8.28 ‘Restoring Honor’ Rally – Washington DC – A Review

The Restoring Honor rally was Glenn Beck’s idea.

It was his concept. Glenn Beck was ever present from beginning to the end of the 8.28 Restoring Honor rally.

Not only did Beck speak throughout but he had prerecorded the voiceovers so that as the rally segued from one presentation to the next his voice was like Morgan Freeman’s, where Freeman narrates as if God was looking down upon the earth and his creation.

Glen Beck - Ever present.

Much thought was put into how to involve, to interest and to keep the 'Restoring Honor' participants attention. Glenn Beck and presenters were always viewable and hearable over a very high quality audio system and large video screens spread throughout the Mall area.

A snippet from the Restoring Honor website as to the day’s theme:

“Throughout history America has seen many great leaders and noteworthy citizens change her course. It is through their personal virtues and by their example that we are able to live as a free people. On August 28, come celebrate America by honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future.”

“Join the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and many more for this non-political event that pays tribute to America’s service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.”

“Our freedom is possible only if we remain virtuous. Help us restore the values that founded this great nation.”

I will revisit these themes throughout my review and give my critique.

However, simply yes, the event embraced its theme and did not stray. Partisan critics have already written such things about this event as “Anger Floods the Mall Along with Glenn Beck” … this just did not happen.

If you read my review to the end you will find that 8.28 was a instead a day of anti-anger, anti-racism, and anti-status quo.

There was/is indeed an underlying strategy at work by Glenn Beck and behind 8.28.

Warning: if you take left-of-center knee jerk criticism of what happened as reality then woe unto believers of that alternate reality.

Glenn Beck reinvented himself on 8.28, and I believe that this event was intended to be a boomerang rally: If you wish to believe that Beck is merely and simply causing more trouble then you are wrong. Beck is crazy like a fox. And like a fox you had better stop whining about him being crazy and start counting your chickens. Beck is coming for them.


They came by the tens of thousands.

They came from California and Florida and Idaho and so many different places. The young. The old. One of the networks reported their estimate of 87,000 people coming out for the 8.28 Restoring Honor rally … yes, I can believe that. I came with two cameras and a video camera to document the event.

August 28, 2010 Restoring Honor rally, Washington DC

The Restoring Honor rally - called by some 'Goodstock'

I walked the rally from end-to-end and across the depth.

I have lots of photos of people (many, many more than in my photo album of this event). So many came that there was no choice but to make friends. People filled the walkways, the hillsides, the fields adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial.

People were standing shoulder to shoulder throughout  and between the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial … and from there to the hillside of the Washington Monument were large crowds of Americans that also came for out for the rally.

Video screens help the crowds view speakers

Large video screens through the Mall area help the crowds view and see speakers and presentations.

The Participants

“They” were white America. This was a 99.99% white participant event. It would be generous to say that 4 or 5 non-whites (including Latinos) per 1,000 were in attendance, although that number is probably safe within any margin of error on my part.

Restoring Honor Rally participants

In any direction, the crowd extended the length of the Mall and stood shoulder to shoulder.

It would be very wrong however to say that this was an event for white America. Critics of this event that did not come out and experience this event in person will miss that something very unique and important happened on 8.28.

The core message: the real message delivered on 8.28 reached its intended audience: activist white America. The message was simple: Hate and anger and denial about the past will not win for us in the future. You need to go home and think about what makes America great: Hope. Faith. Charity. The core message was that unless these things are openly embraced then America cannot and will not be great again.

Throughout the day, the majority — yes, the MAJORITY — of speakers and presenters on the platform were NOT white Americans. My interpretation is that Beck (and by extension Palin) is trying to move beyond the combative contentiousness of the Tea Party. Such would be a delicate maneuver to be sure as Tea Partyers made 8.28 a huge success. Ultimately, however, the Restoring Honor rally was not a Tea Party event — either in style or in message.

My belief is that 8.28 was a test of the waters for a 2012 campaign theme. For left-of-center you need to study carefully what happened on 8.28 because it was the launch of a strategy: unite conservative and center-right America by purposely reaching out to people of color.

The Strategy – A Theory

It is a fair question to ask how a massive rally made up of 99.99% white participants could be a strategy to reach out to those that were not there.

Here are my key thoughts:

  • An old school standard of teaching and reinforcing concepts was used: Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Glenn Beck and team managed to keep a major promise: this was not a politicized event. There were no harsh words and I do not believe that President Obama’s name, or even mention of any political issues, was ever brought up. Instead the crowd, many of whom wore t-shirts with the rally’s theme imprinted, were told that 8.28 was all about “Faith. Hope. Charity.” That theme was constantly reinforced by every speaker.
  • Prepare the audience to think different. Whatever story you wish to believe about why the 8.28 ‘Restoring Honor’ rally was held on the anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech is probably true.– Beck says that he did not realize the significance of the day until he had scheduled  the event. Maybe. Washington DC is miserably hot during August. Absolutely sweat drenching miserable. If there is going to be a cool day it will be at the end of the month. Beck may well have chosen the last weekend for the same reason that anyone else would. As it turns out, it was an incredibly nice, cool day.

    — If Beck set out to hijack Martin Luther King’s legacy by holding his event on the same date then the calendar makers must also be in collusion. 8.28 rarely falls on a weekend. I am open to believe in coincidence. I am skeptical enough to believe in planning.

    — For Beck’s critics and for those that love a great conspiracy theory, Beck indeed did not waste the significance of the date. The entire event from start to finish explicitly adopted and explored and embraced themes of 1963’s I have a dream. This included Beck et al telling the audience that just as we overcame the wrongs and injustices  of our racist past … STOP! We have racism in our recent past? Beck is telling us that we have a hurtful and wrongful racist past? Didn’t he know that his audience was 99.99% white?

    — The strategy of 8.28: Prepare the minds of potential missionaries and disciples for the direction that you want them to go! If there was indeed a strategy (my conspiracy theory) then Beck would need the audience’s cooperation. Potentially this could be a tough audience for what was yet to come.

  • Show your audience that you mean what you say. Let me repeat that the majority of the presenters and speakers on the stage were not white Americans. Beck did what the GOP and the Tea Parties have not done: he involved the rest of America. Beck involved people that stood at Martin Luther King’s side back in 1963 and now in 2010 they were on the stage with Glenn Beck embracing “Faith. Hope. Charity.” Beck created a very carefully choreographed event that repeatedly and in many gentle but not subtle ways told the white American audience ‘Think different!’ and to those that did not attend but pay attention beyond the 24/7 network media spin: Beck told much of the rest of America you matter and we want you to join us.

August 28th was a beautiful day and tens of thousands of Americans joined each other. Whether you agree or disagree with their politics I will share this one last thought: the battle for 2012 arrived today, and it may be fought differently than many believe.



Filed under Uncategorized

12 responses to “8.28 ‘Restoring Honor’ Rally – Washington DC – A Review

  1. Finally, an impartial analysis. A few comments:

    1 – Taking everything above as accurate, it seems to me that the proof that this is more than just a 1x Glenn Beck stunt will be in how he presents himself in the near future. This is a huge change from a man who suggested last year that Obama disliked white people.

    2 – Same on Sarah Palin. They might have given her some bear tranquilizer to keep her under control yesterday, but her reputation as vindictive preceeds her. Time will tell, and her case, likely quickly.

    3 – Do minorities have any role here? Or is ‘faith-hope-charity’ a well-disguised Libertarian call to bring us back to 1776?

    • I do not believe that Beck has changed.

      Just watching his television show this week will be enough to determine that.

      However, a soldier (or since you hang with them: a Marine!) is not deterred from achieving their mission just because the odds are against them. I believe that Beck knows that time and demographics are running against conservatives. They may be able to pull off a win in 2012, or not, but after 2014 large areas of Republican strongholds (Arizona and Texas) will find themselves with populations that barely 50% white.

      Conservatives can either breed themselves out of existence or they can choose to recruit new members to their cause. Since they have alienated almost anyone that is not white, and the white vote is maybe 55% conservative to 45% liberal then the clock is ticking. Sometimes a different strategy is needed to achieve your mission.

      Trojan horse anyone?

      • Jim

        This was NOT political. it was not about liberals, conservatives or whoever.
        It was about people. It was a lot about God! God was mentioned often.
        It was about patriotism. I learned things I never heard of.
        Alveda King was there and felt MLK would approve of what Glenn Beck was doing.
        Glenn Beck has men of the cloth on his show and does not interrupt them and try to tell them where they are wrong.
        He shows us how people in the WH are connected and with organizations that are anti USA.
        He talks about our founding fathers and all they did.
        He talks about the Constitution.
        He doesn’t say vote Rep, Vote Dem
        He gives us the information so we can choose for ourselves.

  2. This was truly an important event… and your post is important documentation. Excellent analysis. I plan to cross-post a link on my blog because America needs to read this. I look forward to Part 2 (and 3, and 4, and…).

  3. Thanks Bill. Nice work as always. I am referring people on moonhowlings to check out your review. Can’t wait to see part 2.


  4. Ruth i Virginia

    Some sort of medals were given to injured vets.
    What were those medals? Do they have any true value? What were they called?

    PS – Sure wish Palin’s voice was less screechy; makes it hard to listen to for long no matter what she’s saying.

    PPS – The rabbi at the beginning gave about the longest prayer or invocation I’ve ever heard.

    PPPS – I’m very weary of people who raise their arms in the air during speeches.

    • Glenn Beck created ‘Badges of Merit’: Faith, Hope, Charity. These three medals were awarded to three Americans that had set examples for America.

      The only true value is the value placed on them by the recipient. Assuming that the ‘Restoring Honor’ organization continues in future years then these three recipients were the very first to receive this recognition from Glenn Beck.

  5. I.ve been watching glen beck for 1yr. now .He spends his whole show telling us oboma is purposely is destroying our country.I happen to feel he should look at himself first.when you keep telling people we better prepare ourselves for very frightning times.and get down on your knees now & pray for trouble is comming.also obama will be taking over everyones freedoms as we know it.our country will haven dismantled and we wont have seen it cimming.what kind of fools does he take us 4 .while he’s will say & do anything to make the almightydollor..it’s so dangerous to plant fear&doubt into people’s head.meanwhile oboma is working very hard to get us on the right track.at least he is trying hard to give us hope & faith in our great country.he may be big in stature but he has a little mind i.m not sure he has a heart .

  6. I have to agree with Ruth. The shrill Palin shriek has that chalk board affect on me.

    I am also leery of those who raise their arms.

    Jim, I think you are giving too much credit to Beck and also that you don’t watch him. He isn’t always a nice person. His inaccuracy rate is high. He does politics of mass destruction on people, often presenting information from unreliable sources like Brietbart.

  7. Beck has positioned himself nicely as a “kingmaker”. He knows he can’t run for President (and probably doesn’t want to because of the “pay cut”); however, he is now positioned to set near (perhaps at) the head of the table representing the Tea Party, the Ultra-right and the Christian Conservatives. Those interested in public office will be courting his endorsement. Palin may play the “Queen”.

    The left’s criticism (the Washington Post has astounded me with biased reporting on the “Restoring Honor” event) only makes him stronger with his target constituency. That’s why I don’t expect his TV demeanor to change. He will use the stones thrown by the left to build his Castle on the right. Ironic, isn’t it.

    Think what you will of Glenn Beck, he’s a smart, charismatic guy. Nothing he achieves will surprise me… although his potential to achieve frightens me.

    • Anyone that has read any of my stuff knows quickly that I do not like Beck. I believe him to be an agent of chaos.

      BUT I strive for objectivity and put my bias out for all to know.

      The professional Left miserably have been biased as to what happened at the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally. The professional Left is moving towards a thundering defeat in November 2010 because they are both failing to recognize what angers people so, and why people like Beck seems to be popular.

      For example, one group of antagonists wandered the crowd with a life-sized cutout of President Obama. This was a ‘no signs’ event. These guys played it up to the max that people wanted them to remove the Obama cutout and videotaped people responding when the antagonists launched into rants and loaded questions.

      I do not like Beck. He is dangerous. But there is a reason that I went to the event myself with cameras: to record what really happened.

      What I saw and those whom I met at the rally were polite, disengaged from political discussion, and mostly there to see for themselves what the storyline would be. Something important happened. A theme emerged. Yes Beck wants to be at the center of it. Won’t happen BUT the folks and conservative activists that attended the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally have spread back out over America. They will change it.

      The professional Left will whine for years to come. They had a chance. They had an overwhelming majority. They blew it. The backlash begins in 2010.

  8. Like you, Bill, I neither like or trust Glenn Beck. Only a fool would ignore Glenn Beck (and I’ve met a few fools who think “ignorance is bliss” regarding Mr. Beck and others with whom they disagree). I guess it’s the “old soldier” in me… I just don’t know how to defeat an enemy I don’t know much about. We know from our military service that knowledge about your opponent is the best weapon in defeating your opponent.

    That being said, he may help accomplish ends of which I approve. One might call him a “useful idiot” in this context. I would like to see our Government “tilt” right for a while. I believe all things happen in cycles and the last election took us way to far to the left. Neither answer is good; however, Pelosi, Reid, and Obama are self-professed Progressives… and I want them out. I’ll live with the right for a while as a “tacking move” to get our Country back on course (which is never a straight line to anything). If necessary, I’ll “tack left” in the future.

    Thanks for covering this event for “the rest of us”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s