Yesterday, conservative radio and Fox News host Glenn Beck held his "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington D.C. The Washington Post reports that, from the Lincoln Memorial, "he championed a religious brand of patriotism and called on the nation to recommit itself to traditional values he said were hallmarks of its exceptional past." Beck said, "Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God."
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was rapturously received, telling the crowd, "We must not fundamentally transform America, as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor," and, "Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet, and you can’t take that away from me." While the rally was supposedly nonpolitical, many were thinking politics: One person told the WaPo, "Both of us are unhappy with the perception Obama is apologizing for everything we ever did," while wearing a shirt with the slogan "Does the Constitution say we the sheeple?"
According to the Wall Street Journal, "The organizers did not appear to have planned for a crowd so large. Thousands sat on patches of lawn out of sight of the few Jumbo-trons that displayed the action on the stage. Several times, portions of the crowd, unable to hear the speakers, chanted 'louder, louder.'" No estimates for the crowd were given (the National Park Service declines to do so), but it's believed between 300,000 and 500,000 The NY Times spoke to one attendee who seized on religious reasons for her presence yesterday:
Becky Benson, 56, traveled from Orlando, Fla., because, she said, “we believe in Jesus Christ, and he is our savior.” Jesus, she said, would not have agreed with what she called the redistribution of wealth in the form of the economic stimulus package, bank bailouts and welfare. “You cannot sit and expect someone to hand out to you,” she said. “You don’t spend your way out of debt.”
Thus sayeth the Lord unto his people, "Thou shalt not follow Keynesian economics. Thou shalt give to the rich, for their generosity will trickle down to you."
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who questioned Beck's attempt to reclaim the civil rights movement, held his own, smaller rally in D.C. He said, "We come here because the dream has not been achieved. We’ve had a lot of progress. But we have a long way to go."