May 1, 2010

8-28 Restoring Honor Rally

I heard about the rally about a month before, both of them, the Restoring Honor and Reclaiming the Dream. I knew that the Restoring Honor rally was a Tea Party/Fox News/Glenn Beck event. I decided to go to the Fox News Rally. We started walking to the park at around five-fifty in the morning and ran into two ladies who were participating as marshals. “Are you going to the Restoring Honor” when we replied yes “oh” one of them said, we went on to talk about how they met Glenn Beck the night before, he was at a buffet they had and he shook hands with one of them. I thought it was funny they were acting like school girls going to a rock concert, they were genuinely excited. As we approached the park we saw more and more people heading towards the Lincoln Memorial. We did not see any other brown skinned people and whenever we told one of the white people with beach chairs and wearing a flag of some kind that we were going to the rally they always seemed surprised.

When we got to the park we stood out, one of the people on the tape even said so. This was obviously a white event. As we walked through the park the strangest thing happened, people started walking up and thanking us for coming. My daughter was very nervous in the beginning because of how we stood out and people were looking at us. Were there racists in the crowd no doubt about it, were the majority of the people there racist? Since I can’t read minds and going by the people I spoke to personally I would have to say no.

It seemed us being there made some of them feel better and I started to feel better. As I talked to people and asked them why African American weren’t joining their movement they were truly perplexed. I sensed they really didn’t know why because they believed they were hearing the facts from Fox News and the word of god from Glenn Beck. Many people said Glenn Beck was calling people together but the rally itself was a contradiction, there were a light sprinkling of minorities, there weren’t many African Americans but there weren’t any Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, or Democrats, and let me just say the diversity was sparse at the other march as well.

I did notice these people had three things in common other than being white, and that was Glenn Beck, Fox News, and God (as in Christianity). Glenn and Sarah Palin were stars because they believed in god. Some had been listening to Glenn for years many had just started; they referred to his show as educational and inspirational. Glenn Beck, they said was an educator and historian and that he was teaching the people. They said god and faith was missing in history books. They wanted to bring the country back to the “founding fathers” –that meant honor, faith. There was nothing racist about that because some of the founding fathers were black and “they just found that out the other day”, Glenn Beck told them.

They wanted to bring god back into our society, country and government but mainly in the schools. They want to stop spending but don’t know how that should happen, maybe social security, they fear social security may not be there in the near future. They want to preserve their rights, they meant they wanted to keep their money, guns, and do whatever they want, freedom—but were all against building a mosque near the former world trade center sight. They were also not sure exactly what rights they had lost, they talked about things that may come but nothing that was really happening right now. They talked about TARP and the Healthcare Bill as bad, but the war was okay--necessary. They were against corporations and did not associate the rich with corporations.

They wanted more self-reliance and less “socialism”; socialism meant redistributing wealth. socialism and God were the words of the day, as in god-yes, socialism-no and they equated Obama not as being black but a socialist and inexperienced, so he too was a no. I took “socialism” to be the new code word for “black”, but I don’t think that they understood that. I think some really believed Obama is a Socialist, but for some it was a way out of being called a racist. Oh and Obama may also be a Muslim terrorist. Honestly I didn’t like the America they said existed but wasn’t sure I’d be happy in the one they described as ideal.

They spoke a lot about unity and I believed they wanted unity but the crowd was majority “white” Christians so I wasn’t sure with whom or that the controversy surrounding the rally helped in that.

I started to think about the rally that was happening down the road. I was sure that rally was filled with “black” people, when I went later that day there were mostly black people. How was that going to help bring people together? Was that any different than what I saw at the Tea Party rally. And everyone at the Reclaiming the Dream rally claimed they did not know about the Restoring Honor rally. Sort of like the Tea partiers claiming to have no clue as to why people might perceive them as racist. Both of these groups were being “ignored by government”, and exploited by politicians and pastors. These rallies showed me how far the media is going to shape news and opinions. In the spirit of conspiracy I wondered if they weren’t being used by some other entity, let’s say “terrorists”. Particularly, Fox, they have been able to mold its audience’s point of view and control the news of the last decade, as well as influencing all the other networks.

I also knew that Glenn Beck and Al Sharpton were not going to bring this country together—they were too polarizing and they had gained financially from our division.

There are good people on both sides; I don’t think Marlene and Heather had hate in their heart they are just being schooled in a particular ideology. Camille was adorable and walked right up and told my daughter she loved her glasses and the two started to talk. That was a beautiful moment and it solidified my faith in the youth, they were not going to let America down. We needed more individual conversations. The couple that made $40,000 combined broke my heart the fact that they made so little money and took this trip to listen to a con-artist who was swindling them out of their real voices—their vote, was depressing—they were willing to get rid of social security. Chad was a youth just looking for direction, how many of them do I see walking around my own community with their pants hanging low. Both sides are being used and neither is being helped.

This rally let me know that Fox News and the media are probably more racist than the people watching, and may be playing a role in creating racists if anything. The media is aware people are suspicious of differences and they play up our differences and heightens our fears. It made me think of the greatest trick – presenting an illusion as reality, convincing people you are the opposite of what you really are? Like WAR is PEACE. After all, it’s not so hard to get a person to believe in something that is not real, is it?

At the end of the day I have only seen one person bring Americans of all colors, ethnicity, social and economic backgrounds together and that man is OBAMA.

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