If you liked or supported either of these rallies, please stop reading now. I'm only going to make you angry. If both rallies bothered or enraged you, proceed.
I've been seeing a lot of chatter about these two events, in the news, among my friends, and elsewhere. They both represent very vocal and potentially influential political movements in the country I live. I hear Sweden is nice.
At the head of the Restoring Honor Rally was Glenn Beck. He is one of the most skillful showmen of our age, and he's fairly influential in our country. If he has his way, the separation of church and state will be completely eroded and we'll all be using words like communism and socialism incorrectly with confidence.
This is kinda like being on Jeopardy.
Me: "Alex, I'll take 'Sacrilege' for $1000."
Alex Trebek: "Answer, Talking Head Epic Fail."
Me: "Oh! What is... Glenn Beck asking his radio audience to pray for him so that he can let "the spirit" talk through him at his non-religious rally?"
What Keith Olbermann had to say on the subject made me laugh. I don't like Keith, but this was pretty appropriate.
Now, looking at the One Nation rally, I see a bunch of people who are willing to head to Washington DC to petition the government to fight employment. Fine. They want the government to step in and fix the mortgage laws, fix the foreclosure rate, healthcare, and a whole list of other things. Okay. Most of what the rally was about? Yep, having the Government step in and fix [insert random social problem]. Hoo boy.
I am not a fan of having the government coming in and "fixing" social problems that could be easily fixed by people being anything but stupid with money and/or placing a higher value on themselves and their own abilities. Most of the problems they want the government to fix, start with a single person, a home, and finally a community at large. These problems aren't things a large government can do anything about. Lately, our government has tried to make up for that fact by throwing money at these problems. Money we don't really have.
The sorts of folks who showed up at the One Nation Rally are the kind Glenn Beck and Co. like to lump into the Communist/Socialist pile of stuff he doesn't like. Remember in Junior High when people would call anything they didn't like "gay", completely misusing the word? Yeah, same thing. I don't really like the One Nation platform either, but would someone please get Mr. Beck a dictionary or a semester's worth of High School civics class so he understands they aren't Communists?
Beck probably thinks The Mighty Thor as depicted by Marvel Comics... is Communist Propaganda because there's a magic hammer involved. The C in Comics... is the sickle of course. Then there's Thor's red cape... more not-so obvious symbolism. Diabolical!
The One Nation folks want a raise in the minimum wage. That pretty much precludes them being in the communist party. If you look at their platform, the One Nation folks don't even fall under the "socialist" tag. Yeah, they want a weird welfare state, but that isn't the same thing as engaging the socialist political/economic theory for all it's worth. Having your democratically elected government take other people's money away and give it directly to you in the form of convoluted social programs? Just because you think you're entitled?
That isn't socialism. It's just pathetic.
I'm at an age where I'd like to become more politically active, and have been giving social issues a lot of thought. In everything I write, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to both include and exclude my own beliefs depending on whether it helps tell a good story. In my own life I try to be objective and clinical about the beliefs I share, making sure I've got something more than a feeling.
I have a great deal of civic pride, and I love my country, but I have no idea where to put my support these days.