We all get used to things so quickly these days that we don’t reflect on how unthinkable a rally like the one staged on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech by talk show host Glenn Beck would have been as recently as two years ago. Outside the missionary environs of the pro-life movement you couldn’t have found ten people on the right – ten Republicans or ten conservatives — to march on Washington for a political rally. Marching in lock step would have seemed a collectivist act to them, almost unclean and something that only leftists and Democrats would do. The individualistic instincts of conservatives were admirable philosophically, but politically they put the cause of individual rights and the defense of the American republic at a severe disadvantage in the battles that had been joined with the collectivist left.
The gathering of 500,000 conservatives last weekend in front of the Lincoln Memorial was a triumphant step in conservatives’ effort to take back the culture – this is our civil rights march, get used to it! But it was also a historic moment in the “Great Political Awakening” that marks the development of a new and unprecedented activist conservatism in America. This new conservatism began with the Tea Party movement but its real trigger was the seizure of the federal government through electoral double-talk and political stealth by the collectivists of Obama progressivism. There is no figure on the public scene who has done more to educate millions of Americans as to the nature of this neo-communist left than the leader of Saturday’s demonstration: Glenn Beck. It is because of his exposure of the Democrats as progressive wolves in “liberal” sheep’s clothing that Glenn Beck is at top of the liberal hate lists; it is for the same reason that hundreds of thousands of conservatives across the country answered his call. That is the political dimension of what transpired on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Some on the right are claiming that because of its religious, cultural and moral themes, Beck’s Restoring Honor rally was not political. These conservatives are partly expressing their irritation that conservatives like Beck and his activist followers should consider themselves conservative at all. Beck is too confrontational, too divisive. His history lessons are sometimes overwrought and inaccurate – (more overwrought and inaccurate than those of progressive icons like Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson and Howard Zinn?). Conservatives don’t do politics the way collectivists do – as war conducted by other means. They’re too civilized. True conservatives don’t protest and they don’t march.
Well, they do now.