In St. Louis, the large crowd today gathered under the famed Gateway Arch. In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Capitol served as a familiar backdrop for this year's 9/12 March on Washington. And in a state all-too familiar with big government, high taxes and mounting debt, protestors gathered in Sacramento, Calif. to make their voices heard.
Though St. Louis and Sacramento boasted more ideal weather, a late-summer rainy day in the nation's capital didn't dampen the spirits of tens of thousands of marchers. As far as I could tell, rally-goers were just as energized about lower taxes and smaller government today as they were one year ago. Though some things have changed since last year's 9/12 taxpayer march -- including the passage of President Obama's landmark health care overhaul -- the proximity of the upcoming midterm elections had the crowd fired up as they pledged to "remember in November."
Unlike August 28's "Restoring Honor" rally which drew hundreds of thousands, the 9/12 march is centered on political debates which are threatening Demorats' majorities on Capitol Hill. Here in Washington, the crowds welcomed some conservative politicians, including Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Pence took the microphone and proclaimed his commitment to repealing the Obama health care law as a Republican leader and urged voters to "give [Democrats] a November they'll never forget!"
Cuccinelli, who has recently gained national attention for his state's legal challenges to the health care law's mandates, pledged to continue working to keep the federal government confined to the constraints of the U.S. Constitution.
FreedomWorks, the organization sponsoring the rally, was represented on stage by its president and CEO Matt Kibbe and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey who serves as the group's chairman. Conservative blogger and media magnate Andrew Breitbart condemned a liberal media bias and received resounding applause for observing how the media's irresponsibility has empowered individual citizens to take the initiative.
But lawmakers shouldn't think they're out of the woods of public scrutiny after the November elections. RedState's Erick Erickson stressed the importance of holding all politicians accountable, both Democrats and Republicans.
The rally wasn't all politics. On the policy side, Ohio coal miners and their families were in attendance to voice their sincere opposition to Democrats' so-called "cap and trade" environmental policy. The miners characterized the proposed policy as a punishment for honest hard-working men and women and decried cap and trade as an "assault on the American way of life."
As the rally disperses, these energized voters are now tasked with taking their smaller government/lower taxes message back to their local communities to encourage voter turn-out on November 2. If the tea party movement can continue this kind of momentum into November, there will be real change coming to Washington in January.