Glenn Beck is a clever and amoral huckster who inflames and incites the lowest passions of his audience in order to keep them entertained. There is nothing too base for him to say; no lie too odious for him to repeat; no smear too vile for him to include as part of his schtick.
He has called President Obama a racist repeatedly. And he is so ignorant of the civil rights movement that he once claimed that U.S. John Lewis (D-Atlanta) was trying to mimic a civil rights leader. Ahem. John Lewis was a civil rights leader — a rather famous one.
Beck has no appreciation for or understanding of Dr. King’s philosophy, which was based on the theological concept of social justice. As a minister, King preached and lived that philosophy. Beck has denounced the very idea of social justice as a theological concept.
You can understand why some civil rights activists are offended that Beck has chosen to schedule his rally at the Lincoln Memorial for August 28, a date that holds a special place in the hearts of many Americans because Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington Mall on that date.
Still, Beck has every right to his rally. Why? He is protected by the very same Bill of Rights he would deny to others.
From the WaPo:
Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin among the scheduled speakers, will take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, 47 years to the day after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there.
The conservative talk show host announced in November that he wanted to reveal a “100 year plan for America” at the Lincoln Memorial. More recently, he said that the purpose of his Aug. 28 event is to restore the country’s “values” and to pay tribute to military families.
“There will be absolutely no politics involved,” he said. “This rally will honor the troops, unite the American people under the principles of integrity and truth, and make a pledge to restore honor within ourselves and our country.”
Civil rights leaders have denounced Beck’s plans, questioning his motives for choosing the date and place, which they said are historically symbolic of the country’s civil rights movement.
Responding to the criticism on his show June 28, Beck said he believes it was “divine providence” that the rally was scheduled on the anniversary of the King speech. He said he had initially planned the event for Sept. 12 and then realized it was a Sunday. “I’m not going to ask anyone to work on the Sabbath,” he said. He rescheduled the rally for Aug. 28 because it was the best day for the schedules of the people involved, he said.
“It was not my intention to select 8-28 because of the Martin Luther King tie. It is the day he made that speech. I had no idea until I announced it and I walked offstage and my researchers said, New York Times has already just published that this is [the same day as the King speech] — and I said, ‘Oh, jeez.’ “
I don’t believe for one minute that Beck didn’t choose the date intentionally. Of course, he did — to be provocative. And his declaration that the rally won’t be political is a flat-out lie. Sarah Palin is among the speakers. Of course, it will be political.
Demagogues like Beck whip up the passions of a crowd, who then believe they should be able to impose their views on others. But the US Constitution protects the rights of minorities from the inflamed passions of a mob. That same Bill of Rights allows Beck his rally on the mall on any date that the US Park Service gives him a permit.
There is one thing Beck said with which I agree:”. . Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Humans, humans embrace their ideas or reject their ideas.”
No, black people don’t own MLK. He belongs to America — an America much better because of the life he lived. Beck doesn’t seem to believe in that America, but I don’t believe King would have tried to deny him his rally on Aug. 28.