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Celebrating the 9/12 rallies; Turnout estimated at 2 million; Update: How many?; FreedomWorks in error

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 12, 2009 10:06 AM

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Twitpic via Brooks Bayne


Twitpic via Prisminc

I can’t make it to Washington DC today for the national 9/12 march, but I’m with all the marchers in spirit.

It’s been an unprecedented year for limited government activism. It would never have been possible without the early initiative of grass-roots leaders in the #tcot community on Twitter, Smart Girl Politics #DontGo — and concerned women like Keli Carender and Amanda Grosserode who stood up in their communities against reckless spending in Washington before anyone was listening. Before the cable news was paying attention. Before it became fashionable for politicians to latch on.

Activists were derided as amateurs who couldn’t turn out a crowd. Then they were smeared as corporate shills. They were criticized for not having a coherent message. Then they were mocked for ideological single-mindedness. They are resented by professional strategists who accuse them of organizing empty protests that won’t translate into electoral gains. But the movement has given birth to a new generation of movers and shakers who have rejected establishment partisan politics for nimble, Internet-facilitated, issues-based advocacy.

The success of the Tea Party movement and its allies/successors shows that there’s no monopoly on “community organizing.”

You are the change we’ve been praying for.

March on!

***

Livecam of the D.C. rally here. Wow!

The Tea Party Express blog is here.

12:34pm Eastern: Police estimate 1.2 million in attendance. ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million — tweets Tabitha Hale from D.C.

Teeny, tiny fringe, huh?

Video highlights via Ed Frank:

Update: Tabitha Hale says Parks & Rec estimated 1.2 million. An ABC News correspondent says it wasn’t national ABC News network that reported 2 million figure. I take them at their word — and am checking to find out more info.

So, how many were there? Allah looks at the numbers reports here. He writes:

However big it was, it was bigger than expected. From the NYT: “Many came on their own and were not part of an organization or group. But the magnitude of the rally took the authorities by surprise, with throngs of people streaming from the White House to Capitol Hill for more than three hours.”

Charlie Martin extrapolates at Vodkapundit.

As I joked after the Tax Day Tea Party: “When left-wing activists make crowd estimates, the algorithm is: Six figures = one million.”

Safe to say, by liberal math standards, today’s turnout rivaled the “Million Man March” and the “Million Mom March” for sure.

Late update: The misattribution to ABC News came from Freedomworks:

Conservative activists, who organized a march on the U.S. Capitol today in protest of the Obama administration’s health care agenda and government spending, erroneously attributed reports on the size of the crowds to ABC News.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the group that organized the event, said on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance.

At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. ABCNews.com reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as “tens of thousands.”

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for FreedomWorks, said he did not know why Kibbe cited ABC News as a source.

As a result of Kibbe’s erroneous attribution, several bloggers and commenters repeated the misinformation.

Thanks to ABC News for clearing this up.

The Left, of course, has seized on the error to discredit the undeniably massive turnout today.

If only they were as vigilant about policing other figures — e.g., the “47 million uninsured” statistic…

***

One more helpful measuring stick via reader Rosemary Hayes:

Here is a link to a schematic of the national mall used to esitmate crowd sizes. It was used in references to planning for BO’s inauguration.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-01-19-crowd_N.htm

***

Here’s an excerpt from my Dallas Tea Party remarks on July 4 in celebration of today’s events across the country:

I’ve been reading in the newspapers about how the Tea Party movement is “losing steam.” I’ve been told by my colleagues in the mainstream, lame-stream, drive-by, state-SPONSORED media that you have died.

I’ve been told by the smug vulgarians on cable TV (yes, that’s you Anderson Cooper) and I’ve been told by the bigoted know-nothings in Hollywood (yes, that’s you Janeane Garofalo) that you all are nothing more than a teeny, tiny minority of fringe extremists.

I’ve been told that…thousands upon thousands of committed, peaceful, principled sons and daughters of liberty [do not] exist.

Well, I am happy to report to the rest of the country that you Tea Party Patriots are alive and kicking and moving full steam ahead in the common defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

They want you gone.

They want you silent and out of sight.

They want you marginalized, demonized, and demoralized.

Will you let them?

…On July 3, 1776, John Adams expressed his wish to his wife Abigail that Independence Day would be “celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” He hoped it would “be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty” and “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.“

“My fellow Americans.” There are few words sweeter and more stirring than those three words. “My fellow Americans.”

Whether native-born or naturalized, we [are] united in citizenship, joined by common purpose, bound eternally as heirs of our founding fathers’ legacy.

We are not here merely for the games, sports, bells, and bonfires. We are here because we recognize the grave importance and civic duty to remember the reason for the July 4 season.

And the reason for the season is: LIBERTY.

The reason for the season is: LIBERTY.

As you all know, I am the daughter of legal immigrants from the Philippines. They stood in line, took their citizenship tests, filed mountains of paperwork, and — speaking in English — swore allegiance to the United States. The more- than-two-century-old oath of American citizenship declares, in part:

“I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty … I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic… I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

For millions of naturalized Americans by choice, the oath of allegiance is sacred. It is as sacred to them as the very first oath of allegiance our forefathers first swore to at Valley Forge. It is a solemn public commitment to embrace and defend American laws and institutions. The rights and responsibilities that accompany this coveted status are earned privileges, not entitlements.

That inheritance of rights as well as duties is in my bloodstream and in yours. Our skin may be brown, yellow, black, or white. But as fellow Americans, my fellow Americans, we share this transcendent fidelity to liberty.

On July 4, 1821, John Quincy Adams reminded us that our interest in commemorating the Declaration of Independence was not merely in enumerating its list of grievances against British tyranny. But more importantly, our lasting interest lies in commemorating the “principles which [the Declaration of Independence] proclaims.”

This extraordinary document was, JQ Adams said, “the first solemn declaration by a nation of the only legitimate foundation of civil government. It was the corner stone of a new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished at a stroke the lawfulness of all governments founded upon conquest. It swept away all the rubbish of accumulated centuries of servitude. It announced in practical form to the world the transcendent truth of the unalienable sovereignty of the people.”

This transcendent truth, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and embodied by America over 233 years, has indeed covered the surface of the globe. While we too often take it for granted, it thrives in the hearts and minds of fellow freedom lovers in China, Cuba, Honduras, Iraq, Iran, and around the world.

Every day should be July 4. Every day should be a day to count our blessings and marvel at the gifts our God and country have bestowed — and to which we have all been entrusted to protect and pass on to our children and their children.

At an Atlanta Tea Party in February, some kids held up a popular tongue-in-cheek sign that read: “When I grow up, I want to be free.”

What their parents certainly know, and what our Founding Fathers made clear to their oppressors and the world, is that we are born free.

Freedom is not for government to give.

But it is for all of us to ensure that government does not take away.

On this first principle, we can afford no moderation. The business of protecting our home life from meddling intrusion, our homeland from foreign invasion, and our commerce from reckless restriction is not to be conducted in dulcet tones with bent spines and bowed heads.

The founding fathers did not intend for us to politely implore the masters of government for freedom like oliver twist begging Mr. bumble to fill his meager bowl with more gruel:

“Please sir, I want some more.”

Only extreme vigilance – forceful, rabble-rousing, aggressive, unyielding vigilance, can safeguard our inalienable rights. And in practicing this extremism, we have nothing – NOTHING – to apologize for. Ever.

We have spent many months enumerating our grievances against the soft tyranny of a new age. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow we will continue to do so.

But today, we have no time to despair. There is no room for gloom. you have been mocked and derided and smeared. you will be mocked and derided and smeared some more.

But our forefathers have suffered far worse. And so have the men and women on the front lines over the ages who have given arms and legs, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wifes.

John Adams knew the price they would pay, and yet maintained hope, real hope: “I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory.”

We take strength in each other. We take inspiration from the past.

We publicly declare our independence from the culture of dependency.

We publicly declare our independence from the false guardians of the free market.

We publicly declare our independence from the culture of corruption.

We publicly declare our independence from the poseurs of personal responsibility in both major political parties.

We should take these obligations freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help us God.

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