Farce on Washington: Glenn Beck and the Assault on Historical Memory

To be angry with Glenn Beck would be easy. So too, to conjure an ungenerous spirit of contempt for his acolytes who came from around the country to attend Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally this Saturday, would hardly take Herculean effort. His demented narcissism and their cult-like devotion to the man who once said he was just “a rodeo clown,” to whom one should hardly pay attention — but who now suggests he is on a mission from God to save America — are both worthy of the highest derision.

Yet, rather than anger or contempt — however deserved — it is sadness that animates my thoughts today. Sadness that so many would feel the country so besmirched by the first 19 months of the Obama Administration that they would take it upon themselves to march on Washington. Not for jobs or peace. But to restore some vaguely defined sense of national integrity, and, to hear Beck tell it, to “reclaim the civil rights movement.” As unsightly as it can be to witness any man’s ego explode with self-absorbed mendacity all over the pages of history — as we observed this weekend, what with the rally coinciding with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” — it is especially so when that ego belongs to one as craven as Beck. That Beck thinks the civil rights movement needs “reclaiming,” and that so many others apparently agree, speaks to the miseducation of the American people (especially large numbers of white Americans), and it is this, which saddens.

For how could anyone take seriously the connection between Beck’s rally and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom? The latter was a direct challenge to the economic injustice of racism, and to a nation that had “bounced a check” to its black citizens. The former was led by a man who decries all talk of social justice, and having never apparently read a single word of Dr. King’s writings, suggests that the left has hijacked the movement’s legacy by speaking of such matters as were, in fact, central to its mission.

For Beck to insist, as he has, that the movement must be reclaimed, and that it is the job of conservatives to do it, because they “were the ones who did it in the first place,” is a historical perversion of such galaxial proportions as to call into question his very sanity. In truth, it is unlikely that any of the almost all-white throng gathered in Washington this weekend played any part in the civil rights struggle. Those at Beck’s event were people whose ideological forbears include the editors at the nation’s leading conservative magazine, The National Review, who supported segregation and excoriated King, or worse, the zombified denizens of the John Birch Society, and those like Beck’s personal hero, W. Cleon Skousen, who viewed the civil rights movement as a communist conspiracy to control the world.

Were King alive today, Glenn Beck would surely have found a prominent place for him on his chalkboard of demonic progressivism, what with King’s commitment to economic equality, and condemnation of the United States government as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” And whereas King demanded a guaranteed minimum income for all as a hedge against poverty — and insisted that to ignore the needs of the poor was to invite “spiritual death” — Beck counsels us to worry not about the poverty of millions. After all, as he explained: “The poorest among us are still some of the richest in the world…The poorest among us have blessings beyond the wildest imagination of anyone that Mother Theresa visited.” So because there are others in the world with less than you, you who suffer here should stop complaining, speaketh the Good Reverend Beck. By which logic one could also have said — and many racists in those days did — that blacks in apartheid America should have stopped complaining and thanked their lucky stars they weren’t in the Belgian Congo under Leopold.

No Mr. Beck. You and yours have reclaimed nothing, for there was nothing awaiting your messianic rescue. Those who did the work of obtaining even the partially decent society in which we live today, did so with no help from those like the people who hung on your every word this weekend. And those of us who know the truth of the movement and this nation’s history — and of the descent into madness upon which some of our fellow citizens have lately embarked at your behest — will continue, as we long have, to struggle against the forces of reaction so well-represented and led by the likes of you. For your part, you will continue to race bait and to push buttons of white resentment, what with your claims that the president is only pushing health care reform as a way to obtain reparations for blacks at the expense of whites, and that his first name — or at least his insistence on using it, as opposed to some more “American-sounding” alternative — proves his lack of devotion to the country.

But it is you who lacks commitment to the valuable part of the national ideal. It is you whose slavish devotion to nostalgia — to the “good old days” of so-called “innocence,” long since lost — betrays your contempt for both history and millions of your co-countrymen and women. They remember how those good old days were days of terror and hellish oppression for the black and brown, of unchecked male domination of women, of the closet enforced on LGBT folks, of Christian hegemony at the expense of pluralism. Even today those structural injustices remain too strong, but in the days you revere and remember so fondly, they were not only present but were accepted as the very model of virtue. That is the tradition in whose shadow you stand. That is your dream, Mr. Beck: a nightmare for all who fail to live up to your white, middle class, straight and Christian ideal of what a “real American” looks like.

But we have other dreams to dream. Other dragons to slay than those at which you tilt: first and foremost, the historical amnesia you would today elevate to the level of a national sacrament. For while you were right to note that black folks don’t “own” Martin Luther King — actually no one owns anyone anymore, no thanks to the conservatives of the 19th century of course — make no mistake, it was the civil rights movement that produced him, the left that fought beside him, and it is we who will continue his work, work in which you have never played, and will never play, any part whatsoever.


31 Responses to “Farce on Washington: Glenn Beck and the Assault on Historical Memory”

  1. Hot damn! I love it when someone organizes my wild disconnected thoughts and writes them down with order, logic, and passion.
    Now excuse me while I go take my blood pressure pills.
    This is a great antidote to, “a whole lot of ugly comin’ at you from a never ending parade of stupid.” (from the movie, Hairspray, re: interracial marriage, in which state I happily am).
    John

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  2. Great essay, Tim. It’s astounding that most people don’t know half of these things that you wrote about. Beck talks about the civil rights movement was about equal justice but not social justice. The fact that he doesn’t understand that both terms are synonymous should tell the world just how ignorant he really is.

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  3. “That is the tradition in whose shadow you stand. That is your dream, Mr. Beck: a nightmare for all who fail to live up to your white, middle class, straight and Christian ideal of what a “real American” looks like.”

    You put into words what I have been feeling for that past 10 years. I am the “un-american”. An atheist, liberal, white girl who gets white privilege and recognizes the damage it does. I hear nothing but endless complaining from family members, “they get everything for free”, “stop complaining”, “blah blah reverse discrimination..”. It gets old after a while.

    I enjoy your blog and I have watched some of your videos on youtube. One of these days I will get around to reading one of your books.

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  4. Well, at least the screw-balls are out in the open.

    Excellent essay! I agree with your break-down. Thank you Tim.

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  5. Glenn Beck once said “I could give a flying crap about the political process…. We’re an entertainment company.” He is about the money and so is his opportunistic cohort, Sarah Palin. There is nothing godly or even patriotic about their words. If they truly wanted a strong nation that would have be taking measures to heal absent the divisive nature of their speeches. Stirring the pot of hatred and watching it bubble into Dollar$ for Beck and Palin does not show any desire for a truly united country.
    On a side note, I know that King’s speech is known as the “I have a Dream” Speech, but the title does so little to capture the essence of what he was saying. It was about more than a flowery let’s come together and have a Kumbya moment. He was talking about the economic plight of black people in America. I have seen nothing from either Beck or Palin that suggests that have any considerations for the economic plight of blacks or any other minorities in a America except for deport and ignore.
    It is simply a coward act to continue to propagate hate in the name of God especially for the sake of money. Beck and Palin are playing a dangerous game. Again history may repeat itself but when these chickens come home to roost the coop may not be able to hold all the excrement the chickens make.

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  6. I really liked your essay so I dug it in the hopes that others will find it. As a historian I sadly must agree that Americans have little knowledge or concern about historical realities but this nostalgia for the past may be as old as Classical Greece and almost always it has had negative consequences for societies when large numbers or mobs start believing in it.

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  7. Brilliant. Every word of this is just…amazing. Way to go, Tim. Excellent job!

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  8. It’s hard to believe that Beck-fans accept that MLK’s niece’s presence means that he would approve. His niece? Even if they didn’t know his son was at the usual, annual rally commemorating the 1963 march, I don’t understand what makes them think his niece would know his thoughts then or what he would be thinking now. Niece King even had the audacity to chide her late aunt for receiving an award from Planned Parenthood in King’s name – cause Niece King knows the man better than his wife?

    Equally if not more disturbing is that Beck-fans seem to believe MLK was the only speaker that day. That he was the originator, founder, progenitor, the sole catalyst of the Movement. Let’s just imagine that in some bizarro world where MLK really was a Republican and supported Beck’s agenda – what about all the other participants in the Movement (not just the 1963 March)? John Lewis is still alive. Shouldn’t people who wish to inherit the Movement support Lewis’s agenda?

    The most interesting, unspoken factor in all this is that the speakers in 1963, including MLK, dialed back their rhetoric so as not to offend white America’s hypersensitive sensibilities – I wonder what would’ve been said, with the exception of Lewis’s speech, had they speakers not so concerned themselves with being “acceptable.” I wonder what would’ve been said; how whites then would’ve felt about it; and, how they’d feel about it now.

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  9. I can never read this guy without laughing. It’s not just the unbearably pompous, vaingloriously wordy, “look what a great writer I am” style of writing (with all the hissy, over-the-top name-calling mixed in). It’s that style, coupled with that supercilious “I’m so much wiser than you” headshot that makes me nearly crack a rib or two.
    Look, I don’t entirely disagree with Mr. Wise about Glenn Beck. I think Beck’s a hypocrite and an ignoramus; I’m comforted by the fact that he probably doesn’t really mean a word he says. And of course Mr. Wise is entitled to his own worldview no matter how bitterly I might disagree with most of it. I do, however, get very annoyed with people who suggest that all conservatives (or all Republicans) are racists who support legally sanctioned white supremacy. Never forget that it was the Republican party that stood against slavery and for civil rights for more than a century before the Democrats co-opted Martin Luther King, Jr. (Martin, Sr. had generally leaned Republican in his political endorsements, until the Kennedys co-opted him.) Don’t talk to me about contempt for history, Mr. Wise!
    Mr. Wise is dead right when he suggests that if Beck had been operating in the 1960s, he’d have excoriated King and called him un-American. He’s also correct, I fear, that Mr. Beck is advocating some sort of unspecified coercion and social engineering. But let’s face it: Mr. Wise advocates just as much coercion and social engineering to fulfill his own agenda.
    That’s OK, that’s his business and his right. But he does his case no favors with his comically orotund style and his near-hysterical personal attacks on Beck and his supporters. In his way, Mr. Wise shows himself to be just as much a clown as Mr. Beck. Funnier, if anything.
    And, oh, my God, that headshot. I just cannot get over that headshot.

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  10. Dear Tim,

    I grew up as an apparently black person (my parents are from India) in a part of the country that breeds the kind of ignorance that you’re talking about here. I wish to goodness the people there had been able to hear you – or were able to hear you now. You say everything that my friends and I (regardless of race) have been feeling but unable to make coherent about race relations.

    Thank you for speaking up, for being a good person, and for caring.
    Ina

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  11. I must say even though Mr. Becks event on Saturday was a complete and utter joke, no one can deny the true feelings that whites have against blacks.

    I must also add something that hasn’t been really pointed out, most of the bused in where members of whats known as your mega-churches. Isn’t that something. That is a major reason why it really was much more organized than what it would have been had he really been supported by “Real American People.” And that brings me to my decision that my husband and I made to walk away totally from religion and it’s mess.

    To me it is the New GANG that exists, and all being done supposedly in the name of god. ( i made that small,considering the God that I serve and honor is in no way their type of god, one of division, hypocrocity, and just right down evil, and all for selffish, and individual gain.

    What have we become? Where is truth? What is truth?

    I believe that all churches should now have to pay taxes just like any other business considering how far and deep their involvements have been in politics. And the monies that they are currently dupping their congregations for.

    I am not a bitter person, just one who began to ask questions and seek answers and got tired of being told “just obey.” And that is what they think that they are doing for some sort of salvation.

    It’s really sad that the US has come to this, but believe it or not President Obama is a casuality of this movenment as well, and dosen’t even realize it. And what’s funny is that his own is attacking him, fiercely. WOW! His being so indecisive and wishy washy is because he wants to please them, but knows in his heart what they want just isn’t humanly right, and that we all have a choice to what God we want to serve, and what we want to believe, and that it would not be right to make everyone subcome to their mess. But he needs to bow out and gone about his business. I have lost all respect for him, already lost respect for ALL of our so called leaders, that are Black. All of it is money gain. How greedy and sad. I was always taught we were better than that.

    The black leaders of not only today, but of the last 40 years gave Mr. Beck his whacked platform. They lost sight of what was really needed, and became selffish, and greedy, and most needed titles and positions to make them whole. They began their own neopotism mess. Now those who have education not only refuse, but loudly declare that blacks who don’t go to college are in some way flawed, and are ignorant, lazy and stupid. WOW! And mind you, these are mostly, “Christians.”

    And then the question as to why especially in Chicago and other like places, the shootings won’t stop. Those kids don’t care about what those people are saying. 1. Most of those kids know the folks and their business in the neighborhood 2. Most of the adults are doing one thing and saying in the cameras another 3. All this time, they hadn’t said anything, nor done anything before, just check out the alderman and the programs that they have brought to their communities, and long had they been in office before all of the shootings began? Again, I ask you what is the truth, where is the truth?

    Yes there were blacks in Becks event, but did anyone notice the receptions that were given them and the other white participants. Just like always, blacks go along to get along, especially in the churches, as not to piss off whites. But doesn’t anyone really want to know and deal with the truth?

    Believe me when I say that I am not racist, not on purpose. Not by choice. I live in a diverse community, still mostly white, and I truly care about my neighbors, but also understand and have seen if they are challenged in any way, most whites all stand together. reguardless if its right or wrong, but if they don’t agree with other whites, they just become silent. Which as I have come to understand in this life is your subconsiously agreeing.

    I know that I have said alot, and hope that my overall point was made. If not Beck, it would and will still be another, no one respects blacks, hell do blacks respect themselves and their culture and history?

    My point is supported by the Martin Luther King, Jr.,THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION Morehouse College, Atlanta 1948 speech.

    Sixty-Two years after that speech and we still haven’t gotten it together. Will we ever? Until we love our own, not only in words, but in deeds, and not just some but all. Expect to see another, or Beck just getting worse.

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  12. Inspiring as always Mr. Wise.

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  13. (Glen Beck’s Dream) = Dr. King’s Nightmare – Jasiri X

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  14. BRAVO.

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  15. Fortunately, I missed the entire C-Span coverage of the Beck rally. Not that I cared to watch it any or anything but I was interested in seeing how it went over. So I tried to get a sense of what the rally was about, especially Beck’s speech, and I basically found nothing. I mean, after all that this will go down in history self-promotion, nothing was said or done that set the stage for anything ‘historical’ in nature.

    I’m wondering if Beck’s crowd were full of people who always wanted to be a part of one of those million [insert the group] marches in the 1990′s that followed the Million Man March but either couldn’t go or felt left out because all I can get out of what the Beck crowd showed up for and particularly what they left with was nothing more than being a part of a group that showed up on the Mall together. That’s the only thing I can figure out especially when some of his loyalists promptly repeat Beck’s spiritual renewal huckster gibberish (the Black Robe Regiment? FTW?!?).

    As hard as they tried, we just witnessed the Million White Folks March which had all the pop of a bag of fireworks that just dried out from hurricane Katrina.

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  16. Let’s see…it was those mean old white Republicans that ran the South for about a hundred years after the war between the states…and kept the black folks in low positions and trodden underfoot…oh…wait a minute…it was the white Democrats. Amazing how evil Beck and his supporters are and how wonderful Obama and the rest of the left are.

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    Tim Reply:

    no one denies the evil of the democrats during those years. I am not a democrat. The point is, the conservatives of every era have opposed civil rights and racial equity…whether demo or GOP…the civil rights movement was entirely occupied by leftists and liberals…

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  17. I thank the universe that there are people like Tim Wise speaking articulately for the rest of us folks who are so angry we can hardly think, let alone write or speak,about the racism-pretending-to-be-a-civil-rights-movement thing going on in our country at the moment. Thank you. Thank you.

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  18. Mr. Wise:

    Please do not forget that it was Sarah Palin who made the most audacious claim of all, suggesting that the best way to honor King was by celebrating those who had served in the US Armed Forces. The right has succeeded in appropriating King’s “Dream” speech for their anti-affirmative action project. But I’d be hard-pressed to see them get around his commitment to nonviolence and radical love for one’s oppressors. King has become a secular saint, and no national figure can afford to speak against him today. This disagreement around militarism, I think, opens up the starkest contrast with the Palin/Beck crowd and can wedge space between their rhetoric and King’s political activism.

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  19. “Look, I don’t entirely disagree with Mr. Wise about Glenn Beck. I think Beck’s a hypocrite and an ignoramus; I’m comforted by the fact that he probably doesn’t really mean a word he says. And of course Mr. Wise is entitled to his own worldview no matter how bitterly I might disagree with most of it. I do, however, get very annoyed with people who suggest that all conservatives (or all Republicans) are racists who support legally sanctioned white supremacy. Never forget that it was the Republican party that stood against slavery and for civil rights for more than a century before the Democrats co-opted Martin Luther King, Jr. (Martin, Sr. had generally leaned Republican in his political endorsements, until the Kennedys co-opted him.) Don’t talk to me about contempt for history, Mr. Wise!”

    Joseph and E.P.: The Republicans were the leftmost party of the 19th century, not the Democrats. They were founded with very explicitly left ideals about opposing slavery, both chattel and wage, as it demeaned the working man. This is always a silly argument that Republicans make: The party of Abraham incoln isn’t the modern Republican Party.

    Of course not all Republicans, and I wouldn’t even say a substantial minority, believe in mandated state racism. That position has been, thanks to King and his real intellectual descendants, driven from the mainstream of American society, to the benefit of both blacks and whites. The way that many, though not all, conservatives end up doing or saying racist things is generally by deploying “culture of poverty” arguments, dismissing the shared experiences of African-Americans far too quickly, or ignoring and/or denying institutional racism and its salience.

    “The black leaders of not only today, but of the last 40 years gave Mr. Beck his whacked platform. They lost sight of what was really needed, and became selffish, and greedy, and most needed titles and positions to make them whole. They began their own neopotism mess. Now those who have education not only refuse, but loudly declare that blacks who don’t go to college are in some way flawed, and are ignorant, lazy and stupid. WOW! And mind you, these are mostly, “Christians.” ”

    Ann: My experience with black churches has been entirely the opposite (though certainly people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not always rise to the highest standards). I wonder how we’d test that hypothesis…

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  20. Apparently there are a few readers who fail to grasp that earlier in the 20th century, Democrats and Republicans morphed their ideals into opposites. Those who are Democrats now would have been Republicans 100 years ago, and vice versa. So these “evil Democratic slave owners” would have perfectly aligned their views with today’s conservatives (who don’t even deserve the title of Republicans as their main goal is to destroy the republic.)

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  21. I am not angry. I am sad that we allow a foreign terrorist like Rupert Murdock to come to our shores and hire college dropouts who are better suited for a mental institution than a television program to propagandize our citizens.
    If Glenn Beck were in a mental hospital babbling this nonsense nobody would listen to him. This drug addicted alcholic is given a forum to speak on TV and our citizens actually listen and follow this idiot.
    He has no credentials as a newsman. He is not someone I admire for his brilliance and accomplishments. What has he done in life to merit the money he makes and the audience he gets?
    We are doomed to third world nationhood when we cannot tell the
    real commentators and journalists from the purveyors of hate backed by the enemy within…terrorists of the worst kind.

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  22. I was at the event with my 17-year old daughter. It was such a pleasure to be with a huge group that said their aim was to put God first. Actions speak louder than words, and this crowd was acting godly, I’ll tell you. Someone said they were bussed in by mega churches? So what? Churches have always been instrumental in social activism, from early in American history until today. We came on our own on Amtrak with no group. A tea party solutions group was on the train with us, but they had maybe 20 or 25. More were individuals or couples who wanted to combine with likeminded fellow Americans for a day of commitment. Showing up, we told ourselves and our family, friends, neighbors, and communities, was a way to speak out for traditional American values, specifically faith, hope, and charity as described by Beck. Is there a color of faith? Not anymore, thanks to the success of Dr. Martin Luther King, celebrated by hundreds of thousands on the Mall that day and by millions who watched and listened from afar. Maybe my own grandfather didn’t celebrate Dr. King, but my daughter and I do. What is wrong with that?

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    Frederic Christie Reply:

    But these mega churches are rather different from the town halls of the Puritan days. They are businesses, with vested interests in maintaining pretty powerful control over their flock, discouraging independent thought, etc.

    Frankly, thousands of people attending a rally whose fundamental premise is a lie, as admitted by the organizers of the rally and its lying and plagiarizing spokesperson, doesn’t seem very “godly” to me.

    There’s not a color of faith, but the March on Washington was NOT a march about faith, but a march about jobs, freedom and civil rights. The people marching that day did not agree with what Beck has to say, or what you guys have to say. Appropriating their name for propaganda is elementary dishonesty. You can celebrate Dr. King, but celebrate what he ACTUALLY said, not what you’d prefer he had said.

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  23. Dear Mr. Wise,

    I really appreciate the insight that you shared with us in this essay. Perhaps another aspect of this March on Washington that so blatantly disrespected Mr. King was Sarah Palin’s exhaultation of the U.S. military. She called a man who blew up over 100 Korean and Vietnamese cities a true hero, yet MLK made a full speech on the immorality of the Vietnam war. Not only did her words disrespect his insight, but they disrespected the few voices of our world today who strive for peace.

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  24. The modern Civil Rights movement was ‘shanghaied’ by the left to build a voter group. The ultimate goals are increased government control and Socialism (or worse). Anytime there is a decrease in individual freedom I’m concerned.

    The conservatives of every era have NOT opposed civil rights and racial equality. At the moment it appears that the conservatives are opposed to a situation where various minorities are given special privileges that are not allowed to the general public.

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    Tim Reply:

    @ E.P. The modern civil rights movement was always a left movement…Read King’s work, read the words of those who did the work in SNCC and other groups…your history is revisionist to the extreme.

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    Frederic Christie Reply:

    Also, as Tim keeps pointing out, it’s a racist history. Since it implies that white conservatives have clarity about how the Left is “using” blacks, but black folks don’t. This is really ironic from people who respond to being told anything about their own beliefs with wild denial and anger.

    I don’t get how you can say that “conservatives of every era have NOT opposed civil rights and racial equality”. It could be true, but you provide no evidence. You’d have to climb uphill, since conservativism is by definition about retaining the status quo and the status quo in America has always been sexist and racist…

    Also, WHAT special privileges? WHAT minorities? You guys sure are okay with corporations getting special rights above and beyond even being immortal people…

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  25. Thank you Tim Wise for speaking truth to madness. Your comments keep us mindful of where we could be if Glenn Beck were in charge. History is to be our guide for the future not tie to the future. Glenn Beck would have us repeat a nostalgic vision he glorifies but not all of history was pretty nor would we want to recapture it. Dr. King would be amazed and amused by Glenn Beck but he would also be vigilant as a champion for justice. Justice must continue. Thanks.

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  26. Amen. And Thank You

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  27. Bro. Tim, thanks for your words. I attended Rev. Al’s party on Saturday, but I seriously wanted to attend Glenn Beck’s party, just to see what it would have been like, but the last time we were around that many White people with American flags, it was a lynch mob. Since I’m unemployed, I spent all of yesterday afternoon watching both rallies on C-SPAN. Like you, I have studied The Movement for many years and I have read AND studied all of Dr. King’s speeches, before and after the “I Have A Dream Speech.”

    I am convinced that if Dr. King and Sis. Coretta were both alive, they would not be welcome at either rally. Why? As for Beck’s rally, it was a pro-war rally timed for now because anti-war sentiment is increasing among the American people, it was simply cloaked in God-talk because after all, God is an American. It also served as a fundraiser for Special Operations Warrior Foundation to give college scholarships to the children of injured or killed Special Operations soldiers. Need I say what Spec. Ops soldiers do? Very dangerous, very brutal killings, like death squads in Cen. America, their job is to seek and kill. But I admire Beck, he’s good at what he does. The conservatives out there, they are what they are; to say they are homophobic, like Alveda King, et al, oh well. And I guess neither Beck nor Alveda have read Dr. King’s speech, “Silence of Betrayal . . . Why I’m Against the Vietnam War.” Alveda probably would have prevented Sis. Coretta from getting to the stage because she thought Sis. Coretta was wrong for supporting LGBTQ human rights, gay marriage and reproductive justice, including abortion.

    Rev. Al’s rally was high spirited but sad; if you are an active part of the Civil Rights Movement, and you have competent staff, why didn’t NAN, NAACP, NUL, etc., secure the Lincolm Memorial/the Mall to commemorate the March on Washington BEFORE Beck? Knowing Dr. King’s stance on the Vietnam War, why didn’t any speakers speak against the U.S. war against Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen? Why didn’t MLK III say anything against these U.S. wars? Why are they all afraid to publicly disagree with Pres. Obama? Because he’s the first Black president and because he’s a Democrat like the rest of them? The rally was held at Dunbar H.S., after Paul Lawrence Dunbar, in the ‘hood, lots of local teachers, lots of union members, so why did Rev. Al invite Sec. of Educ. Arne Duncan there to speak? He supports charter schools, school vouchers and is leading attacks on teachers’ unions. Teachers’ unions in Chicago and California are suing this “Race to the Top” plan which is nothing more than forcing teachers to teach children to take tests, to perform like animals, not teaching them to think critically and learn, like human beings. And if you are successful in dismantling teachers’ unions, other labor unions are next. And need I mention that still, most teachers in this country are women, in many urban areas, Black women.

    No, Rev. Al’s rally was less about Dr. King and the March on Washington and more about 1) trying to defend Pres. Obama from the right wing/Tea Party folks and 2) upcoming mid term elections, the 2012 presidential and other elections, to coral us all to stay on the plantation called the Democratic Party. And lastly, at Rev. Al’s rally not one person mentioned that Aug. 28, 1955 was the date of the lynching of Emmitt Till and how his murder further spurned on Mama Rosa Parks sitting on that bus and also helped to push The Movement towards the March on Washington. For me, with the Shirley Sherrod controversy, the “dualing rallies”, etc., the male-led CRIC (Civil Rights Industrial Complex) is getting more and more corrupt, self-serving and powerless. We the people deserve better. :(

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