Aug 30 2010
Today’s must-read, maybe even the must-read of the entire election cycle, is by Ross Douthat at the NY Times (H/T RCP). The reason is it is a must read is because somebody finally understood what the Tea Party movement is all about, and writes about it with wondrous clarity (demonstrating Douthat’s own skill as a writer):
But after spending my Saturday at Beckâ€™s â€œRestoring Honorâ€ rally on the Washington Mall, Iâ€™m beginning to think that I underestimated the man.
Instead, Beck served up something considerably stranger. This was a tent revival crossed with a pep rally intertwined with a history lecture married to a U.S.O. telethon â€” and that was just in the first hour.
There was piety â€” endless piety, as speaker after speaker demanded that Americans rededicate themselves to God. There was patriotism: fund- raising for children of slain Special Forces vets, paeans to military heroism (delivered by Sarah Palin, among others), encomiums to the founding fathers. There was an awards ceremony on the theme of â€œFaith, Hope and Charity,â€ in which community-service prizes were handed out to a black minister, a Mormon businessman and the St. Louis Cardinalsâ€™ Albert Pujols. And since this was (as you may have heard) the anniversary of the â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ speech, there was a long tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
But one could also call the day a strange, unlooked-for fulfillment of Kingâ€™s prophecies: 47 years after the â€œI Have a Dreamâ€ speech, here were tens of thousands of white conservatives roaring their approval of its author.
It was a long festival of affirmation for middle-class white Christians â€” square, earnest, patriotic and religious.
It was a celebration of America’s Main Street, its right-of-center core. It is the rejection of big government and the Politvcial Industrial Complex that was created in its dark shadow. It was a reawakening of We The People. It is also the remergence of the American ‘can do’ attitude – this time aimed at dismantling the defunct and bloated federal bureaucracy which has proven itself unworthy of limitless stewardship (a.k.a. being the national nanny). It is the greenest of green shoots, ready to take out the choking weeds of progressive liberalism and replace them with the millions of individual lights. The Shining City on The Hill is about to see a revival.