“Restoring Honor” Rally A Lesson In Demagoguery
The very title, “Restoring Honor”, not-so-subtly suggests someone or some thing took that honor away. Without being specific, both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin talk about how undefined forces are at work tarnishing us. Beck says, for example, “Something that is beyond man is happening. America today begins to turn back to God. For too long, this country has wandered in darkness.” Greg Sargent at the Washington Post sums it up nicely.
They played on their followers’ murky fear that a sinister and Godless other is trying to transform our country into something no longer recognizable as America.
When Beck says, “We must turn back to the values that make us great,” the implication is that we’ve lost those values. Do any of his followers even question the premise that America is great? That we still do have those values? No, because they need a target to beat up upon, and that target has to be those entities that took that greatness, those values, away. (Hint: liberals).
And how about this line from Sarah Palin: “Say what you want to say about me, but I raised a combat vet. You can’t take that away from me.” Yeah, so did Cindy Sheehan. And Sheehan also lost her combat vet.
Palin also said, “We must not fundamentally transform America as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor.” We all know who the “some” are in Palin’s estimation.
Sargent nails it:
Beck repeatedly claimed that his rally wasn’t meant to be “political.” As high-minded as that may sound, the real point of stressing the rally’s apolitical goals was political in nature. The idea was to relieve himself of the responsibility to pinpoint who, precisely, he wants his followers to blame for leading us away from God and for tarnishing our honor. Beck wants this all to be drawn by inference — classic political demagoguery.
The intent of Palin’s quotes were even more obvious. Palin, after all, noted explicitly that “some” want to “transform” the country into something that now requires us to “restore America.” She also implied that someone, somewhere, wants to “take away” from Palin the fact that she raised a combat veteran.
This is classic politics of resentment: “They” have nothing but disdain for your values, your accomplishments as parents, your national pride, and your way of life. They want to take all that away from you. No need to say who “they” is. We’ve already agreed upon that in advance. Indeed, if you read through many of the quotes from the rally’s attendees, they understood precisely who Beck and Palin were talking about.Click here for reuse options!
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