I'm sure this item will earn a footnote in a book put together 80 years from now on the rise of fascism in America in the early 21st century (hopefully that book will never have to be written). Conservative entertainer Glenn Beck wants everyone to take part in Fox News viewing parties (5 pm Eastern today, so patriotic Real Americans in other time zones will just have to cut out early for the weekend) under the theme "We surround them!"
I don't know if "We surround them!" is meant as a the cry from a band of thugs that they about to beat the shit out of everyone else, or as an echo to Nixon's anti-democratic call upon the "silent majority." Because whether Beck wants to marginalize the real majority that spoke last November or pretend like he can intimidate them, it's supposed to remind his supporters of their sense of entitlement over the country.
Interestingly enough, Beck even went to the trouble to create a logo, or more just steal and modify one Benjamin Franklin created (I'm sure Franklin would love to see how the great experiment in democracy turned out). In the context of the Revolutionary War, "UNITE, or DIE" (is changing it from "JOIN" to "UNITE" a mistake on the part of a Fox News producer or is it a message?) might have been an appropriate message. In the context of conservatives saying that Obama winning the election means you will die, or any policy that includes a hint of liberalism means you will die, I wouldn't be surprised if it drove some people to violence.
If you're wondering what's up with the messed up numbering, it's because Beck wants conservatives to rally around nine principles and twelve values. Here are the nine principles:
The Nine Principles
1. America is good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
I might be more impressed with #3 if conservative pundits had a better record with honesty, or pretended like honesty mattered at all. I might think that Beck was onto something if #4 led to his unwavering support for both same-sex marriage and "beyond-marriage" legislation. I'd also love to see these folks, in support of #5, calling for investigations and prosecutions in Bush Administration's war crimes. And, if he really believed in #8, I'm sure he was defending people who opposed the War in Iraq from accusations of unpatriotism back in 2003.
As it stands, though, it's resembles a marketing ploy more than a political philosophy. But, then, there are folks who don't see this as entertainment but as truth, which is what makes it scary.
They're scared because America's economy is swirling in the toilet and because they've been told for eight years that terrorists are out to kill them, for two decades that totalitarian states were trying to attack the US, and for the better part of a century that Communism was a threat to their lives and livelihoods. Things actually are getting worse, materially worse, and there's a big part of the American population looking for a way to blame their problems on a malevolent authority.
They're also scared because there's a whole noise machine out there telling them that Keynesian economics won't help the economy - rather, our economic problems stem from government spending too much money, our immorality, and people just not loving America hard enough. So any real attempt to help the economy is another cause for anxiety for these folks.
And there are people like Beck and Fox News who are all too willing to use that fear to their own advantage. There's nothing revolutionary about what they're calling for - lower taxes and deregulation of industry - but they're using Revolutionary imagery because it's one of the few times in history Real Americans used violence and guns to shirk off a distant authority that wanted to tax them that's taught as a good thing.
Oh, and for humor value only, here are the 12 values Bush-supporter Glenn Beck wants Real Americans to stand up for: