was able to explain a lot in the 15 minutes or so that we talked. It was great. Young, open minds willing to listen to reason. I told them that when I graduated from college it took me the first three months of the year to pay my taxes; now it takes over six months, and it would be even more for them if we continued on this road. I gave them homework to look up Cloward-Piven and decide for themselves if President Obama is using this strategy.
Obama supporters, sycophants, and future serfs were generally well-behaved. There were vendors everywhere hawking all kinds of Obama-wear, buttons, brochures and programs, flags and banners. I saw two types of U.S. flags that were desecrated with imprints of Obama’s face and another with “2013” and a Capitol symbol. THIS is desecration and disrespectful. What I was doing was not.
A young man with a Chinese girlfriend asked why I was doing this. When I said we were losing our country to socialism, he replied that he lives in China. I said that the ONLY reason China was prospering is because it embraced capitalism. His only response was, “Yeah, there’s a lot of capitalism.”
About 11 a.m. I decided to move further east toward the Capital. Shouldn’t have done that. Went about 50 feet and stopped for a moment. A red-capped staff woman came up to me on my left and loudly stated, “Sir, I have a handicapped section over here and they said your flag is interfering with their view of the Jumbotron.” Immediately I saw on my right two six-foot D.C. police captains approach, and they said, “Sir, we have a complaint and we’re going to have to move you off the Mall.” He added, “We have a special area for you First Amendment people. You can demonstrate all you want there, and there’s a Jumbotron, too.” I answered, “OK, no problem. Lead on and I’ll follow.” I collapsed the pole and wrapped the flags. They were in a hurry. Grabbing my pack, I followed one and was trailed by the other officer. People were cheering that I was being escorted away. I said, “This is your First Amendment, too!” But then I made no other comments, not wanting to upset the captains.
We went to the sidewalk on Madison Drive at 7th, and the first captain said, “You want to go to 17th and Monroe. There’s an area there for First Amendment demonstrators. I don’t want to see you back on the Mall.” I thanked the kind officers and began hiking back west ten blocks, then north on 17th. Two people stopped me on the way and asked to take a picture, to which I complied. I must have really looked out of place carrying the furled flagpole in a full camouflage uniform.
I never did find “17th and Monroe.” Those streets do not intersect on my maps. I think it was just a ruse to get me off the Mall and ten blocks away from the “celebration.” It worked. I saw that it was getting close to noon, and I told my wife I’d be home by 5, so I packed up and headed out. I didn’t want to spend one more minute in that place than I had to. Even when I was running for U.S. Congress in Ohio I couldn’t imagine “liking” Washington, with all the corruption, moneyed lobbyists prostituting members of Congress, homeless people living on heating grates, general dishonesty of politicians, and the power struggles between “senior members” of Congress.
I thought a Representative went to Washington to vote for the best interests of the 6 to 7 hundred thousand people of his or her district. Not so. Freshmen Congresspersons must obey their senior party leadership or risk having the party run someone against them in the next primary. You vote the way you’re told to vote; there is no independent thought or reasoning. Just check “U.S. Congress Votes Database - The Washington Post” and see how your Representative votes. If it’s 100% with his or her party, you elected a puppet. Even those with high 90’s are patsies. The one person with the best voting record, in my opinion, was Congressman Ron Paul, who voted with his party 70+% of the time. There is a man who has a conscience. And honor.