Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally at the Reflecting Pool near the Washington Monument could have been noted and should have been forgotten as just another attention-grabbing stunt by the moronic Fox News host if not for the fact it will be held at the exact same place and day where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered the classic “I Have A Dream” speech some 47 years earlier.
Beck claims he had no idea his right-wing Woodstock was occurring on the anniversary of Dr. King’s seminal speech on race. Right, sure.
It’s a insult of obscene proportions that a charlatan, fraud and a fool like Beck would atetempt to appropriate Dr. King as a foot soldier in his cultural war against liberalism, social justice and President Obama. The gamut of emotions stirred by such an despicable act run from spitting on the ground in abject disgust to strangling Beck until his beady little eyes bulge out.
And I suppose it’s also just a coincidence among the featured speakers will be Alveda King, Dr. King’s niece, and a hopeless homophobe, right. If the idea is to in part honor King among those whom Beck describes as a “national heroes” why the hell is Sarah Palin another invited speaker?
“This is going to be an iconic event,” Beck was quoted in USA Today. “This is going to be a moment that you’ll never be able to paint people as haters, racists, none of it. This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement. It has been so distorted and so turned upside down. It is an abomination.”
Reclaim the civil rights movement? Oh right. Beck believes the political Left have co-opted King as one of their own and as many conservatives have tried in the past, Beck is going to exploit a dead man for his own ends. The respectful thing would be to have his rally and leave King out of it, but what does Glenn Beck or his devotees know about respect?
Putting America’s looniest talking head on the same stage as America’s goofiest politician should be one of those events that cannot occur in nature. There’s just too much weirdness with Beck and Palin for normal human beings to safely process. But for Palin, who has never exhibited the slightest understanding or interest in civil rights to be speaking in defense of the principle one week after Tweeting an incoherent defense of Dr. Laura Schelessinger’s Constitutional right to say “nigger, nigger, nigger” is obscene.
“Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln,” Beck said. “Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.”
Representative John Lewis, (D-Ga), knows a little something about character. Unlike Beck or Palin, he worked with King, marched with King and loved Dr. King. He penned an essay for USA Today that should be read in its entirety by those angered and disgusted by the pathetic attempts of right-wing hustlers to pimp a fallen American hero.
I know there are those who take issue with Saturday’s event at the National Mall, but King quoted William Cullen Bryant when he said, “Truth crushed to earth will (only) rise again.” We cannot manage the actions of others, but we can stand firm in our own non-violent convictions. With the knowledge of the truth as our defense, no information or misinformation can stop the power of a committed and determined people to heal a divided nation. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.
After a brutal campaign of violence in Birmingham, Ala., positioned to stamp out the call for justice, where police dogs and fire hoses had been turned on children, the nation and the Congress responded with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Kennedy said this about the police commissioner in Birmingham, “The Civil Rights Movement should thank God for Bull Connor. He’s helped it as much as Abraham Lincoln.”
Regardless of the activity on the Mall this weekend or the inactivity on the Mall in the days after, the question before us still remains: Who do we want to be as a people and as a nation? Do we want to go back, or do we want to move forward? Do we want to erase the steps we struggled to take in the ’60s by gutting or repealing the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment, the Fair Housing Act, and other progressive measures? I say, we have suffered too long and struggled too hard to turn back now. As a nation and as a people, we cannot, and we must not go back.
If Beck truly wanted to “restore honor” and exalt heroes, he should have invited John Lewis instead of Sarah Palin to speak.
Nothing that is said by anyone at Beck’s little hoedown can in any way tarnish or lessen Dr. King’s immortal and living legacy. What it does prove is how the far Right admonishes Muslims for not “building bridges” when they choose to build a cultural center somewhere the Right doesn’t agree it should go, but deliberately and purposefully seek to antagonize the millions of Americans whom rightfully regard Martin Luther King as one of our greatest leaders as part of a transparently partisan stunt.
In the spirit of Dr. King we should forgive Glenn Beck and his pals. It isn’t that that they know not what they do. They know all right. They just don’t care.
It’s more difficult to be like King and forgive our enemies, but it’s the better thing to do than to be as divisive and dishonorable as they are.