Sunday, August 29, 2010

What hath Glenn Beck Wrought? Naught but Rot.

". . .There is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone." 
Martin Luther King,  August 28, 1963

Here it is, the morning after the heralded Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally, held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial inches away from the exact spot where Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a Dream" speech exactly 47 years ago. (Beck claimed it was "coincidence" that his speech was delivered then and there, but we know Beck so we know better.)

So the crowds came and the numbers were relatively "vast", and we're in a tizzy because it just shouldn't be.  It's Glenn Beck in charge and he's a mean one, and there's fear of a sullying or a misremembering or a watering-down of MLK's glorious words.

Fear not, oh, please.  Crowds are what we have with Glenn Beck but resonance is what we cherish with the Rev. Martin Luther King.  When we quote entire phrases from Dr. King, even now, after nearly a half-century, we're uplifted by their goodness and reminded of his courage and his deeds.  He brought us around to his way of thinking at a time when there was still so much resistance to the notion of racial equality.  We look back now (most of us who lived through it) and wonder how we could have been so blinded for so long, until true leaders--good men and women willing to lay down their lives for the kind of justice that should have been theirs all along--spoke to us in words and actions we could finally understand.

This is what Glenn Beck wants his flock to believe he's doing now.   Yesterday's Beck put on his religious cloak and preached goodness and mercy and a back-to-God  message that might have brought tears to our eyes, had we not known about the Beck-Before-Yesterday.

That is the Beck he's going to have to live down if we're to believe anything he said at the MLK "I Have A Dream" site. Glenn Beck's history is neither as a peaceful organizer nor as a man of God.  He's not even a man of the people.  He is a man of the person, an island unto himself.  This is his show, his shtick, and tomorrow the matinee will have changed and on the screen will be Glenn Beck, the actor, in yet another role designed to keep his paying audience riveted and agitated.

It's possible that he'll like this role so much he'll do an encore and we'll see him in MLK makeup for a while longer, but Beck is Beck and not that good at the kind of discipline that would require him to maintain the persona.

He is smart enough, however, to know his own people.  They're not peacemakers, either, and they won't tolerate this for long.  It's all an act, it's all a game, and they're playing because they think there's something in it for them.  Their goal is to destroy the "others" (that's us) and "take back" the country (our country--all of ours).
 It won't happen.

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke to a huge crowd of their followers.  That was the significance of yesterday.  The significance of MLK's "I have a dream" speech 47 years ago to the day is that we still remember it and we still honor the man who gave it.  We still believe in the America he dreamed about, and we still understand our roles in preserving it.

Glenn Beck tried to dilute that message yesterday and he failed.

Curtain down. 




  1. Thank you for restoring my faith and reminding me I should always be seeking that higher plane of conscientious where dignity and discipline are to be found and leave the cup of bitterness and hatred to those for whom the bells toll.

  2. AMEN, Sistah.
    Ramona, what I fear is not Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin. Because you and I and countless others actually remember the importance, the resonance, the electrifying moment of MLK's speech on the Mall --- not as a YouTube video -- but in real time, in the moment.
    What I fear is all those who came after us, who have grown up in the facsmile generation, in which real experience is not differentiated from virtual experience.
    For Glenn Beck to pontificate in this context is -- even for an agnostic -- an abomination.
    They have no shame. Is it because they are, in fact, too young?

  3. PS -- I tried to respond to you at TPM, but I cannot log in, apparently, to leave a comment for you there. Never mind.
    What you have written, here and there, is important.

  4. Welcome Beetlejuice. MLK taught us all that there was dignity in forgiveness but there was might in words. I'll never forget that.

  5. Hi Wendy, nice to see you here. I don't know--I hesitate to say they're too young. I think when I was their age I understood right from wrong and knew demagoguery when I saw it. I was young during the HUAC and McCarthy hearings, but I saw right through that creep and those on the dais beside him. They destroyed lives for no good reason other than self-aggrandizement and the power behind fear. I remember seeing pictures of the Ku Klux Klan and of bodies hanging from trees and being horrified that the enemy before us were Americans and not some shadowy foreign monsters.

    I've seen these people all my life, and I've never understood them. I used to be terrified of them. No longer. I see them for the slimy pissants they really are, and I'm going after them.

  6. Wendy, I don't know why you couldn't respond at TPM but I see I have recommends but no comments. Hmmm. And of course it's Sunday.

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  8. Once again my dear woman you hit the nail squarely on it's head! The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the first minutes of his speech was Hilter. He is so deeply delusional in his mania that it almost literally infects the air around him with a poison that at it's core attempts to destroy all the advances we have made as a country morally. I think HE is the Anti-Christ. He wants people to unite. So did Hitler.

  9. Hi Lora, your "deeply delusional" line is so right on it's scary. What's really scary is how people like that can draw followers. Hitler's rise came when people thought they had nowhere else to turn, and I see Beck/Limbaugh/Palin pandering to the same fears here and now. Somehow we're not getting the message out that their direction is entirely the WRONG direction. It's not that we're not trying--it's that their voices are louder than ours. And, let's face it, we're getting no help from the Dems in power. They're clueless when it comes to solving problems or quelling fears. I'm dreading November.

  10. My grandmother grew up in Sauk Center, MN, childhood friends with the author of these seemingly prescient words:

    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    Either this nascent fascism must be squelched - sooner rather than later - or you and I will have far too much cause to be glad of our graying heads, and far too many reasons to fear for the society younger family members will inherit.

  11. Alan, my husband has read everything Sinclair Lewis ever wrote (or as much as he could get his hands on) and as a team our fears are the same as yours (and his). There are so many valuable, logical, articulate voices out there warning against the rising tide of hatred and false patriotism, but so far they haven't found the magic words to even slow it down. Nothing, it seems, will stop that mob and as astonishing as it is, I fear they're winning again. It can't possibly be that the majority want to kill off what's left of this country, but we're heading in that direction.
    It's going to take more than words now, it's going to take jobs and a strong economy--and I'm afraid that's years away, if at all. We're in the midst of a damned calamity and our leaders think if they do nothing it'll resolve itself.
    Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

  12. The mistake "our side" makes, again and again, being our own contribution to humanity learning nothing from experience, is thinking that these are people who can be reasoned with.

    They can not be reasoned with - they have not reasoned their way into their positions, such as they are, so reasoning them out of them is not possible.

    Developments such as this make me the pessimistic misanthrope I often seem. Pessimistic because I look at the policy-obsessed left and wonder whether (or indeed if ever) they will learn that narrative resonates far more, and emotion invariably trumps reason, and misanthropic because Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" (the single most depressingly funny film I've seen in the last five years) seems positively Delphic in its casting of the future as the province of those of "...very little brain" and even less character.

    The future, as Yogi once said, ain't what it used to be.

  13. What is it about the nature of some that learning from experience is such a challenge? It's really the only way a civilization survives. It's the way children grow up to become adults. They touch a hot stove, it burns, they don't touch it again.

    Our leaders don't seem to have that capacity for learning from our mistakes. The Corporate takeovers, the Great Depression, the foolish entry into wars that kill our young by the thousands, the raping of our lands. . .we've been there, done that, and then we go back and do it all over again.

    Yes, there are some here with "very little brain and even less character". Too bad for us that they're allowed to vote and thus put their own kind into positions of power.

    We can't give up. Not until the last nutcase, warlord and greedmeister is gone. There has to be some way to outsmart them, but we can only do it together.

  14. Thanks again Ramona. The corporate greed is behind this Bozo. They keep cohersing the facts and history and keep getting away with it. But pretty soon either the nation will polarize even more or they will stand against it. I just hope for the last


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