My man AverageBro outdid the media this weekend with "What Happens When A Liberal Black Man Goes To Glenn Beck's 'I Have A Dream, Too' Speech?!?" his take on the "Restoring Honor" rally Glenn Beck held in D.C. on Saturday. His "black man on the scene" pieces are some of his best work, combining a no nonsense format with pithy commentary and an abundance of photo links so well you feel like you were at the event yourself.
Common sense would tell you a liberal black man has no business at a Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rally. And that's exactly why I went. Here are my random observations, with lots and lots of photos.
I watched some of the rally on TV myself, and have already put my two cents in over at Big Think on how Glenn Beck failure to be King for a day. The worst thing in the world, if you are trying to watch an event where the main activity is speaking, is attempting to watch this on a talking head channel, where the reporters try to tell you what the person is saying WHILE THEY ARE SAYING IT behind them on the screen. C-Span is the only way to go on these things, which makes AverageBro's account all the more valuable.
He chronicled the crowd size better than any TV anchor:
As much as I dislike everything these folks stand for, there's no need to knock the crowd size. Beck brought em' out. The Mall was relatively packed from the Lincoln Memorial to the WW2 Memorial. This was impressive, and I overheard quite a few people saying "this is more than Obama got". That's obviously silly. The inauguration crowd was probably 10 times bigger at least, stretching from the US Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and beyond. I was there, I know. Still, getting 150,000 (my guesstimate, not scientifically proven) people to show up for lousy speeches on an 90 degree day is impressive nonetheless. Heck, I showed up, so I can't talk. CBS says 87,000 people showed up. I'll take their word for it.
Gave a realistic idea of the number of black people in attendance:
...if you ask me to count the number of blacks who appeared to be there specifically to partake in the rally itself, the number was pretty meager. Seriously. And I walked around probably 2/3 of the Mall/event area over the course of my 5 hours out there. Trust me, I was looking and counting like this post depended on it. If I've gotta give you a total number, I'd guess less than 100. There were probably more blacks onstage singing and giving speeches than in the crowd itself.
And provided an intimate description of the atmosphere:
Every now and then some guy would walk over and pat me on the back (as if to say "See, we welcome black folks too! The Tea Party isn't racist!) out of nowhere, which felt strangely condescending. I got random smiles from others. I also got my fair share of paranoid "Is he an infiltrator" looks, especially when I was taking photos. Just for sh*ts and giggles, I also sometimes passed myself off as a Beck supporter, an was able to get good photos of some truly ignorant t-shirts. But I was mostly just ignored.
Between this "man on the scene" account, and the "#beck" twitter feed, it was like D.C. had come to my kitchen table right here in the ATL.