I like Glenn Beck. I think he is a smart guy who has been through a lot in his life, much of it by his own hand. He has found a faith that I don't share--I mean, I'm not Mormon. I am a Christian, so I think I understand the depths of his love of God. And we both look to the Bible for our guidance and understanding. (Okay, I could digress a lot here but I'm going to focus on the rally.) I also think Glenn is over the top quite frequently, and I think he knows it too. He believes that a huge portion of the population is blind or sleeping, and this is his way of grabbing us by the lapels and shaking us.
I think he's wrong some of the time. I think he goes too far on plenty of occasions. And I'm pretty sure he'd agree with me on all of this. But most emphatically I don't look to Glenn for a messiah figure, or even a Moses figure. I don't look to him to form my worldview, and I don't do things just because "Glenn says."
So, when this guy I listen to on the radio says "Come to D.C." I didn't jump. But I thought about it and prayed about it for a while. Last Sunday, six days before the rally, we bought our plane tickets and got our hotel reservation. Here's why:
- I was curious. Glenn had played this one close to the vest, not really saying what this would be. I wanted to see it.
- I wanted to be a part of a message of concern and encouragement. The country feels unhealthy right now. I don't mean Washington. I'm talking about the culture. Sometimes it feels like my friends and I are the weird ones, the ones who believe in traditional marriage, who think that everything that feels good isn't necessarily good for us. The ones who want to take care of our neighbors because that's what people do. This small group...we're not the only ones, are we?
- I wanted to be heard. This is the same reason we went to the national Tea Party on 9/12 of last year. The actions our government is taking, like universal health care and the refusal to prosecute the Black Panther voter intimidation case, feel foreign, deeply un-American, to me. So that was a political motivation for me.
- I feel afraid of the path our country is on. I was looking for comfort and reassurance. I got that by the ton at the Tea Party last year, and I wanted to go back to the well for more. Political? Kind of. More cultural--like, I am not the only one who thinks we're driving off a cliff.
- I didn't want to miss out. I thought--what if something really wonderful comes out of this? I want to say "I was there when..." and not "Wow, I wish I'd been there."
So we went. We met people from all over the country who had gathered. It was what I expected and nothing I expected. My DH and I left feeling challenged, with plenty of ideas to mull for a while.
Two more things to say: first, it was emphatically NOT political. Plenty of lefties will say that's not true, but I listened with ears ready to catch anything. I heard something approaching politics twice: first, a reference by Sarah Palin to a phrase that is used by the Obama administration. Frankly right now I can't remember it, but I remember thinking "Oh, there it is" when she said it. Second, there was only one reference to Islam, in mentioning "Churches and temples, synagogues and mosques" toward the end. There were no imams in sight and no reference to needing to respect Islam. I have my thoughts on that subject so I actually had no problem with this lack of "inclusiveness."
Second, it felt healthy to hear public readings of the Bible and "American Scripture," the Declaration of Independence and the writings of the Founding Fathers and other Patriots. I remember hearing the Gettysburg Address last year, on 9/11, and crying buckets because it spoke to our battle now. Glenn read it out loud at the Rally, and it was moving there, too. Try to find a recording of it and listen with ears to what it says NOW. I believe Lincoln was touched by God when he wrote that. The Bible readings were about restoring, rebuilding, and were mostly Old Testament. They were an encouragement.
I hope I've shared a little of our motivation for attending the rally. Was I satisfied with it? Well, I've certainly got a lot to think about.