I watched some of the C-SPAN coverage on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. I purposefully chose that station because it’s usually without a commentator; therefore I wouldn’t be influenced by someone else’s opinion. I tried to separate Glenn Beck’s television persona from the seemingly honorable revival of American patriotism.
Believe me; I wanted very much to believe that what he and Sarah Palin were doing was not fueled by the upcoming elections, or by the anniversary to the day of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I even accepted the words of Mr. Beck himself when asked if he knew he chose the same day that over 200,000 people marched on Washington D.C. to listen to Dr. King speak, and Mr. Beck replied he wasn’t aware of the coincidence. It’s possible that when he began to line up his date to hold the rally that his team of researchers and coordinators forgot to check the historical significance of said date, right? I mean, a lot of researchers who work for people like Mr. Beck often over look details like those. At least, that’s what I told myself.
I had pretty well convinced myself that this was an honorable attempt to revive patriotism, values, and ethics. That is, until everyone started to speak. I think it was Sarah Palin’s initial words in describing the Reverend King’s message and linking it to our men and women who serve in our great military. It had been a long time since I read Dr. King’s great speech, but I read it again to remind myself of what the Reverend Dr. King was speaking about. It was clear. He spoke about civil rights. In fact, in his second sentence he spoke of the Emancipation Proclamation. He wasted little time in formulating his message early, and that theme remained his entire speech. Not one time did the Reverend King talk about our military and the service of our people in defense of this nation. Therefore, I felt it a bit of stretch to try and connect the speech of Dr. King with this event.
Sarah Palin spoke about all men being created equal. So did Mr. Glenn Beck. Granted, the day before Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally Sarah Palin spoke in Philadelphia to an anti-gay group and also endorsed a candidate for the Governor of Georgia in Karen Handel who also believes gay’s shouldn’t adopt children. I found the irony overwhelming. If all men were created equal, and treated equally, than there shouldn’t be an issue with gay marriage. Right, Mrs. Palin? Right, Mr. Beck? There shouldn’t be issue with gay people adopting children. Equality is equality, or so I’ve been consistently reminded of when occasionally turning on Mr. Beck’s show on the Fox News channel and listen to him discuss the Declaration of Independence.
I listened to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece Dr. Alveda King. She says at one point “That we must all help each other and help those being oppressed.” I agree Alveda. She also said that we must “Focus on the content of our character.” Again, I agree. But Alveda, the content of the character of those who spoke at the rally, both Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin, has been oppressive and dismissive in the past. They lay claims to supporting the people yet as the television personas they have both made very different statements about “the people”. These statements point to the content of their character. They tell us that they aren’t as patriotic as they claim. They tell us that they do not seek the honor they stood for on August 28th, 2010. If they did, maybe they would have discussed much more on the footsteps on Abraham Lincoln’s monument.
Maybe they would have discussed that patriotism in itself means more than just taking up arms and risking one’s life, but it also comes in the pride in ensuring your fellow human being has their basics needs met like shelter, food, and medical. Isn’t it patriotic to take care of every countryman? Isn’t it patriotic to protect the education of our children in this country, or the health of our earth and its resources? Isn’t it patriotic to support free medical for workers who helped in the cleanup of the 9/11 aftermath, but now have a serious health condition due to toxins from that horrific day? Isn’t it patriotic to support our troops to come home after years of service in the Gulf Wars, especially since there is no link to Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda or Weapons of Mass Destruction?
What about honor? I think it’s honorable to support our troops. I think it’s honorable to want a positive change for values in our great nation. I think it was honorable to bring someone to the podium at the “Restoring Honor” rally that spoke of donating money for the good of medical research. Mr. Beck, with your $25 Million salary in 2009 you should have had plenty to support this rally, right? Did you really need $600,000 in donations from average Americans to pay for the rally? Where is the honor in that? What about you Mrs. Palin? Don’t you earn an estimate of $100,000 to speak at engagements? How much did you earn for the rally? Since leaving your post in Alaska as Governor in July of 2009, you went on to make over $12 Million to finish the year of 2009. How much did you donate to “Restoring Honor”? How much have you donated, period?
Mr. Glenn Beck spoke of God before his rally, and during his rally. He talked about the divine intervention of God in his life and how God lead him to this restoration of American honor. Mr. Beck spoke of these things on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show. I hoped Mr. Beck would have utilized scripture in his discussion of divine intervention. Had he done so, maybe he would have talked about the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Lord and Savior of Mr. Glenn Beck’s religion Mormonism. Maybe he would have quoted Matthew 19: 23-24 where Jesus said “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Maybe Mr. Beck would have also quoted Jesus in Matthew 25: 41-45 where He said “Then [God] will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.” Mr. Beck did not speak of these teachings at all. Where is the honor in that?
I know folks, I know. I should be thankful someone is trying to get America back to traditional values, but how do we know what those are when they’ve always been in question in this country? I know I shouldn’t be hard on Mr. Beck and Mrs. Palin, but how can I not be hard on them when they don’t embody the values they so clearly preached about? In fact, who does now-a-days? I want the same thing all of you want: I want smaller government. I want lower taxes. I want my freedoms and my constitution to be protected. I want a moral ideology to lead this country. I want a good education for my four kids. I want paved roads. I want medical to be provided to my entire family at a reasonable cost. I want parks to be clean. I want law enforcement to exist as well as fire prevention services and both to be fairly compensated. I want a system that compliments the needs of the people without being judgmental or intrusive. I want all these things and more. I’m aware of the fact that they all have costs. I’m aware of the fact that they all aren’t cheap. I’m also aware of the fact that these two people, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, are not the spokespeople for the average American. They don’t have the answers. They don’t know the path. Like you, I’m still waiting for that person to show us the way.
Until then, I will do my best to be honorable. I will do my best to focus on the content of my character. I will show my patriotism in both support of our troops and support of the Americans who serve our country every day in other ways as well. I will not just weep for the tired, the sick, and the downtrodden, but I will take what little income I have and pay it forward. I do that because I cannot challenge my fellow countrymen to do so if I haven’t done so myself. I do that because my Lord has asked me to, and because of my Love and Trust of Him and the life He gives me, I feel in my heart that I should. In fact, I feel in my heart that I must.
That is how I will restore honor, and I don’t need a television persona or a political figure to remind me of that. Neither do any you.