Restoring Sanity after Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” Rally
I had originally decided that I was not going to write about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C., but after enduring much of this travesty, as well as the pregame Divine Destiny sideshow, the urge became too strong to bear and I succumbed. While Beck repeatedly affirmed that this event was nonpolitical, such a claim is disingenuous at best. If it truly was intended to be nonpolitical, the attendees did not get the memo. During the event, care was taken not to utter the names of the enemy, and specific instructions were given not to bring signs; however, the message was as clear as day, and everyone was locked and loaded.
If there was an award for having an ego bigger than Kanye West, Glenn Beck would surely take home the prize. In dedication to Beck’s consistent arrogance, the song Megalomaniac by Incubus (lyrics) is fitting, which was originally written during the rule of Fmr. President G. W. Bush. Throughout this circus, Beck cycled through emotions like a newborn baby, reiterating that the Restoring Honor rally was a faith-based mission assigned to him from god herself, further evidence that he sees himself in a sort of messianic sense. Isn’t there something in the Bible about false prophets?
Glenn Beck, who has largely made his living off of maligning President Obama, is like a disillusioned kid who won’t share. He runs around picking up all the toys, until all of them are wrapped in his arms, only he cannot guard them and play at the same time. As soon as another person touches one of his toys, he screams, “Mine! Mine! Mine!” This is what Glenn Beck is attempting to do with our Founding Fathers, and other great Americans like Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s running around trying to lay claim to them! Luckily, you simply cannot revise history. You can distort the facts, but you cannot change them.
On a sick day or early on a weekend, when we are perusing through the hundreds of channels available on modern cable TV, we always pass that channel that seems to loop Joel Osteen’s services, and I think most will agree that there is a striking resemblance between the styling of Beck and Mr. Osteen—evangelism. It is an appeal to the emotions, to religion, and often times to the wallet in your back pocket (or if you are smart, front pocket). Using this evangelistic style, Beck continues to create a divide where him and his followers are on the side of god, and everyone opposing him is not, which is vaguely reminiscent of justifications we heard during the Bush era.
According to Beck, it was just happenstance that his self-proclaimed “divine mission” coincided with the 47th anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in the history of the United States—Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. On May 26th, Beck asserted that his rally would “reclaim the civil rights movement … because we were the people who did it in the first place.” Following Beck’s outrageous statement, the question most people asked was, from who? Who are you planning to reclaim the civil rights movement from? Additionally, who is doing the reclaiming? If you take a few moments to observe Beck’s event, you’ll see it was largely older white people.
Glenn Beck is capitalizing on a moment in history where much of the country is in disarray. While the majority of Americans voted for change, people like Glenn Beck and other reactionaries are making a concerted effort to thwart progress and send us back to Biblical times by revising history and fear-mongering. Beck often uses violent rhetoric in his TV and radio talk show, something that Dr. King would undoubtedly stand against. Sarah Palin, one of Beck’s guests, recently expressed her support for Dr. Laura after she said the N-word 11 times during a rant, while responding to a black woman in need of some advice. What would Dr. King think?
Beck has made unfounded criticisms of President Obama, calling him a “racist,” and a sort of perverted Christian. Beck also said that Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.” Listening to Beck’s program, one does not feel love and compassion, nor do they have the pleasure of experiencing an atmosphere of tolerance. After bashing Obama, moderates, and liberals, five days a week on his radio show, can there be any credence to a claim of “restoring honor” when Glenn Beck is involved?
Why have so many of Beck’s disciples refused to entertain the consequences of what the new radical right is suggesting?
- Raising the retirement age to 70?
- Gambling retirement money on the stock market while lining the pockets of brokers with commissions?
- Repealing the Civil Rights Act?
- Not allowing gays to have marriage equality?
- Making the First Amendment exclusionary?
- Not allowing women to stop a pregnancy even in cases of rape and incest in the name of religion?
- Stopping stem cell research in favor of throwing out unused embryos?
- Repealing the 17th Amendment, which would restrict citizens from participating in the elections of senators?
- Giving the rich more and more tax cuts while the middle class is gradually eliminated?
- Government should solely have a negative role, punishing the wrongdoers, and not help our fellow Americans in need?
Is this the restoration of America, or the continuation of a Bush-style doctrine, which could accurately be labeled as a journey away from democracy, rule by the people, and towards plutocracy, rule by the wealthy? Glenn Beck encourages people to question the government, and is especially hard on moderates and liberals, but why are the blind followers of this man not questioning Glenn Beck himself? Is it because Glenn Beck more or less claims that he is channeling the message of god? Even the Buddha encouraged man never to merely accept the doctrine and path, but to diligently investigate it for himself. The same must be done in the case of Glenn Beck.
Dr. King’s message was one of hope and change, tolerance and compassion, love and unity. We must not waver. We must not become weary. If America is to move forward, we must persevere with dignity, honor, and respect. This is the America I dream of, and directly in line with Dr. King’s message.