It sounded like a crackpot idea to the political and cultural elite.

Hundreds of citizens, angry about the effects of illegal immigration on our country, would travel down to the Mexican border and do something about it.

The Minuteman Project would attract kooks, said the naysayers. It would encourage racism, they moaned. It would be divisive, others whined. It would provoke violence, some claimed. It would be vigilantism, cried some, including the president of the United States.

Now that we’ve seen the Minuteman Project in action, we all know it did none of those things.

What it did was shut down 27 miles of border that had previously been used as a veritable freeway for illegal aliens and smugglers.

The Minutemen, about 1,000 strong, helped catch some invaders. But their presence served as a major deterrent to many others, who decided to wait until things calm down in Arizona.

I hope it never calms down.

I hope the Minuteman Project spreads like wildfire from state to state so we can shut down the entire Mexican border with volunteers.

I hope the Minutemen show up the federal government, which claims closing the porous border is just too big a job for all the hundreds of billions we send to Washington.

I hope this movement serves to inspire tens of millions of Americans to similar citizen action.

I hope this project is the final nail in the coffin of President Bush’s amnesty plans.

I hope this action brings so much attention to the border that the federal government is literally forced, kicking and screaming, to do its job and close down the border.

I hope when the American people see that all it takes is will power, that they will demand Washington build an Israeli-style security fence along all 2,000 miles of the border.

This was exactly the kind of citizen action I envisioned when I wrote “Taking America Back” two years ago.

The Minutemen are showing us not only how to seal our borders and protect our national security, they are demonstrating how we can take back our country from the political establishment.

In just a few days, the Minutemen have put the national spotlight on the border – even at a time when the world’s attention has been diverted by the deaths of Terri Schiavo and of Pope John Paul II.

I love it. I am so encouraged. The Minutemen are my heroes.

I wish I could be there with them.

These are extraordinary men and women who have taken time away from their work and their families and their hobbies to do something for their country. They deserve our praise, not our scorn. Bush should be ashamed of himself. He will live to regret his castigation of these fine people.

For those of us who don’t go, we need to be supportive of the Minutemen in any way we can. We need to pray for these fine Americans. And we need to support them with financial assistance.

You can do that by visiting the Minuteman Project website. Give generously. They are fighting the good fight for all of us.

Those of us who have to stay home need to make as much noise as possible about the border. We have to be outspoken in our support of the Minutemen. We need to demand that Washington live up to its obligation to secure our borders and make national security the No. 1 priority. Speak out. Be silent no more.

I’m excited by what I see in Tombstone today. I’m re-energized by it. I hope you are, too.

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