Cindy and I took the day off Friday to make the drive to Washington, DC. We had made plans to be a part of the RESTORING HONOR rally that took place on 8/28. This was not a political or religious rally, in spite of what the media would like for people to believe. Many of them have reported this would be nothing more than a “modern day KKK rally.” If that were the truth, why would a civil rights advocate like Dr. Alveda King – the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr – be associated with such a rally? These kinds of unfounded accusations truly demonstrate the laziness of the media to find answers and explore the truth. It’s disgusting and inappropriate but, when those on the political left feel threatened by “truth,” they react by throwing around accusations that are lies. I don’t mind an honest debate but I need more than the desperate attempt by those who can’t discredit this event with an intellectually honest exchange. That is exactly what happened with this rally.
I made several postings throughout the day on Saturday via my FaceBook page. I was surprised by a couple of negative comments I received from people who know me fairly well – accusations of bigotry, racism, and intolerance. This is a clear example of people believing the propaganda rather than discovering the truth for themselves. But I was more disappointed that they would believe that I would be associated with that kind of arrogance. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not so naïve as to believe that every organization – left or right, political or religious – doesn’t attract some extremists.
You want to know what I saw, first hand? Americans of all races, ages, and religious beliefs taking advantage of their constitutional right to assemble for a common cause. It wasn’t a political demonstration – there were no signs or political chants. It was a memorial and recognition of the men and women of our military, their service and their sacrifice. A $5 million donation was given to the Wounded Warrior Foundation. It was also a call to a restoration of honor in our government. I don’t think anyone would disagree there is a lack of integrity and ethics found in both major Parties of our government.
As my wife and I entered the National Mall with thousands of other people, no one stopped us to ask our nationality, our religious affiliation, our degree of education, our level of tolerance, our sexual orientation, or our financial standing. I didn’t receive a personal invitation – nor did the hundreds of thousands of others who were there. This was not an “invitation only” event. Everyone who believes that Honor is a value that should be a part of our lives and a part of our government was invited – African-Americans, Latinos, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, GLTB…everyone.
Did they show up? Well, here’s what I saw and experienced as I walked the grounds of the National Mall.
I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Monument with a large group of young African American men and listened to Dr. Alveda King (clearly not a racist) talk about her uncle Martin. She spoke of Americans who are hungry to reclaim the symbols of liberty – truth, honor, and respect. She spoke of why it was important for her to be at this rally. She challenged those who have accused her of hijacking “the dream” by reminding them that this gathering of people is exactly what MLK stood for.
I listened to a group of Latina women speak passionately to the local media about their love for America. They spoke of their gratitude for the opportunities they have been afforded, the blessings they have received in the U.S., and their concern for the future of their children.
I watched a large group of young adults – each one dressed in a t-shirt that read “ISRALIES FOR HONOR” – cheer with those around them about the greatness of this country.
I listened to people pray – to whomever their faith is directed – for the continued safety of our soldiers and blessings on our country.
Did I see anyone from the GLTB population? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing they were represented as well.
“Honor” is not a quality that belongs to a particular religious faith, a political party, or a specific sexual orientation.
How can any of this be bad? How can this be interpreted as “hijacking the dream?” I’m surprised and disappointed that anyone would assume that I would associate with something like that.
I am concerned about the direction the country is going – not left/right, Democrat/Republican. I am more concerned about the lack of character, respect, individual responsibility, and misplaced ethical choices. It didn’t start with this administration but that “hope and change” thing isn’t working out so well.
By the way, I also had the chance to walk by the rally being held by the Reverend Al Sharpton, “Reclaim the Dream.” Large signs had an arrow pointing toward his rally saying “DREAM” while another arrow pointed the other direction toward the Honor rally saying “NIGHTMARE.” Divisive? Antagonistic? Maybe a little racist? I listened to his comments as he spoke of a nation divided by race – black versus white. He said, “They may have the mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform, but we have the dream!” One woman shouted, “Yes we DID and get over it!” Another speaker said the Restoring Honor rally represented “hate mongering and angry white people.” Really? That’s not what I witnessed in the hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall.
One of these rallies was bigoted, racist, and filled with hate-mongering….you be the judge as to which one.