Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Peasants Revolt--But They're Neat

This is a breathtaking view of the National Mall, looking from the Lincoln Memorial toward the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This is the way the Mall looked before the Glenn Beck "Honor Rally" took place. It's pretty much the way it looked after the rally as well. A crowd estimated to be between 300,000 and 500,000 Americans attended the rally to hear speeches, sing, and join in prayers for the restoration of honor in America. Oh, and to clean up after themselves.

Ordinarily, after a gathering of liberals and special pleaders wildly indignant about something (or everything), the mall looks like it was hit by a combination of Hurricane Katrina and the Great San Francisco Earthquake. Not this time. The people at the restoring honor rally are a different breed. They love America, they want to see her back on top and proud of her traditions, and they showed it in one way by leaving a great national monument in better condition than they found it.

Neatness is not necessarily a sign of patriotism or honor, but respect for the location of a massive number of American national treasures is. The people at the rally were courteous, respectful, and even hugely tolerant of angry dissenters who attempted to disrupt the rally or provoke a violent incident that they could feature on FaceBook and YouTube.

The New York Times conducted a survey earlier this year which found that "Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, but are no less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class." The restoring honor rally certainly had a large contingent of Tea Party adherents, though it was not a Tea Party rally. The attendees were tired of being overtaxed, underrepresented and patronized by the Obamists and other leftists. But unlike previous rallies from the other side, the people at this rally were largely positive rather than angrily railing against some perceived injustice.

These rally supporters are peasants, but only in the sense that they are not leftist nobility nor Obamist royalty. In fact, they are the very heart of America--the middle class. There were rich and poor alike at the rally, but it was more than anything else a middle-class gathering of people who just want to be allowed to live honorably and productively, as free of government control and intervention as the Constitution will allow.

The rally people weren't terrifying, or an angry mob, or a special-pleading gang of thugs like so many of the previous gatherings at the Mall. They were sober, thoughtful, yet enthusiastic. They were not the least bit embarrassed by their own religiosity, patriotism and pride in America. They threatened nobody, unless you count the leftists and ultraliberals facing a huge defeat in the upcoming November elections. Their message was clear--less government, fewer taxes, more bureaucratic restraint, the right to succeed on their own, the right to fail on their own without government assistance, and most of all, the return of honor to the American body politic.

Far better than any specifically political rally, this get-together made a deep and abiding impression that the Republican Party could do well to learn from. And if Republicans want to bring them into the Party and keep them, they had better realize that whatever they promise they had better deliver. There were a few Democrats, a lot of Independents, and many unaffiliated at the rally, most of whom will likely vote for Republicans in November only because the Republicans appear to believe the same things the rally people believe.

If the Republicans betray those beliefs after getting elected, they should prepare for an even bigger Democratic resurgence in 2012. The people at the rally are about honesty and honor, and a broken promise is both dishonest and dishonorable. These are not people who will easily forgive or forget a promise made with no intention of performing on it. They will gather, hold rallies, expose the unkept promises, name names, and, of course, clean up after themselves.


Joel Farnham said...

Good article. One thing I think won't happen. I think they won't be going back to complacency anytime soon. The Republican Establishment/Royalty better be prepared to look for new jobs. Either that or learn to comply with the new wave of people swelling their ranks.

Tennessee Jed said...

in this instance, I am pretty sure we can discount the lowball 300,000 figure since it was used by MSNBC and we know their motivations. You are right, though, about
Republicans getting booted out just as quickly if they betray their mandate. I am not naive enough to understand their will always be some compromises required. Washington will not magically reinvent itself.

StanH said...

It was a truly remarkable gathering of “real America.” These were the people that quietly toil too better their lives, and the lives of their families, too deliver on the promise of the American dream, for their children and grandchildren…which by the way still exists. I agree with Joel in the regard that, we’re not going away this time, and a resurgence in conservatism is here to stay for the near future (thanks Barry). What we saw on the mall is the Reagan constituency, it’s always been there, just simply ignored by the ruling class in Washington, starting with Bush I, and temporarily used in ’94. We scare the hell out of statist Washington, we’re not takers, but givers, we’re not Sec.8 slaves, but independent home owners, business owners - - the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker, we’re the heart, and blood that courses through this great country, that makes America the USA. Washington knows full well if we quit what we do, the country will cease to exist. I’m not a particularly religious man, but I firmly believe in our Judeo-Christian foundation, these principles are imperative to our continuing greatness, and as Beck stated, we are in the middle of an awakening, and “The Black Robe Brigade,” can shine the way again. We clean up, because of pride of ownership, that mall really belongs too us.

BevfromNYC said...

Well, I was always taught that neatness counts. The 9/12 Rally next weekend will be just the same. There will be no trash left behind except those in Congress (but then their days are numbered). It's our trademark and why it is so easy for Tea Party groups to get permits. The Police LOVE us because we don't cause trouble. The Sanitation Departments however not so much. No overtime. But it shouldn't be THAT hard to understand why - we are the taxpayers and we understand that it's our tax dollars that would be used for the clean up. That's the difference with say the 2009 Inauguration crowd. They see it as our tax dollars so let the gov pick up the tab for clean up. We say it's our tax dollars, so we can clean up after ourselves, so those dollars can be wasted someplace better - like liquor for Pelosi's plane rides.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the movement after the midterms and after January once order and balance is restored. Will all of these people slip back into their zone of comfort or continue to hold our representatives' feet to fire.

Unknown said...

Joel: The number of traditional, overly accommodating Republicans who are getting bumped off or given a serious scare during the primary season will probably have a strong effect on what those who are elected in November do. Let's hope they get the message permanently, and not for just one election cycle. We could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory rather quickly--just in time for the presidential election, if we're not constantly pushing Republicans to act like Republicans.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I suspect the higher number is closer to correct, but 300,000 ain't exactly chopped liver.

Politics is often described as the art of compromise. The wisdom is in knowing the difference between compromise and consorting with the enemy.

Politics is also the art of the possible, so reasonable compromises will have to be made. Even if the Republicans take both houses of Congress, there is still a limit to what they can accomplish with a Eurosocialist in the White House. If they can simply roll back the major provisions of Obamacare, and prevent any further growth in the federal leviathan, they will have accomplished a great deal.

One of the points I hoped I was making is that Republicans need to make promises and keep them. What would be dangerous is to over-promise then be unable to deliver. It will take at least a full two years just to return to the status quo ante bellum.

Unknown said...

Stan: Were you thanking Barry Goldwater or Barry Obama? LOL

One can be religious without being "churchy." Reagan was a perfect example. He deeply believed that God blessed our nation and that we should do Him honor in return by acting as a good and moral people. Most of the Founders had the same beliefs.

You hit on a very important point. It's a mall that belongs to the American people, and the left has forgotten that most of those Americans take care of their own property as well as the property that belongs to all of us in common.

Unknown said...

Bev: I do know that the trash-collectors' unions don't like the Tea Party for many reasons, one of which is the lack of overtime after a major event.

Your rhetorical question is indeed also my biggest worry. Complacency undid the 1994 "Republican revolution" and it could happen again. The price of freedom (and holding onto Congress and taking the White House) is eternal vigilance.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Bev and Lawhawk: regarding the question of whether the movement will continue strong or fade away, I think it will be the former. Almost universally, when a tea party person is interviewed, his/her typical response is "I never did anything political in my life, except vote." For that kind of person, who saw that things were bad enough that they absolutely had to get personally involved, that kind of sentiment doesn't fade easily in my opinion.

I'm now one of those so-called "Jim DeMint disciples." It is going to be even more important for me to work to get more people like him in Congress. I can't see myself ever becoming "fat and happy" about politics ever again.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Regarding the tea partiers' tendency to pick up after themselves, maybe it has a lot to do with owners vs. renters. Like the classic quote, "I'm conservative because I have something to conserve," the people who care most about government adhering to the constitution probably also own property and therefore have a stake in something. As I walk up and down the streets of my neighborhood in Pittsburgh, it is mostly the owners who take the most pride in their yards and their homes. When you see litter in front of a house and unkempt yards and home fronts, it is almost always rental property. There will always be exceptions, of course, but I think pride in ownership has a lot to do with how people treat other peoples' property.

Di said...

The way the mall was left by the attendees of this rally reminds me of the Scouting principle of "leave no trace". This week in my Cub Scout den meeting, we talked about citizenship. I asked the boys to tell me some ways they can be good citizens. The first answer they shouted out was "pick up litter". Taking care of things shows a level of pride and respect, and as Pittsburgh indicated - ownership.

Unknown said...

Enigma: Well said, on all points. Hard work and frugality that result in traditional home ownership make a huge difference in how people treat their own property. But it also makes a difference in how they treat the property of others, as well as those belonging to everyone. Look at any suburban park and then look at an urban park, and the difference becomes immediately apparent.

I suspect you're right about both the Tea Party and the old-fashioned conservative movements. I think they're here to stay, but we'll need to see which party understands it better. Right now, it's the Republicans, but they have a bad habit of doing just what the Democrats do--forget who their base is.

Unknown said...

Di: That's so true. Pride in ownership is half the formula, but equally important is respect--for yourself, your neighbors and the strangers within the gates.

AndrewPrice said...

I know people love to get carried away with crowd estimates (many insanely so), but even Beck’s low end estimate (300,000) is silly. CBS called it 87,000, which is probably a little low. ABC called it 100,000+, which is probably more accurate. Anything beyond that is wishful thinking. Remember that an NFL stadium only holds 80,000 people and they’re densely packed literally shoulder to shoulder, you don’t get that at these rallies.

And consider that by comparison, only 250,000 people showed up to see MLK’s original speech, and this crowd was nowhere near that size.

The Million Man March was really only about 300,000 and they filled the Mall and flowed over into neighboring blocks, Beck only filled a small part of one end of the mall. The anti-abortion march around the same time as the MMM was actually bigger, and it was only about 350,000, and both it and the MMM dwarfed Beck’s rally. Moreover, 500,000 people would swamp the transportation system, as the MMM nearly did.

Usually organizers overestimate by a factor of 3 because it suits their purposes, and their believers back home multiply that by 3-5. . . it’s just wishful thinking. That’s why the Park Service got out of the game of estimating these things, because people didn’t want to hear the truth and the Park Service didn’t need the fight.

In any event, getting into a discussion of crowd size as people always do is a stupid thing to do because you end up losing the point to your march in the argument over size.

Joel Farnham said...


Over the last two days, Eugene Robinson has told MSM that the electorate is having a temper tantrum. If I remember correctly, last time they at least waited until the day after the election (Nov 1994) to say that about the electorate. Now, I think the Dems are more afraid of this coming election than before. I believe that there is some internal polling that will come out after this election that shows the Dems in far more trouble than is being protrayed by the media.

This is from Hot Air.

I mis-doubt the Democrat Party is going to dissolve.

Some questions. How many rallys have been had at the Washington Mall these last two years? Who has had them? And what are the aggregate numbers involved?

It is almost as if the Tea Partiers can, at will, produce a rally of biblical proportions. This translates, for me, into a great awakening of the electorate and the "Ruling Class" can't grasp the totality of it.

Unknown said...

Joel: I had almost forgotten the "temper tantrum" mantra about what the electorate did in 1994. But I do know that I was part of that tantrum, and that was the straw that broke this former Democratic camel's back. Oddly, it was Hillarycare that drove me out of the party I had belonged to my entire life. After Obamacare, Hillarycare looks downright modest.

So stand back, my tantrum is building, and someone needs to shout "thar he blows!"

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