By Numerian posted by Michael Collins
Two score and seven years ago the nation’s dispossessed thronged the Lincoln Memorial to hear Martin Luther King define the struggle for African-American civil rights. (Image)
Today it was the turn of the nation’s disenfranchised to gather at the same place, lamenting their lost supremacy as a superior race, and longing for a prophet to lead them back to the mountain top. That prophet, the nation’s self-anointed Jeremiah, was FOX News entertainer Glenn Beck.
Glenn Beck, a man who only ten years ago was wallowing in drug addiction, is a reformed sinner who has seen the light and believes he has a God-given obligation to bring America out of the wilderness. Whether God has anything to do with Glenn Beck’s mission is subject to personal belief, but no one can doubt that Glenn Beck has someone as powerful as God behind him – Rupert Murdoch.
It is Murdoch who has given Beck his daily pulpit on FOX News, which has led to the ascendancy of Beck’s personal brand in the marketplace. Beck is hardly spreading his message while wearing sackcloth and ashes; he travels across the country in his private jet, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from lecture tours, book signings, and speeches at Tea Party rallies.
Mocking America’s History
It was as a Tea Party rally that today’s Lincoln Memorial gathering was first conceived, until it was learned that the date chosen was an anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Rather than cancel the event because of the insult it represented to millions of African-Americans, and to anyone supportive of civil rights, Glenn Beck deliberately invoked Rev. King many times today, drawing a parallel between himself and King as significant figures in American history.
Years later, Beck has said, people will ask “Were You There”? His megalomania, unfettered by the bounds of decency or the remotest sense of history, imagines that earning hundreds of millions as an “entertainer/educator” entitles him to speak on behalf of hundreds of millions of Americans he presumes are loyal to his cause and invested closely in everything he says.
He asked all Americans today to return to God, to restore decency to the public sphere, and to honor their creator in their personal life. Parents should get down on their knees and pray daily for the salvation of their country, and Beck urged that they open the door so their children can see them praying. Glenn Beck warned that terrible times are coming to this nation, and only God can save us now if we are willing to turn our hearts once again to Him.
Many in the crowd no doubt have personal experience with terrible times. With unemployment and underemployment near 17% of the working population, millions of people are familiar with fear, hunger, and homelessness. But there was not a word in Glenn Beck’s speech about any of these afflictions. These very real problems are not his concern, because those who suffer from them are the indolent who live off government handouts, especially the inner-city minorities who lack the work ethic of decent folks.
It seems strange at first that the Tea Party supporters would so quickly overlook their own dependence on the federal government, especially for Medicare and Social Security, in order to rally to a multi-millionaire who wants to dismantle these supports. But this rally was not really about government policy or programs, and it certainly was not about historical truth. Glenn Beck, like every other conservative leader, has long since abandoned any reverence for facts, and would much rather cloak himself in hypocrisy and self-delusion. His “educational” programs are so lacking in fact or honesty that they have become a form of conservative propaganda.
Longing for an Antebellum Restoration
The Glenn Beck crowd today, much like his audience for his television, radio, or book products, was overwhelmingly white and elderly. Many of them were from the South, and however indistinctly and subconsciously, their slave-owning ancestors and Jim Crow enforcers were whispering to them today through the mystic chords of memory. Many others were the progeny of immigrant forefathers from Europe – immigrants who may have had trouble assimilating in America on the basis of religion or language or culture, but who blended in on the all-important matter of race.
This event was billed as non-partisan, and the other headliner, Sarah Palin was asked to speak not as a politician but as a mother of a soldier serving in Iraq. Palin increasingly is acting like George W. Bush reincarnated. It is not enough that she shares his stupidity and incuriousness about the world, she now has adopted his campaign theme of “restoring honor” to America. At least Bush had a philandering predecessor in the Oval Office who could be rightly blamed for dishonoring the presidency.
Who does Palin have? Barack Obama hasn’t dishonored his office in any way imaginable through thought, word, or deed, except for his presumed “deep-seated hatred” of white people, as Glenn Beck has imagined it. That is Obama’s stain on the White House – the color of his skin. What Glenn Beck represents, as does Sarah Palin and the Tea Party faithful, is a Restoration movement. They want that age-old solace available to millions of Americans who, no matter how destitute or needy, could always say to themselves “At least I am white!”
From The Agonist