Delusional bigot draws massive crowd of delusional bigots
AN EMBEDDED REPORT FROM GLENN BECK’S “RESTORING HONOR” RALLY BY TYLER BASS
AUGUST 28, 2010 — As America declines, so does its sanity. The crazy has coalesced alongside the Tidal Basin and the Lincoln Memorial, DC. A delusional, racist demagogue has drawn about 200,ooo delusional, racist idiots, for a “Restoring Honor” rally. It’s a historic day in America. It’s an historic day in Britain. It’s the first time since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his inspiring “I have a dream” speech in ’63 — on this same day, in this same spot — that a white man has had the unashamed bigotry, cognitive dissonance and unchecked megalomania to squat over that inspiring dream and take a massive, steaming shit.
Those who camped out for Glenn Beck’s jingoist revival were not lucid dreamers. They are an uneducated and devastatingly stupid sect of the white majority, who fancy themselves existentially threatened by some swarthy other. To them, our president is counted among that melanin-rich horde of ill-defined evil. Squeezing my way through the lawn chair pews, I felt like I was inside the film Jesus Camp.
Going into this situation with a beard and long hair made things really interesting, but I wouldn’t try it again. One guy I met, Chris, who would stress to me the importance of removing the tax burden from the highest-income tax earners, and who called himself a Christian, told me that I was likely to get more interesting answers if I looked like some radical hippie freak. In hindsight, I agree.
When I first arrived, I immediately recognized Chase Whiteside of New Left Media just on the north side of the World War II Memorial with his Bob Barker-esque microphone. Chase was stoically nodding to a woman in a lawn chair. When I saw that he was done with an interview, I called out his name. His camera guy spoke out the side of his mouth like a ventriloquist to indicate that he couldn’t talk. Chase and I spoke for a minute, and I asked him how things were going. Chase looked relatively clean-cut, and I think it affected the answerers’ candor, particularly their claims about Islam [Right click, open in new tab; sorry-The incompetent BEAST tech team].
I was caught up in the act of assessing the crowd when I noticed that Sarah Palin said something about “not retreating.” The audio was a little bit difficult to take in between the rows of speakers because of the slight delay between them. On the way toward the Lincoln Memorial at the height of the event, occasionally people would identify similar clothing and stop and talk. Anyway, at that “not retreating” line, the people around me only applauded when the most fervent at the front of the crowd applauded.
After all of this time, after Palin’s resignation, it was amazing to see a crowd of that size in DC to hear her speak. To several people, I asked the question: “If Sarah Palin had become vice president, do you think that Glenn Beck would feel he had less to complain about? And would he then actually complain less?” A couple of respondents, each wearing Restoring Honor-related garb, immediately responded to the question with an assertion that they didn’t want to talk about Palin or rather “politics.” One woman insisted that the event was not political, but that her own father’s being a prisoner of war in World War II helped inspire her to come. Nonetheless, I got what she was saying. In Washington, this term is known as “playing politics.” You can pin it to any issue, and it just attaches a vague sense of frivolity to an opponent’s stance. (e.g. – “Candidate A is playing politics with [insert issue here].”)
Most of the people there had at some point voted, and voted Republican. But this event was more about the Fox News Channel than the Republican Party per se.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie made it down the event himself. He conducted a set of interviews that were generally very sympathetic. Reason’s edit – or, at the very least, their camera operator – was somewhat less sympathetic, channeling the half of Reason completely terrified of a police state run amuck. I’m speaking specifically of the close-up panning shot [Right click, open in new tab; our apologies-The underpaid BEAST tech team] of one buzz-cut man, praying outstretched, left hand raised in the air. The implication was that the man was performing some sort of heil as he raised his hand into the sky to improve his reception of holy waves flying down from sky-god, or maybe just Glenn Beck.
I asked several people what they thought the largest ideological similarity between the people who attended King’s speech 47 years before and those who were attending the Beck speech that day. Several people who had not met each other said “freedom” and “unity.”
The essence of Palin’s speech was that she was merely a humble servant of the people, not in some sort of political role, but as the mother of a soldier. Her words reminded me of Democratic congressman John Larson last week during a conference call with advocates for veterans. He stressed the importance of the notion of philosophically separating the war from the warrior. She was the mother of a combat veteran, and they (presumably the “gotcha media”), she said, “couldn’t take that away from me.” She spoke on behalf of a charity that provides for the education and welfare of children of Special Forces operators killed in combat.
Religion’s reputation for assaulting reason notwithstanding, the crowd’s reviews of the Troubled Asset Relief Program — which was a Treasury raid by the highest-income earners and wealthiest individuals, some of whom intentionally caused their own businesses to fail in order to take advantage of huge subsidies — were generally more than fair compared to the general public. Unlike many, whom I’ve heard console themselves with TARP’s ultimate investment returns, the people who have been following Beck realize that they’re fighting for credit, not their government’s future wealth.
The crowd was much larger than I had expected: I’d say 200,000 overall based on the AP photos that were floating around. And it only worries me because Beck’s patriotism is not only about the aesthetic trappings of 18th Century British revolutionaries, but also their outmoded values. They’ve caught themselves in this media nexus of salaciousness because of the difficulty of cherry-picking historical periods. Beck simply chopped out the thesis for his presentation, which should have been called “When Christianity Came To America.” But, they had a Jack Abramoff-connected rabbi and John Hagee, so it’s at least it’s a pluralistic crazy, right?
I spoke to this guy Chris about Jazz musician Gregory Charles Royal’s [Right click, open in new tab; forgive us-The soon-to-be-unemployed BEAST tech team] statement at the National Press Club during the heat of the 2008 presidential race. Royal claimed that Palin turned him down in 1990. When some of his darker-skinned colleagues came to find him when he was speaking with Palin, something changed in her. “You could see it,” said Royal at the National Press Club in 2008. “The body language. There was a visceral reaction.” Royal says he asked her if something was wrong, and that she replied, “Excuse me, but I don’t mess with black men.”
“But, I’m a Black man,” Royal says he said.
“But, you’re [Right click, open in new tab. Seriously? Again?-The pathetic BEAST tech team] not really Black,” he says Palin said.
Anyway, the dude was pretty sure that Palin was a racist, and went so far as to sue her for failing to issue a proclamation for Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the freeing of American slaves. Anyway, Chris hadn’t heard about Royal’s charges, which probably have encouraged a lot of people to call Palin racist.
Kelly Braswell came with his wife from Shreveport, Louisiana, 1,300 miles, driving 24 hours straight. He says that he’s not likely to hire more people if the government raises his taxes, so I can only presume he makes over $250,000 a year. The “death tax” has died in the United States over the past decade (and is null in 2010), and Mrs. Braswell said [Right click, open in new tab; wow-The pathetic BEAST tech team] that the people who were billionaires and millionaires had earned that money and they deserve to keep it.
A Detroiter told me that he believes [Right click, open in new tab; this is just embarrassing now-The terrible BEAST tech team] that “an eighth of 1 percent” of fellow attendees are full-blown fascists, which according to Beck’s minimum estimate and The Wall Street Journal’s basic estimate of 300,000 means that this guy was still willing to admit that 375 fascists were attending, and he was still proud to be there.
No other self-described Tea Partier I interviewed admitted that Lauren Wills did the thing that’s really been throwing the rally’s most serious critics into a loop. She said that King and Beck were very different in light of King’s proposed wealth redistribution measures [Right click, open in new tab; FUCK!-The confounded BEAST tech team]. And whatever cruel or false things that the media has been saying about Beck, here is a perspective that Fox News Channel won’t air. And this passerby, in the same interview (Interview 5a YouTube 6:57), offered a hilarious response to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s racist, career-suicidal statements about Hispanics and Republicans, saying that Reid had obviously not been to South Florida, which is probably totally accurate.
This guy [Right click, open in new tab; we are so sorry-The highly ashamed BEAST tech team] says that Jefferson was fan of equality, judging by his writings in the Declaration of Independence. Of his conception of the African slaves he encountered, Jefferson wrote in his only book published in his lifetime: “Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” In other words, Jefferson’s views of human equality were roughly in line with Ann Coulter’s.
Jefferson — a man who owned black people — is the moral compass of this crowd. His antiquated variety of “enlightenment” is what they have in mind when they obtusely shriek, “We want our country back!” It’s equality for some in Beck’s America — this shining gated community on the hill. And these poor, racist rubes think they’re on the inside. But they’re not. They could never afford the rent.
Don’t judge these people based on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character. But it’s a character void of content, save for the drivel poured in by manipulators like Beck, Dick Armey and the Koch brothers, who would have them believe they have more in common with white billionaires than they do their darker have-not cousins. These people aren’t just white; they’re green.