I’ll be flying out to Washington, DC, early tomorrow morning and will be spending the weekend there. When I’m on the verge of another experience like this, I am unfailingly awash in two conflicting emotions. I grew up overseas as a child of missionaries; both abroad and during the brief periods when we were back in the United States, coast-to-coast travel was an integral part of my life. My mother never learned to enjoy this; my father relished every moment.
Fittingly enough, in my own way, I took after both of them. Like Dad, I get a charge out of skipping town for a few days and taking in new sights and sounds. The journey is rendered especially joyous when combined with seeing old friends and making new ones, a pleasure this particular trip will afford. (More on that in a moment.)
But I think I comprehend more clearly, too, why Mom didn’t dig the travel like Dad did and I certainly understand why she didn’t ever like to see him leave home. No one on earth means more to me than Pam, Carli, Olivia and Madeline…the gorgeous and gifted woman I married and the three daughters that God has entrusted to our care. It seems odd, but I always begin to miss them and feel a sense of foreboding envelop me around three days prior to my departure, whether for an overnight or a trip of several days. I hug them a little tighter and try to be a bit more accommodating to childish requests for assistance or spousal insistence on dish-washing.
In short, I love being involved in conservative activism. It has changed my life and I only look for it to deepen. DC, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh…I love visiting these cities and I draw enormous energy from like-minded politicos.
Yet, there are those moments when I wonder if it might be simpler to just let someone else take the trips, march in the rallies, go to the conferences and write the blog posts. I’m not being melodramatic. I know I’m not alone; just about every political activist who is a family person endures similar misgivings from time to time.
At the end of the day, it is in my blood and it is what I was born to do. It’s as simple as that. I can’t not “do politics” and root for conservative causes and personalities. Or, put another way, I could…but I’d be miserable. I’m grateful for a wife who, though wedded to a very imperfect husband, intuitively grasps this and not only understands, but is supportive of this urge for involvement on my part in the public debate. This is especially true, considering that it often means hours and even days away from home, whether at a local phone bank for a congressional candidate, in another corner of the state, helping draft the 2010 Indiana GOP Platform or sojourning in the nation’s Capitol for several days, plotting strategy. ALL in addition to the full-time job(s) I actually get paid to do!
So I’m jetting off to DC again tomorrow, this time for Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday. I’ll be going back again in 2 weeks for what is shaping up to be an absolutely fabulous event for bloggers and activists that FreedomWorks is sponsoring, which has been innovatively christened “Blog Con.” But I made the decision to go this weekend for several reasons.
I have, over the last year and a half become a committed fan of the grassroots organization, Americans for Prosperity (AFP). They sponsored the Right Online conference I attended in Pittsburgh last year and in Las Vegas last month. The Defending the American Dream Summit is their annual roundup event in DC. Last year, it was held the first weekend in October, but they have moved it up to coincide with Beck’s rally.
AFP has silently mounted an enormous offensive on a number of fronts in the last several years against the forces of reckless government spending and progressive programs, such as the cap & trade scheme and the health care bill. The focus of their latest “November Is Coming” initiative is obvious! You have probably seen their ads on TV and heard them on the radio without even realizing what organization was behind the commercials.
The gang at AFP are my friends and I am so proud of what they’re doing. I’m even more delighted to support them since President Obama attacked them by name within the last couple of weeks. If AFP has registered unfavorably on the radar of the most radical President in our history, they’re on the right track. Click on the link below to hear the audio and see a response ad:
George Will, Michele Bachmann, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and many others will be addressing us tomorrow.
And then there is Saturday.
I blogged earlier this year about how I first started listening to Glenn Beck’s radio show, back when no one except my younger brother knew who he was. I have been a fan for years. As Beck has skyrocketed to a level of media visibility that I contend he never foresaw, his detractors have accordingly waxed shriller. Said naysayers are not limited to those on the Left; they include a number of my own friends.
The digits on which you choose to lock your radio presets are up to you. I don’t watch Sports Center, listen to NPR or spend much time on Comedy Central because none of these entertainment options contain dominant appeal for me. I do listen to Glenn Beck and (far less often) catch his 5:00 PM TV show, primarily because it is a pastime that continues to interest me.
Forgive me if my tone waxes a bit peevish here…but why do I find it necessary to say that I don’t always agree with what Glenn Beck says or the way he frames issues? NO ONE inherits the luxury of my agreement 100% of the time, folks. Beck is a Mormon. I’m a member of the Church of the Nazarene. Beck seems, at times, to border on third-party advocacy, though I’ve never outright heard him say it and he regularly interviews leading conservative GOP politicians like Jim DeMint, and Michele Bachmann. I am a loyal Republican, though definitely in the proudly right-wing tier. Like all talk-radio hosts, Beck sometimes generalizes to a fault. I prefer specific minutiae (sometimes, to the exasperation of fellow conversationalists…including my wife!).
When I question my friends who are decidedly not Beck fans, it seems their main beefs are stylistic, however. As one put it, “I just can’t stand the crying and whining.” Permit me a moment of vulnerable disclosure here: Beck’s penchant for tearfulness has never bothered me that much…probably because I tend to share it. I well up pretty easily, given the requisite circumstances, often more readily than my wife does. It’s embarrassing a lot of the time and doesn’t feel real macho, which is why I completely empathize when he says, “Do you think I WANT to react this way?” Especially given the material of his show for this week, I have often found myself wondering how I would hold up emotionally. A visit to the National Archives last February, where the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence are housed, reduced me to “emotional wreck” status; Beck has visited numerous historical landmarks that resonate with storied meaning, all over the city this week. I guess you could say I get it.
I wish I could categorically state that I disagree with Beck most when he launches into his apocalyptic portraits of America’s seemingly imminent demise. However…how much of what he predicted over the last several years has come to pass? An uncannily sizeable percentage. He has a track record. Like anyone, he’s not 100% accurate, but his assessments of the shakiness of our economy and the impact of the gargantuan debt load we carry, all waged from a layman’s perspective, are tough to dispute.
This is not to say that I don’t, at times, need relief from Beck’s pronouncements. I do, even though I don’t take them as Gospel. At times, the sheer cumulative weight of the conjectures of doom that may befall us if we don’t instigate a course correction is simply numbing.
On balance, however, I find Beck a solid asset to the conservative movement. We are not monolithic anyway, nor should we be. We encourage individualism. Beck fits in squarely with this tradition. Furthermore, Beck’s “University” (for which he has received much unfair scorn), with accompanying advocacy for the literary efforts of David Barton of Wallbuilders, University of Dayton historian Larry Schweikart, Liberal Fascism author Jonah Goldberg and Amity Shlaes (author of the incomparable Great Depression account The Forgotten Man), among others, is a bona fide boon to average people who want to be better informed about our history.
But I am not going to the “Restoring Honor” event because of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin or Martin Luther King, Jr.’s niece, Alveda King or the other celebrities and citizens who will be sharing the main stage, although I am looking forward to what they will be sharing with us. I am going because it is one more way to raise my voice and to stand up for the values that have made this country the noblest experiment in human ingenuity that has ever been crafted. I extend heartfelt appreciation to Glenn Beck for the untold resources in both time and dollars that have contributed to making this event possible, free of charge to the public.
This weekend will be a tribute to freedom. I wouldn’t want to miss it.