I failed to attend Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" gathering at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend.
I thought about going. I mean, America's honor has been stolen. By "Them." That's pretty serious. Someone should do something.
Frankly, I can't believe They would do such a thing. Who do They think They are?
The problem was I couldn't get out of bed. I live only five Metro stops away, but still it would have taken me 40 minutes to get down there, which means that, to make the 10 a.m. start time, I would have had to have been dressed by 9:20 at the latest. On a Saturday.
It was only after I failed to attend the rally that I realized the opportunity I had missed.
Not that I begrudge myself for wanting to sleep in on a Saturday. But it did occur to me that, as someone who cannot even be bothered to drag himself out of bed to confront a proto-fascist movement when it holds a rally in his figurative back yard, I may actually be part of the problem.
I mean, remember America's energetic, determined, can-do spirit? Remember when we got out of bed -- sometimes even before 9 -- to fight for the things we believed in?
Paul Revere. The Midnight Ride.
Well, we've lost that. It's been replaced by an apathetic, affect-less, pitiable laziness. We've lost that energy, that caring, that sense of "I'm going to do what's right for America for no other reason than because it's right for America."
But when I say "we," I really mean "I." I have lost that spirit.
What else can you conclude from my behavior? Here was a threat to our American way of life. A threat to our freedoms and our collective sense of fair play and justice. A threat to our tradition of tolerance and universal acceptance, in the phantom guise of a fake grass-roots political movement, bought and paid for by nefarious corporate interests, holding a rally in a public space within a mile of my apartment.
And I couldn't even be bothered to roust myself out of bed to confront it.
What would Thomas Paine say about my behavior? What about Ben Franklin? Nathan Hale?
And where are they? The Thomas Paines of today, who would have kicked me out of bed, or at least looked down on me and said, in a somewhat condescending tone, "Get down there lazybones! We fought a revolution! We wrote Articles of Confederation, a Declaration of Independence, and a Constitution! Now they're under fire from a group of wing-nuts who claim to speak their truths when they haven't even read them! The least you can do is protest against these fruitcakes when they come to your city! Light a candle in the darkness! Do something! Oh no, he's fallen back asleep. Ben? Can you wake him? Ben? Where's Ben?"
I don't want to be too hard on myself. I know I'm not the only one who stole America's honor from us, who lost that sense of what makes our country great. The people we used to believe in. The America we thought we knew. But I've definitely done my part.
Which is why it's such a shame I missed the rally. Because had I attended, I could have helped reclaim, from myself, the honor that I, through my laziness, stole from America. Our honor. Taken from us. By me. And it was up to me to reclaim that stolen honor, from me. For us.
What I'm saying is, I could have been both the "they," the "us," and the "we" in this transaction -- the THEY who took our honor from US, and the WE who proudly took it back. From THEM. By which I mean ME. For US. Which is also ME.
Talk about power. Talk about a missed opportunity. Rarely does one get a chance to traverse that kind of existential chasm. Reclaiming from myself the honor that I had, through my actions, taken from America -- surely that complex moment of being and becoming would have led to an amazing personal transcendence.
But no, another life-changing opportunity squandered.
All I can hope is that I'll have another opportunity to reclaim America's honor from those who have so selfishly and carelessly taken it from us. By which I mean me.