By Rose Pedenko
The plan was to leave the hotel by 8 AM to beat the crowd ahead of the 10 AM start of the Glenn Beck rally on 8/28. Even the best laid plans did not prepare me for the magnitude of underlying anger that would drive hundreds of thousands of Americans to descend on the Lincoln Memorial at the crack of dawn. Earlier that morning, my husband clicked on Fox News to a stunning aerial shot of the event--the perimeter already packed with Beck fans--three hours before the scheduled start of the rally.
I bolted downstairs to catch a cab. It was the cab driver’s 7th trip that morning. He managed to get me within a block of the event and I quickly melted into a throng of humanity.
Suffering from claustrophobia and intolerance to heat, attending this rally became a testament to just how hungry I was for the reinforcement that comes from knowing one is not alone. Standing shoulder to shoulder, sandwiched into barely enough room to turn around, it was hot, humid, and the perfect conditions for me to pass out. But I fought the feeling hard because we were about to participate in what everyone was certain would be a historic event—to start the heart of America again.
What made me fly across the country to attend this three hour event? The answer may be somewhat different than the majority of attendees (at least the majority surrounding me). We were not necessarily like-minded, but clearly like-hearted.
I am not a religious person, but knew that my faith in America needed to be restored. While I know that no man is an island, drowning in the sea of liberalism that is Los Angeles has a way of making one believe he or she is quite isolated and certainly godless. It created a void that could only be filled by experiencing the kind of energy I had hoped to find here.
In the age of Twitter, Facebook and Crackberries, reportage of the event was instantaneous, particularly because those attending knew the MSM would not be covering the event fairly and Fox News had already decided only to “report” on the event (in an effort to remain fair and balanced).
This country and the values it was founded upon were slipping away and being replaced with apathy and the ever-increasing belief by many that government should take care of us. This kind of oblique thinking has been fostered by the inculcation of progressive ideas in our schools; and the reshaping of the malleable minds that are America’s future. Only reasonable, thoughtful human beings care about what happens to the generations that follow after we cease to exist.
Even though the rally was presented as a non-political event, it was clear that anger at our politicians was the driving force that rallied the masses to Washington, D.C. But once there, Beck masterfully redirected that anger in a way that made sense, even if you are agnostic.
Beck was very clear about the content and meaning of the Restoring Honor event, and while it goes against my grain to participate in any large gathering, particularly one with religious overtones, it was important that I hear the message and find a way to synthesize it with my own conflicting ideas about religion.
There I stood, enveloped in shouts of “hallelujah” and “praise the Lord.” Was I in the wrong place at the right time?
There are millions of non-church going conservatives, libertarians and moderate Republicans that might otherwise have attended this gathering. It was not just about Beck’s religious fervor (a turn-off to many), but a way to redirect our political anger in this call for faith, hope and charity. Faith is also about trusting others, and right now we all need to trust in one another to help restore this country to greatness.
Faith, hope and charity are not solely Christian values but they are also virtues learned through common sense and respect for others. It occurred to me that mistakes are being made by excluding those that do not wholly share an acceptance of God through blind faith. Many of us are good people that struggle with our beliefs. We need to be a part of this movement, to stand side by side in our fight for freedom with people whose faith may be stronger than our own.
There is no other answer in this struggle to restore America because, as Beck stated, America is at a crossroads. Who are we and what is it we believe? He asked us to tell the truth in our own life and the truth in mine is that I am honorable and my honor is not defined by someone else’s arbitrary definition of spirituality.
Beck quoted his favorite verse from the Declaration of Independence: “…with a firm Reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Beck also often quotes Thomas Jefferson’s admonition that “if you haven’t questioned with boldness even the very existence of God, for if there be a God, He must surely rather honest questioning over blindfolded fear.” And there, go I.