Here’s what I witnessed in Washington on Jan. 6 at the Save America March.
Surrounding me were patriotic Americans who had traveled from all parts of our land to protest what they believed was a fraudulent election. My daughter’s friend had secured VIP seating for our party, but few people sat during the event. Instead, many of them danced, tapped their feet, or sang to the music from the loudspeakers. Others chatted and laughed with friends, stood on the chairs to snap pictures of the enormous crowd, and enthusiastically applauded the speakers.
To the amusement of those who could see him, a middle-aged man with yellow-tinted hair, silver earrings, and golden sandals danced up and down the aisle. The three women from Florida next to me bounced up and down in time to the music, and some of the teenage girls who were in our group spent time braiding their friends’ hair.
Not only were most of these people happy—the event seemed more like a big, wonderful party than a protest—but they were also kind and polite. Those slipping through the crowd were always saying “Pardon me.” When an older woman with a walker fell, others rushed to her aid and returned her to her chair. Noticing that I was breathing into my hands—it was cold, and the wind was brisk—one of the Florida ladies offered me a small disposable hand warmer. I declined, but appreciated this sweet gesture.
After President Donald Trump finished speaking, our group decided to skip the march to the Capitol and return home. The 11 young people were exhausted, and all of us were cold, and so we missed the mayhem the media then used to characterize the entire event.
Bad Times Ahead?
Now, we are facing what Joe Biden has predicted will be a dark winter. That winter may last for months or possibly even years, and some of us are undoubtedly disheartened by the prospect of such a bleak future.
Hold it right there, my friends.
Long ago, an anti-drug advertisement on television featured the catchphrase: “Just say no!” We should say “NO!” to depression, despondency, and fear every time those swamp creatures rear their ugly heads.
Instead, let’s take some lessons from those people I saw in the crowd on that January morning.
Commitment and Attitude
That day I spoke with a man from Hawaii, an ICU nurse from Wisconsin, some nuns in full habit from Minnesota, and a couple from Georgia. All of them had sacrificed their time and money to attend this rally, to protest what they believed a corrupt election, and to take a stand for liberty.
And every one of them displayed a cheerful and upbeat love for their country and their cause.
We must do the same.
In the months to come, we must emulate that spirit of goodwill, pushing back when we can against policies with which we disagree, but aiming always to keep a positive attitude. If we give way to despair, we lose. It’s as simple as that.
Strength in Numbers
Many of us this past year, including me, have often felt alone and isolated, sucked down by a maelstrom of catastrophes. The masks and social distancing of the pandemic have brought a feeling of separation, the riots of the past summer that wrecked several of our cities filled us with a sense of impotence and rage, and the election results have surely left some believing all is lost.
Let’s take a lesson from that calm and joyful D.C. crowd and break that feeling of loneliness by joining together with those who share our love for this nation. We can link up with family and friends through social media, yes, but even better, we can throw dinners and parties in our homes, we can gather people for musical sing-along evenings, and we can take time from our busy schedules to talk with others—conversations that are as healthy for us as vitamins.
The more ambitious might consider giving their time, talents, and money to groups who stand for American values and freedom. Women for America First, for example, organized the rally in Washington. We can go online and seek out similar groups. Even better, those who cherish America can work on the grassroots level to bring change to local governments, joining community groups that seek improvement and advocate for freedom.
Optimism and Sanity
A good friend and I talk every other day or so about personal matters and politics. With all the latest explosions—the mainstream media deceptions, the silencing of the president, the corruption in our political system, the looming presidency of Joe Biden and crew—John is as discouraged as I’ve ever seen him.
And as he said just this morning after we discussed the headlines, “I feel like I’m living in Bizarro World,” meaning he senses the country is going off the deep end.
The people in the crowd I saw on Jan. 6 took a more hopeful view of the future. They wanted Trump’s reelection, yet many of them, including Trump himself during his speech, stressed that this movement was bigger than one man and that no matter what happens, together we must carry on the battle for liberty.
To do so, we must first believe we can win this fight for America’s soul. We must also refuse to allow ourselves to be sucked into the craziness of online speculations, charges, and counter-charges, avoiding the paranoia and fear that abound in today’s public square.
Staying on the Right Path
The patriots surrounding me at the rally reminded me of people I see every day in the streets and shops here in Front Royal, Virginia: decent folks of all ages, races, and creeds who work hard and who appear to lead virtuous lives. Like my fellow Virginians, those I encountered in D.C. struck me as men and women who hold down jobs, who love their families, who believe in law and order, and who honor the Constitution.
If we are to make our way through the coming storm, we must stick to our principles and try in our personal lives to live well and righteously. Some of us, perhaps most of us, have fallen at times in the past, but given the challenges ahead, now more than ever we must practice moral rectitude, both to keep our own souls intact and to inspire others around us.
Keep the Faith
In times like the present, circumstances can tempt some believers to lose faith in God. The shutting down of church services for so many long months has doubtlessly damaged the spiritual practices of some of the devout, and some in the media and in our culture will likely continue to attack and denigrate religious faith.
But now is precisely the time—and I’m directing these words at myself as well as you readers—when we believers must look to God for succor and nourishment. Like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the Soviet gulag, we can grow in our faith in times of adversity. We can deepen our prayer life, and we can join or form spiritual groups that will encourage us in our struggles with the secular world.
“In God we trust” is still the motto of the United States of America. Those of us who believe in God should make that motto our own as well.
These past few years, especially 2020, have opened the eyes of many citizens. To steal a word from the left, we are “woke,” albeit in an entirely different sense. The sleep-walkers among us, those who were going through their busy lives without paying attention to the machinations of some politicians, our big tech gang, and our politically correct and cancel culture radicals, have shaken off their somnambulism and are now conscious of the deceits and intentions of their enemies.
So, now is not the time to give way to despair or to sink into apathy. No—now is the time when we must join those patriots in D.C. and put ourselves body and soul into the battles awaiting us.
Let’s make the good, the true, and the beautiful our banners and trumpets, and never ever give up the fight.
Jeff Minick has four children and a growing platoon of grandchildren. For 20 years, he taught history, literature, and Latin to seminars of homeschooling students in Asheville, N.C. He is the author of two novels, “Amanda Bell” and “Dust On Their Wings,” and two works of nonfiction, “Learning As I Go” and “Movies Make The Man.” Today, he lives and writes in Front Royal, Va. See JeffMinick.com to follow his blog.