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Langley family returns home after Beck rally, history tour
Fresh from the Glenn Beck rally in Washington, D.C. and a three-week tour of historic sites of the nation’s independence, Rich Bacigalupi of Langley returned home last weekend with renewed Republican vigor.
“Along the way, we’ve become a focal point for an alternative point of view in Langley,” Bacigalupi said last week from Virginia.
“My goal is to be a point of discussion, not a party hack,” he added. “There are more Republicans in Langley than you think.”
Bacigalupi, 40, his wife Carol, daughter Kelsey, 7, and his father Garth Bacigalupi, who lives in Arizona, were winding up a history lesson on the road. Among the landmarks they visited on the East Coast were Plymouth Rock, Boston and the Old North Church, Paul Revere’s House, Lexington and Concord, sites in Rhode Island and Connecticut and the place where George Washington crossed the Delaware River.
They also took in Philadelphia, New York City, Maryland, Arlington, Mount Vernon and Monticello in Virginia. In New York, he and his family also attended a taping of Beck’s television show.
But the trip was built around Beck’s rally at the Washington Mall near the Lincoln Memorial, Bacigalupi said. He and his family were among the crowd he estimates to have been at least 300,000.
The Fox News Network talk-show host has become a lightning rod for conservative efforts across the United States “to take our country back.”
Bacigalupi said the most striking thing about the crowd was the ordinariness of its members.
“It was as if a very large number of people from everyday America suddenly appeared at a rally, planned to stay for three hours, clean up and go home,” he said in an earlier e-mail. “There was no angry mob, no trouble-makers, no visible drugs or alcohol, no professional protestors and no anarchists.”
As for politics, he said the tone of the rally on a hot and humid day was “strikingly neutral,” despite a smattering of T-shirts with Tea Party slogans and a speech by 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
“I’ve been to a lot of rallies in different countries,” Bacigalupi said Friday. “They usually tend to be on the outer fringes of society. I’ve seen a lot of strange things, but there was none of that here.”
He said the biggest lesson he’ll take away from the rally and the rest of the trip was the role faith played in the history of the United States.
“That’s what the country was founded on,” he said. “It’s what it’s all about.”
Bacigalupi moved to downtown Langley from the San Francisco Bay area in 2002 after several years spent in the dot-com industry. He currently owns an engineering company in Seattle focused on sustainable energy.
He and his family are members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.
Bacigalupi said he’s always been a conservative independent and only recently declared himself a Republican.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, he received some notoriety when his two McCain-Palin signs were yanked from his yard on Second Street and ripped up.
“My wife said to call and get some more signs,” Bacigalupi said. “She was fired up.”
There were no further incidents involving the new signs, but a curious thing began to occur, he said.
“People started coming by and saying they felt the same way, but didn’t want to say anything because of the mainstream thinking in Langley,” he said.
After that, Bacigalupi said, he decided to get more involved in politics.
He was appointed by the county GOP to be committeeman for the Langley 1 Precinct.
“I had asked who the committee chairman was, and they said there hadn’t been one for several years,” Bacigalupi said.
This year, he was formally elected to the post, the only person running for it. He received 36 votes.
“That’s my vote, and hopefully one more came from my wife,” Bacigalupi said. “That means there must be at least 34 other people in downtown Langley who voted for me.”
“I felt I just had to choose, and I chose,” he said. “I’m happy to be there.”
As for the Beck rally, Bacigalupi said his biggest disappointment was the reaction of the “liberal” media.
“This event doesn’t deserve the disrespect it received,” he said in his e-mail. “My message — try watching it.”