Glenn Beck‘s “Restoring Honor” rally today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” had some grandiose goals: bringing America back to God; restoring the honor, faith, and charity of the nation; and awakening America as to the impending political “storm” in our future. The religious message seemed to be the most finely-tuned, leaving the political message aside in favor of calling for Americans to return to churches.
Beck spanned the history of many enslaved people, up until the struggles of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and beyond– describing the construction of the Washington monument and hitting on the history of Egyptian slaves. He warned that, as a nation, America was “about in as good of shape as I am, and that ain’t very good,” and that Americans had to prepare for an upcoming storm that our “soft life” had not adequately prepared us for. In order to prepare, Americans had to go back to churches, back to synagogues, and yes– back to mosques. He endorsed the tithe system and told the crowd to go to “God’s boot camp,” but in order to trust in churches, “we must make sure that our churches stand for things that are good… we as a people must strengthen our spirit.” These points were by far the most significant chunk of the address, and possibly the most polemic, as his political calls were for unity, but he gave no room for dissent in the importance of America having spiritual guidance from a higher power and, possibly much more impacting than that, his insistence that organized religion specifically is the key to “restoring honor.”
About the event itself, Beck noted the size– “It must be a big crowd, because they violated the airspace to get a shot of it” — and the bipartisanship, citing an anonymous Obama administration organizer that had visited the event venue yesterday. He encouraged the crowd to “defend those who we disagree with,” and, as always, to “question with boldness” and not with fear– “fear only wakes you up for a short time.”
By far the most passionate political part of his speech, and the most memorable positive message he gave, was about the power of the individual– something he believed Americans were increasingly losing faith in. “One man can change the world,” he reminded the crowd, holding back tears. Later, even more emotive, he thanked the people who had brought their children to the rally, and assured them that, looking out on the crowd, he was looking at “the next George Washington… they may be eight years old, but they are here.” This was the most political part of his message– devoid of party or individual politicians, but hoping for the type of sacrifice the Founding Fathers gave the nascent nation.
Below is Beck’s full speech in three parts via C-SPAN, and his emotional conclusion (and if you missed Sarah Palin‘s address, you can watch it here):
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