When you’ve got some dirt to deal with, you can do one of two things: You can take out the trash or sweep it under the rug. Most of us, being sinners all, use a variety of methods to get by.
Then again, if you have no shame, you can leave your trash out in public view and make it someone else’s problem. That’s what the marchers for the great, liberal One Nation rally on Saturday did in Washington. After a series of speeches blaming their problems on everybody else and calling for more massive government, the crowd chucked their stuff and left.
The media did their best to downplay the litterscape and also the socialist and communist activists peppering the crowd with banners, badges, books and buttons.
But the Internet poses a problem to folks accustomed to having the media clean up after them. Lots of people have cameras. So you can go to YouTube and see a wonderful 90-second array of socialist imagery from the march while listening to the Anthem of the Soviet Union. It’s a great piece of music for truly awful causes. Americans for Prosperity put out a video with footage from the rally, too.
Elsewhere, at Hotairpundit, you can view litter scattered in front of the Lincoln Memorial and even at the National World War II Memorial on the Mall. There’s something cathartic about seeing cups, placards and hot-dog wrappers piled up against a marble wall emblazoned with the names of places steeped in American blood, such as Guadalcanal, Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
The leftist march’s contrast with the Aug. 28 rally led by Glenn Beck could not have been more stark. The far larger conservative crowd left the Mall looking better than they found it. Seeing that the trash cans could not hold everything, many took their litter with them, picking some off the ground as they went. These folks are used to doing what needs to be done and not foisting it on others.
Years before conserving nature turned into a pagan religion headed by the Goreacle, my sixth-grade teacher used to tell the boys in the class to pick up litter on our field trips and stash it in our pant cuffs. He was a big fan of Teddy Roosevelt’s and the national park system, and he reinforced what I learned in Boy Scouts, which was to leave a place better than you found it. To this day, a stray wrapper in a public park annoys me and probably most of my former classmates. But unlike today’s kids, we weren’t being taught to turn in our parents as environmental criminals if they used the wrong light bulbs.
Back to the rallies. The pattern has unfolded for years: dirty leftist events and clean conservative events. It’s the entitlement mentality versus personal responsibility, playing out on the grassy fields and public streets.
The Obama inauguration crowd on Jan. 20, 2009, for instance, celebrated hope and change by leaving mountains of trash. The Washington Post reported that the crowd of 1 million to 1.5 million generated so much trash that the “rubbish left behind was of historic proportions.”
Nine months later, at the Tea Party rally of Sept. 12, with at least as many people and perhaps more, the Mall was virtually free of litter. A lot of people were wearing pants with cuffs, apparently.
The good news is that it’s getting harder for the left to cover up its dirty ways.
Not that the left has a monopoly on dirt. There also are folks on the right who think they’re entitled to live by a different set of standards than the quaint morality of those they lionize as “the people.” The difference is that the left is shameless about sin and demands that others celebrate it and pay for its consequences.
Miscreants on the right still have the common decency at least to rise to hypocrisy, which is the tribute vice pays to virtue. In a way, they have to. In a world dominated by liberal media, they live in a glass house. If you’re a married conservative who gets caught cheating, it’s a very hot story. If you’re a liberal married man caught cavorting with prostitutes, you get your own CNN talk show.
The corrosive attitude of the left is that if it belongs to everybody, it belongs to nobody. So if it’s trash, leave it, and if it’s worth something, take it. This contrasts sharply with another standard, which is to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
A couple of years ago, somebody took our country, folks. We need to take it back before they trash it any more.
Robert Knight is senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries and the author of the recently updated book “Fighting for America’s Soul: How Sweeping Change Threatens Our Nation and What We Must Do” (Coral Ridge Ministries, 2009).
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