Thursday, September 2, 2010

That Rally

If there is any question about the status of the conservative movement, it could be found in Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally: it is as alive and kicking as Ronald Reagan himself.

Too soon?

Either way, despite estimates of hundreds of thousands attending Beck’s rally last Saturday, there was nothing on display to imply that American conservatism has any long-term usefulness.

More than anything, it showed the triumph of liberalism over everything in the country, even the purported conservative movement itself.

Heeding criticism that the rally could only be political in nature, the Mormon Beck made it about “god.” Only keynote speaker Sarah Palin, whose presence was derided as proof that the event would just be a Republican rally, treaded into the political muck.

The insufferable opening prayer, led by a supposed descendent of Mayflower passengers, alongside a rabbi and supposed descendents of the Indians er, Native Americans at Plymouth Rock, included a petition about Quaker William Penn and this beauty:

“And you, O God, called us to repentance when we did not live up to our creed, and we did not treat everyone as equal. But Lord, we found out that you are a God of forgiveness, you are a God of covenant, you are a God of restoration, you are a God of healing and you have healed us.”

I’m no professional theologian, but if I understand that correctly, Americans didn’t learn about the forgiveness of God by reading the Bible’s account of Christ’s sacrificial death but only after we had enslaved the blacks and broken our treaties with the Ind-. . . Native Americans. Was this conservative Christianity or the liberal gods of collective guilt and multiculturalism?

This display of multiculturalism isn’t new and it isn’t even unique for Beck. In May, the radio and TV host dedicated one of his “Founders Fridays” programs to the forgotten black founders, a pathetic display of unwatchable political correctness.

That so many conservatives lap up this god constructed in the image of America only proves that the liberals have won the race card war. Or as James Edwards says at Alternative Right:

“. . . a conservative movement as willingly impotent as the crowd that came to DC on Saturday can’t go on much longer. At some point it’s going to dawn on them that no matter how much they grovel to MLK and praise his holy name, or how many ‘conservative’ imams they pack their podium with, they still get called racists and Nazis, and their country just keeps slipping further down the tubes.”

So what was the point of this event? Did we restore honor? Did we worship the god of our imaginations? Has anyone bothered to ask how ironic was it that someone like Beck, who is calling for an end to big government, chose to have his event at the Lincoln Memorial, a monument to a man who knew a thing or two about centralization?

A better question, one that should have been asked, is what the Republicans will do after the November midterm elections, where they are poised to either retake the House or at least make inroads.

The clarion call of the Tea Party over the past year has been “Cut spending!” The right course to be sure, but Pat Buchanan asks what cutting spending really means:

“Where are the victorious tea party Republicans going to cut?

“According to USA Today, 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, and perhaps an equal number on Medicare and Social Security. Which of these three will tea party Republicans cut, when Republicans are already denying Democratic charges that they plan to raise the retirement age for Social Security? . . .

“Are Republicans going to go after other entitlements — veterans benefits, earned income tax credits, food stamps — which now go to 41 million Americans, or unemployment benefits that run for 99 weeks?

“The big remaining items in the budget are interest on the debt, which must be paid, and war and defense. But Republicans are more likely to be supportive of Obama’s rebuilding a military ravaged by war, and staying the course in Iraq and Afghanistan, than are Democrats.

“Obama’s budget commission will surely come in with tax increases on personal incomes, perhaps also for Social Security and Medicare. But the GOP cannot sign on to these and go home again.”

The Republicans only stand to benefit from an event like Beck’s “Restoring Honor,” an event celebrating America’s civil religion, one that obviously resounds with the Republican base.

The only question is how long it will take for conservatives and Tea Partiers to realize that to “restore honor” or restore the republic for that matter, will take more than a few hours of feel-good entertainment and self-indulgence.

It will require hard questions like those above as well as a healthy dose of willpower.

If not, “honor” will only be an afterthought.