“Restoring Honor”: Rally in a Vacuum

Per their website, New Left Media, which consists of Wright State students Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll, “want[s] to continue making progressive documentaries, and continue investigating the rise of Tea Party movement and its particular brand of paranoid and conspiratorial libertarianism.”

What better place to film a documentary than Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.? Their latest doc — a 13-minute look down the rabbit hole — captures what’s become a growing sentiment that America should return to its roots by … um … worshipping Glenn Beck and repeating buzz phrases instead of actually thinking independently?

A few moments into the latest doc, a woman, asked why she’s attended the rally, says, “I came to stand with like-minded people who have strong opinions and similar opinions, and really, to pray under God in D.C.” The following 12 minutes highlight the growing hysteria and paranoia wrought by Beck, who’s become a zeitgeist among the Tea Party followers.

How successful was the rally? Beck claimed between 300,000 and 500,000 attended. (Be glad he’s not a cartographer.) Sky News claimed 500,000, NBC news said 300,000, but CBS — who commissioned a third party to estimate attendance — put the number between 87,000 and 96,000. Compare that to the 1.5 million who attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech.

I’m all for multiple parties involved in the political process. Tea Party, Green Party, Independent Party — whatever it takes to stir dialogue and generate new ideas. The only problem I have is the loudest members of the Tea Party suckle at the teet of pundits and talk-show hosts, then proceed to regurgitate (in fragments) their sentiments about modern-day America, say “I don’t believe it” when faced with facts that obliterate their arguments, and go on being emotional and wishful for a right-wing utopia that never existed. Ever. You can’t restore that which never was.

Speaking of emotions. My fault. Calming down. My frustration is not with the Tea Party, but the first woman’s interview. I came to stand with like-minded people who have strong opinions and similar opinions. That’s too easy, lady. That’s not how change is made. (Proof: The Obama Administration.) The hope I had for Obama’s presidency was that we’d get to a point where we’d cast political affiliations aside, quit keeping score and start looking at issues pragmatically. I yearned for an era of respectful communication, where our ability to listen trumped our ability to talk.

Instead, we rally with those who see things exactly as we do. We isolate ourselves in ideological vacuums and wonder why our country’s stuck in the hamster wheel. Restore honor? Restore communication — and not only among yourselves, Tea Party.

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