LOS ANGELES, July 5, 2011— For those who want to see the heart and soul of America, go to Joplin, Missouri. I had the honor and privilege of spending the evening of July 4th at a rally designed to help restore Joplin after tornadoes devastated the town.
Thousands (one estimate had the crowd at 35,000 people) flowed into Landreth Park throughout the evening. The crowd only got larger as the night went on.
While Rush Limbaugh was the star attraction, even he would tell you that the event was about so much more than him.
Beth Peacock is less famous than Rush. Most people would never recognize her. Yet as the person affiliated with the local Parks Department, she ensured an orderly evening. As expected, entire crowds of ordinary Americans gathered without looting, rioting, or chaos. This is what happens when yelling “no justice, no peace” is replaced with people practicing the old-fashioned Judeo-Christian value of “Love thy neighbor.”
One group spreading peace, love, and compassion was “The Hope Station.”
For every person who purchased a t-shirt, another t-shirt was given to a tornado survivor who wanted or needed one. People could write on the back of the t-shirt any message they wanted. Survivors were encouraged to write their stories. I wrote a simple message on the one I bought.
“May God bless the people of Joplin forever. God bless America forever. 7/4/11.”
The crowd was on its feet as various bands sang their hearts out. Shortly after 8pm, Rush Limbaugh came on the stage. He only spoke for about 15 minutes, but his remarks were as electric as they were important. I was in the very front row a few feet from him, allowing me to grasp his words with much more clarity than the media trucks parked far away.
For those who reported that Mr. Limbaugh came to promote himself, this is lunacy. Rush Limbaugh does not need to promote himself. He does have a new product called “Two if by tea,” a takeoff on the Paul Revere “One if by land, two if by sea” warning.
Based on his remarks, one would never know this because Mr. Limbaugh did not mention this once. He did show up with tea, but he was not selling it. He was giving it away.
For those who reflexively need to criticize Mr. Limbaugh for everything he does, it does not take a genius to figure out why he cares so much about Missouri. He was born and raised there. He loves, breathes, and bleeds home state pride.
Like many other snowbirds, his moving away never dimmed his affections for his original home. He made a point of saying that he will personally make sure that Joplin is not forgotten as the media focuses on other stories. He will keep talking about Joplin until they are made whole.
For those who hate Mr. Limbaugh based on politics and ideology, a person with their ears open on July 4th would have to concede that his remarks were totally apolitical. He did extol the free market doing a better job of helping people than the government. Those at the rally were appreciative of the money Mr. Limbaugh and his supporters pumped into their town in one night.
The number of people who drove hundreds of miles from other states was a staggeringly impressive display of love and caring.
After Mr. Limbaugh came the country rock band Confederate Railroad. The crowd went back to dancing and celebrating.
While the goal was to take people’s minds away from their pain, some people will never fully recover. One man was thankful to God. He told me that his “son got beaten up pretty bad” in the tornadoes, but that he was “slowly recovering. He’ll be all right.”
Another man fought back tears as he explained that the tornadoes “took my daddy from me.” His name was Bobby, and he spent more time making sure that others in the crowd were having a good time rather than focus on himself. People hugged him, which was really all they could do.
At 10pm, the fireworks came. Driving from Joplin to Kansas City took a little more than two hours, and the night sky was lit up with fireworks everywhere.
Yet the brightest lights in Missouri, and perhaps the entire nation, came from Landreth Park in Joplin.
These people are down, but they will never allow themselves to be counted out. They have too much pride, too much dignity, and too much belief in the American spirit to throw in the towel.
Limbaugh said how humbled he was, and it is hard not to be humble and in awe of people who pick themselves off of the mat after facing tragedy that most people will hopefully never know.
I gave a copy of my first book (I have three) to Mr. Limbaugh’s manager. I included an inscription to him with a promise. The proceeds from every copy of Ideological Bigotry purchased before August 1, 2011, will be donated to the city of Joplin. That is 100% of the profits, and not a penny less.
Like Limbaugh and his new business venture, some will point out that my offer is all about publicity. That nonsensical cynicism must be eradicated. Even if Mr. Limbaugh does not ever mention my book, the offer still stands.
As soon as my publishers get me the totals, a check will be cut.
For the many Americans who have never been to Joplin, go there. Buy something. Provide real stimulus to their economy. Send money if you can. If you are young, strong, and healthy, pick up a hammer and some nails.
Hard working Americans built this country, and only that same hard working American ethos will help rebuild it.
For those who think they have nothing to give, hugs and empathy are free and do matter.
One guy with a Kansas City Chiefs umbrella laughed when I went up to him and said, “In the spirit of the nature of this event I am a member of the Raider Nation shaking hands with Chiefs fans.”
When Chiefs and Raiders shake hands, people know something bigger is taking place.
The most important sentiment of the night did come from Limbaugh. He pointed out that when people’s values are motivated by loving God, they are more than likely going to live the way he would want us to live. This is less fire and brimstone than simple common sense and faith.
Rush Limbaugh was a factor in making July 4th in Joplin a truly special and uplifting experience. Yet he would happily concur that it was the people of Joplin and those who came to Joplin in solidarity that gave the night its greatness.
Independence Day is about celebrating freedom. Independence Day celebrates the miracle that is America.
Joplin recently experienced the worst kind of tragedy. On July 4th, 2011, Joplin received…and represented…America at its noblest best.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities.
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