I wasn't able to stay for all of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally today (I missed Sarah Palin) but I was able to stop by for a significant chunk of the event. And what an event it was.
There were a lot of people there. Walking down from the mall, people were streaming in steadily for some time. Once I got to the base of the Washington monument and looked down to the Lincoln Memorial, it really hit home. There were thousands of people, filling up the area surrounding the Reflecting Pool up to the World War II Memorial, with more people camped out on the slope running up to where I was.
From my view, it was a slightly sickening distortion of the 1963 March on Washington: thousands of people praising diversity and freedom, unconcerned about their vitriol against our first African American president or about the vanishingly small number of people of color in the crowd.
But if I thought the rally was an affront to Dr. King's vision, the crowd was convinced that they represented its fulfillment. King's name was invoked over and over again, and Beck and the other speakers repeatedly portrayed themselves as following in his footsteps. I'm firmly convinced that few, if any, members of the crowd saw anything questionable about claiming King's legacy.
Beck's request that no one bring signs to the event was mostly followed, but I did find one gentleman walking towards the event with a Christian Flag.
Another couple had a sign calling for "One Nation Back to God."
And this person was displaying a flag of his own design, available for sale at FreedomFlag2012.com.
One of the most interesting things I saw were stickers that read "I Can See November From My House, Too!" sponsored by GOPride.org. After seeing several people wearing the stickers, I asked where they came from. They were being handed out at the Metro, and no one seemed to be aware they were sponsored by a conservative gay group.