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8/28 vs. 10/2: Dueling Faith Traditions

by Christopher Chantrill
October 09, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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IT’S pretty obvious that the One Nation rally held at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, 10/2, was in every way the left-wing version of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on 8/28.

Just as Glenn Beck’s rally was a celebration of the Judeo-Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, American exceptionalism, and self-purification, the One Nation rally was all about the classic left-wing faith in the liberation of the victims from the oppressor.

One rally had faith in the idea that “we,” each of us, has a problem. It is up to us, by admitting our faults, our sin, to remake ourselves into the best we can be. We must each fight the demons within to become worthy citizens.

The other rally had faith in the idea that “they,” society, has a problem. If only it weren’t for exploitation, injustice, the powerful, then we could all live in harmony. So we must fight for the people against the powerful.

You could say that each of the two faith traditions caters for one of the two basic human personality types: those who think that they have a problem, and those who think the world has a problem. Not surprisingly the 8/28 folks, who believe that they have a problem, left a lot less litter on the Mall than the 10/2 folks, who believe that America has a problem.

President Obama, of course, belongs to the 10/2 tradition. He thinks that society has a problem. In his faith tradition, the idea of struggle for liberation is front and center, as he explained to students at Madison, Wisconsin, on September 28, 2010.

In every instance, progress took time. In every instance, progress took sacrifice. Progress took faith. You know, the slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, they weren’t sure when slavery would end but they understood it was going to end. When women were out there marching for the right to vote, they weren’t sure when it was going to happen but they kept on going. (Applause.) When workers were organizing for the right to organize and were being intimidated, they weren’t sure when change was going to come but they knew it was going to come.

These are the basic stories that every Democratic speaker uses, and they tell a narrative of struggle against The Man. Notice the curious assumptions made by the president. The slaves are sitting around singing; the women are going around marching; the workers are going around organizing. They are all waiting for change to happen. These victims do not ever expect to effect change by their own effort. They just expect it to happen. They are waiting for the community organizers to do the heavy lifting.

Strictly speaking the 10/2 faith tradition that the president and his left-wing supporters share is the more realistic. It is certainly more traditional and ancient. From the beginning of the agricultural age, man has oppressed man, because the only thing that mattered was arable land. You had to fight to get it, and you had to serve the warrior class who would defend it. Right through the agricultural age, people that worked on the land were universally exploited and oppressed. So people arriving in the city from the country look for a powerful patron; they know that the party boss will exploit them, but they also hope he will protect them.

The 8/28 tradition is the new and radical tradition. It says that the world is run by a providential God who loves humankind and wants us to thrive. It is not really a dog-eat-dog world after all; it is a world in which aspiring young people can learn a skill, offer it to the world, and expect to thrive. How crazy is that!

As I wrote last week, some folks in the Democratic Party are worried that there aren’t enough victims to make up a lasting majority coalition. They want to appeal to the sweet spot in the electorate, the aspiring middle class, and they are troubled by the current Democratic policy mix that is heavy on top-down big government and bottom-up dependency.

It’s hard to believe that the aspiring middle class would be impressed by the lefty love-fest at the 10/2 rally. No doubt that’s why Americans for Prosperity put out a YouTube video of the event that had “socialism” in every frame. In case you missed the point, the audio featured the Red Army chorus singing the Soviet national anthem.

Of course the battle between 8/28 and 10/2 will never be over. But it’s comforting that Glenn Beck’s crowd covered a lot more ground at the Mall than the SEIU crowd.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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