If he only had different political opinions, this photo would be the prelude to a Hollywood movie.
I don’t know his name, but I do know this much: A veteran who apparently gave his legs in the service of his country recently went to Washington, D.C. and took down the punitive structures erected to keep Americans from honoring their war heroes. Then, he took up that barricade and dumped it outside the gates of the White House.
Then, there’s this guy, presumably a World War II veteran sitting next to the barricades, holding a sign that evokes Ronald Reagan’s admonition to Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall.
These are potent symbols, and not just because they tug on the patriotic heart strings. They are great depictions of a new, stark reality.
There’s a new generation of conservatives who will not stand for a government that punishes its political enemies instead of serving its citizens.
You can feel the resistance in the air. Of course, it didn’t take long for the government’s impotent barricades to become known as “Barrycades.” Then, two hashtags flew around the nation like Al Gore on a carbon-footprint reduction tour: #SpiteHouse and #PresidentStompyFoot.
Sarah Palin, in her Facebook post titled “My Call For Civil Disobedience Around the “Barrycades,” calls for resistance, explaining how shutting down the national monuments is different from normal political maneuvering:
It’s beyond shameful to see Barack Obama disrespect and mistreat our World War II veterans so blatantly. Obama’s political stunt to “shut down” their memorial by barricade is to elicit an angry response to generate bad publicity for people the president uses in his continual blame game.
Don’t believe me? Look at the “barricade” at the World War I Memorial.
The difference is obvious. There aren’t any World War I veterans alive today to mistreat in a shameful political stunt. He’s deployed more guards to bar our World War II heroes from their memorial than he sent to Benghazi when our consulate was under attack.
The President is treating our veterans the same way he treated school kids when he cancelled their White House tours. When times called for obvious government belt-tightening, he took it out on kids rather than look for anything that would affect him personally. And while our vets are barricaded from the memorial they built with their heroism, the government “slim down” won’t affect Obama’s golf game or his family’s White House chefs.
In other words, this feels different because it is different.
After the IRS scandal proved the government was targeting its political opponents, we now realize we’re living under a government that actively tries to harm and punish those who disagree.
That’s why these veterans will keep sitting in their wheelchairs, saying the pledge of allegiance, and holding signs the President won’t see. That’s why truckers are rolling their 18 wheelers around the beltway.
If liberals showed up en masse to prove a point, then — of course — the hour-to-hour news would be so intense they might have to interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast of “The New Normal.” The left loves a good protest until conservatives are the ones doing the marching.
No, they might not make a movie about this moment in history. But, for many, the president’s acts represent a turning point. He’s demonstrating that a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is now “against the people.”
And when government is against the people, it’s time for civil disobedience.
Nancy A. French is a New York Times best-selling author who lives in Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @NancyAFrench