This past weekend saw not only the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” it saw the “Restoring Honor” rally take place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Led by FOX News’ Glenn Back and former VP hopeful Sarah Palin, the rally was attended by thousands. The crowd amount itself has been heavily disputed, estimates ranging from the tens of thousands to 500,000. It was more a patriotic than political affair, focusing on the love of country and God rather than the anti-Obama rhetoric Beck, Palin and their cohorts have become known for.
Political rallies of late have either been for or against the current administration, with the seemingly ever-growing Tea Party at the political demonstrative forefront. Their recent rallies have been about speaking out against government spending and taxation, attendees proclaiming the President to be a Muslim and a communist, amongst other things. Not much has come of them, other than that they’ve received large amounts of press, both good and bad. If nothing else, they’ve become public spectacles of colorful signs and shouting matches, and really haven’t done anything to further their cause at all. It seems as if their only reason for protesting is to make signs, wear funny hats and get on television.
Political rallies are representative of a group’s particular beliefs, and not representative of the country as a whole. It’s unfair to take them for an explanation in how the country votes; the only election practically guaranteed to draw the largest of numbers are presidential elections. People coming out and openly expressing their beliefs for or against something do not explain the outcome of an election. In fact, they hardly do anything at all but garner press for one ideological idea.
What we’re seeing with the “Restoring Honor” rally is simply the faces of Beck’s most ardent fans. His audience is the FOX News faithful. Consider how big their audience is, and assume many of the voting-eligible might vote in the 2010 midterm elections. Remember that midterm elections don’t draw the large numbers presidential elections do. What’s up in the air is what the Democrats will try to do to win or regain voters.
Whenever a president has his first midterm elections, there is always an electoral swing in the other direction. It’s expected that Republicans will win back seats in the House and Senate; the question is how many and by how much. The country politically is in a state of flux right now; it’s hard to assume anything really. As much as we’re hearing about Tea Partiers and the Republican Party, we’re not hearing about the other side. That could be because of all the ploys they’ve had to get attention. If they want to hold rallies to help dissuade the results of an election, they should be doing more than holding holdings signs and calling names. They should be coming up with fact-based ideas on how to change policies and participating in other political discourse than rallies.
Greg Sargent, “Was the Glenn Beck rally turnout really that impressive?”, the Washington Post
Brian Montopoli, “Tea Party Protestors Rally Against ‘Gansgter Government'”, CBSNews.com