or: Martin Luther King would be…Confused?
or: You gotta fight….for your right…to be curmuuuuuuuuuudgeons!
Some relief has come to Ventura finally. I am speaking of course of overcast and ‘chilly’ weather. It as been far too long since I have had a truly Oregon-like day and it comes on the heels of maddeningly hot weather which sparked the wildest of fires in LA County history which is leading me, and others more informed, to believe that this season will be a bad one once the Santa Ana winds start getting going. This brings nervousness to the idea of the budget set aside for the fires. The Governor has assured us that the state can afford to fight the fires…this leads me to ask whether fighting fires is something we won’t be able to afford to do, scary thought. (just imagine firefighters sitting idly by while a house burns…”Waiting for the check to clear before I pick up that hose buddy, just relax.”) I’m getting distracted, the relief has come to California for a bit, at least my part, but in other areas the heat is getting turned up like something fierce. In Washington today Glen Beck’s brainchild, the 912 Project, he hinted at six months ago came to fruition with the help of Dick Armey and his FreedomWorks organization. What this spurs, this event, is what is to come in this piece. Let’s dive in.
I am doing this writing from the bar in a Carrow’s in Ventura California with a Bloody Mary at my side and a Denver omelette on the way with the big time game of the day, 3 USC at 8 Ohio St., running on the TV’s in the background. Here is this hastily thrown together family eatery sits a few folks, chatting the game up, drinking, and all around keeping it classy in sleeveless shirts and conservative views…trust me, I heard the discussion, conservative on 912! This is a bipartisan day, you have to listen to Glen Beck, he knows best. But I digress. In this setting I feel I can best interpret, by osmosis, the ideas and the coverage of the culmination of a protest tour the started weeks ago ending today covering all the same bases the Tea Party covered months ago on April 15th all over the country. This is going to be a maddeningly random and tangent filled piece with serious overtones of great bias and overt judgement.
For those of you not in the know the 912 Project was started by Glen Beck as an idea that he has been championing for months now, that all politicians in Washington are forgetting the founding principles that make this country the greatest in the world and that lawmakers and dirty dealers are fundamentally changing the fabric of this great country and will destroy us all. Beck claims that this is not about party lines, he wants Americans, without affiliation, to stand up like we did the day after the attacks of 9/11 and say enough is enough. Beck goes on to say that 9/12 should be a day of national service and we need to harken back to the unity this country had, and how we were galvanized as a people when we were so viciously attacked. His idea for 912 was to be a celebration of America and all parties coming together for he greater good, but as coverage from all networks will tell you, this was not a party the Dems were truly invited to.
Coverage for this came from all networks, CNN, MSNBC, and of course FOX NEWS. I have to say that with these big three you find, more often than not, that if you watch all three, or review their coverage on their website, you will find balance when all three are taken in to account. This is one of only a few times I will ever say this, but I agree with FOX NEWS in that I think NBC and MSNBC are a bit liberal. I found in their coverage and website video clips, showed certain interviews and sound bites that made the people in the crowd seem a little wonky. “We know the Muslims are moving in” is not going to make them seem like folks that are of sound mind and sense. I think the coverage there was to make the group seem like outliers and calling it a conservative grassroots movement was not in line with the Beck idea and the overall ‘intended spirit’ of the events of the day. I then found FOX NEWS to be stark in their coverage of the event, except for Beck, and using words like ‘patriots’, ‘Americans’ (in that defiant tone), and throwing around words and phrases like ‘founding fathers’ and ‘constitution’. The overall coverage was one of a fond light, and being the idea of Beck, of course it will come to us in this manner. But most interestingly was the very even, and to me, fair coverage of the event by CNN. I think CNN came at this very openly and ethically. There were no weird outsider comments shown, no real slant or skew, so I have to take my hat off to CNN for finding the near middle with a blindfold and a water stick.
But what was the coverage by Beck himself leading up to this? I would like to touch on some glaring inconsistencies that force me to fuel the flames of my distaste for him. I have been watching him recently (keep your friends close and all that) and I can agree with some of his most general ideas, concepts, and I can admit that as a Dem I cannot agree with the choices being made in their entirety. But I have to point out a few things I find offensive in this era of Conservative protest. Everyone knows, according to Beck, that protesting has been the bastion of hippies and liberals that apparently have no life, no ‘busy’ life, like conservatives have in contributing wholly to society, and the area of those skewed to dissent of this great nation. I cannot count how many times the personalities of Conservative talk radio and broadcast TV have bad mouthed and chastised protestors, and those exercising their constitutional right to congregate peacefully, for any reason (read your constitution you are so fond of Beck). Beck, O’reilly, and the lot like Limbaugh, have publicly beaten those that have spoken out en mass with signs, and with a cause at odds with Government or special interest group. Now this being said, the sound bites of disgust by those who were happy and content with their leadership and happy to take rights to privacy and due process for the good of safety from terrorists, give me a fucking break.
What enrages me is how these Liberals, these terrorists in their own right, these people that were told to ‘love it or leave it’ were just scum and now that the Conservatives have something to be upset about, they have no choice but to protest. Where do you get off being so obtuse? You cannot in one breath say that liberal protestors should be publicly whipped and then in the same breath call conservative protesters Patriots and red blooded Americans. This kind of hypocrisy is at the heart of this protest. And this is not an isolated incident, this is now the third major, country wide protest by conservative groups. The previous two were the much beloved, nearly FOX NEWS sponsored, TEA Party protests on April 15th and then the Independence Day protests on the fourth of July. This is now not just an isolated incident, this is the conservatives taking not just a page from the Dems playbook, but completely ripping off the whole thing to ‘make their voices heard’ as it were, and this has yet to be even recognized as an admission of guilt.
How far does this hypocrisy go? Well, Not only was this the brainchild of the likes of Glen Beck and Dick Armey, who just short of took credit for this like his apparent disruption single handedly of the CLinton push for Health Care reform some 16 years ago. Not only was it a one day event, there was, in fact, a caravan of tour buses that began criss crossing the country on August 28th have been protesting and picking people up along the way. Patriots leaving their busy lives as contributing, upright, gun bearing, red blooded Americans to be pushed to the level of protesting so embarrassingly in D.C. What were they to do, according to Beck, Conservatives were content with using their vote as their voice while others were disturbing the peace and encouraging revolt in their protests, and now we see conservatives with signs comparing D.C. Dems and politicians to Nazis, Commies, and Socialists, with an inherent need to destroy all that is good in this country, the America we grew up loving.
The America we grew up loving? Which America are we in love with America? Which Constitution are we in love with? What are the concepts of the founding fathers we are spitting on? Well, if my public school education serves me right, the America the founding fathers were dealing with might be just a little different than the one we have today, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 30 years ago. The America they had was rife with disease, slavery, illiteracy, no moveable type, prostitution, marijuana, tobacco, cotton, and legal second class citizens. Ok, so is it this we love? Is this violent, protestant ideal that allowed inequality and legal violence and murder toward slaves what America should be? Oh, you mean the ideals, the abstract concepts of a government, not the ‘details’ like the landscape of the countries values. If this is the case then, just like the bible, this is all open to interpretation, and if we are really listening to our forefathers, then a violent overthrowing of the government should have been called for by those that were outraged at the Patriot Act and the lack of due process, taking away the rights of US prisoners like at Gitmo. Where should we take up arms, wanna get together in Philadelphia, seems like the right place to start; it’s what the forefathers would have wanted.
I make no concessions when it comes to my feelings, I will not compromise my ideals if I can help it, and I respect the idea that these people out there in DC today were doing the same, but I have to speculate that it was not the bipartisan event that it was billed to be. The conservative groups and members have become so outraged and angry in the debate over health care reform and all the myriad of issues today was about, that they have entrenched most common folks in to not even coming to the table for debate anymore. I am with them, the dems, that it has become a battle of the immovable object and the unstoppable force, which is which is up to you. I mean, who wants to get in to a heated debate with a man carrying an AR-15? Then again, this might be what the whole thing is about. The guy with the gun is the government and they figure who might want to cross a guy with a gun, so they are running head in to whatever they feel like they wanna do. You don’t disagree with the armed, one of many rules learned in the old west. (Is that the America we love that is being fundamentally changed? Wasn’t so bad minus all the TB.)
What I find most exciting and interesting is the response overall to the shoe being on the other foot now. The Conservatives have been shoved right out of power, which was easy given that anyone with a Dem nomination was gonna win, and now they are raging against the night trying to get a foot hold. Now they feel like the ones being taken advantage of, the ones needing protection from their own government. How can I tell they are feeling desperate and running out of options? They are reaching across the aisles! The conservatives and now doing anything to gain a groundswell to in fact put on a national ‘bipartisan’ event to celebrate being American, and patriotic. They are not just holding in their foxholes and lobbing shot, though there is a good contingent still doing so, like the speakers at the event in DC today. By the way, that was not a bipartisan event at all, did you hear the rhetoric being thrown around!? Anyway, they are trying to ‘Trojan Horse’ this agenda on you (a phrase that is a favorite of Beck’s) as some hands across America, but what is really there is an attempt to grab more support, and pull some hope behind their movement.
I don’t care how you feel about the issues at hand, the massive pile of them that the conservatives seem to bring to the table. I don’t care on which side of the debate you fall on or where your loyalties lie, but you have to see the truth in these matters. There is a great amount of dissent in the people, and there are valid points on all sides of these issues. I mean, it is just too much for any one to be truly informed on, what we need in open dialogue and an honest, no shit, assessment of the way things are. There are far to many things at the table and too many different ways to look at every issue. This is the problem that the forefathers never thought of, what happens when revolution is done, rights are still an issue, and the country’s ego has grown more than the means allow for? What happens when a people can’t even remember the last time they got air time for their issues without going right for crazy related attention? What happens when a country is arguing about fundamental changes in a free market that are at odds with entrenched traditional values? I don’t know, and no one can ask the forefathers or their slaves, so we just have to manage. There is one thing though, Conservatives, if you are going to have a protest, learn from the liberal hippies and have the protest for a single, galvanized cause with a clear voice and message. It hard to hear your one voice when every protester is championing a different cause. If you’re gonna be a drum beating protestor, at least do the gig some justice, ugh.