Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally fell short of its 100,000 attendance goal. Does that mean it didn’t work? Did honor not get restored this weekend?
Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally drew an estimated 87,000 attendees with a margin of error of plus or minus 9,000 people, which means it fell below Beck’s prediction that at least 100,000 people would show up.
This may be because there was no actual “cause” to rally behind. Beck is that consummate rebel without a cause whose rally was so vague in its purpose that it devolved in perception into simply a gathering of predominantly white people insisting that the top tax bracket for those earning over $250,000 be lowered just a few notches.
Glenn Beck as a conservative entertainer employs the same confusing self-loathing rhetorical device that his counterparts in politics like Sarah Palin like to employ—Beck is a media entertainer who hates “the media,” just as Palin is (or was, rather) a government official who hates “the government.” Taking the stage, mocking what he considered to be the media’s undercutting of his rally’s significance, Beck said, “I have just gotten word from the media that there is over 1,000 people here today.”
In a more nonsensical jab at “the media,” Beck addressed the broad criticism of his choosing the same date and location as Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech for his rally: “I had no idea August 28th was the day of the MLK speech when we booked it… I’m sorry, media, that I forgot the, oh, so important detail of the date.”
I’ve never understood the logic of politicians on the campaign trail railing about how government can not solve our problems. Why run for office if government can not solve our problems—andy why be so impassioned about the post?
Defending his ignorance of King’s speech is embarrassing in and of itself, but why be involved in media at all if he’s so convinced the medium is evil? Does he honestly believe that of the entire cross-section of media professionals reporting the news, that his is the only voice that’s valid?
This confusing mixed-message may be part of why Beck’s rally drew far fewer attendees than the 1963 civil rights protest (held on the same date) at which King delivered his seminal speech. “Black people should be allowed to vote” is a way easier message to rally behind than “restoring honor.” Whose honor? How do we define honor? And why should we trust a media-hating media mogul who calls our first black president a “racist” to define it for us?
As the “Washington Post” points out, Beck’s rally drew less than a quarter of 1995′s “Million Man March,” which was launched without Beck’s considerable funding prowess in the pre-internet era of 1995 to protest a Republican majority in Congress.
If Glenn Beck were truly galvanizing a populist movement in this country, with the benefits of communication afforded modern-day media mavens, he should have been able to draw way more than 87,000 people.
As it turns out, broad-scale xenophobia and lower taxes for the super-rich might not be quite the values of “honor” Americans are looking to restore right now.