I'm loath to do it, but it seems like somebody here should comment on this weekend's Beckapalooza in Washington. In promoting tomorrow's "megalomania at the memorial" (OK, he didn't really call it that), Glenn Beck has thoughtfully observed that "African Americans don't own Martin Luther King" and "We are on the right side of history! We are on the side of individual freedoms and liberties and, dammit, we will reclaim the civil rights moment. We will take that movement—because we were the people who did it in the first place." Not sure who Beck's "we" is here or how they "did it," nor is it clear what they will do with it when they take it back. Use it to sell gold coins before the coming Apocalypse perhaps. Does he really imagine himself and his listening audience as somehow disenfranchised kin of the Civil Rights vanguard? Isn't it more likely that were he active today—or, better, Beck were cast back to the 1950s, a historical plane he longs to inhabit—MLK would surely be among the featured on Mr. Beck's famous chalkboard? (And BTW: when does he plan on returning that to Fulton Sheen?) That King guy sure used a lot of that social justice language Beck finds so socialistically suspect.

Beck has said divine providence (not kidding) directed his selection of Aug. 28, the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech. The Good must have a sense of humor. In case you tune in for any of the coverage on Saturday and find yourself wondering why you swallowed so many crazy pills, I thought I would offer the following antidote. Take as often as necessary until lucidity returns:

 

Comments

Vince Killoran | 8/28/2010 - 10:14am
Most of the speakers that day in 1963 spoke about economic injustice-the need for jobs programs, anti-povery assistance, etc.  A. Philip Randolph-civil rights and labor leader-was co-sponsor.

If Beck is being genuine about his reasons for  holding this even, I hope he is faithful to this message.
Stanley Kopacz | 8/28/2010 - 5:15am
Joe,

I used to enjoy William F. Buckley's exposition of his conservative ideas, though I disagreed.  I can't bring myself to listen to this blubbering histrionic buffoon Beck, and I don't. 
Beth Cioffoletti | 8/27/2010 - 6:55pm
I have never watched Glenn Beck, just seen excerpts on Jon Stewart or Colbert, so I really don't know what he's up to.  The only person I know who is a Glenn Beck "fan" is a filthy rich widow who is worried about poor people getting free healthcare and Obama raising her taxes.

But I do know that MLK was cued in to what he called the "triplets": racism, poverty, and militarism.  He knew that race is used as a means of distracting the white poor from seeing that their menial jobs and menial pay are protecting and enriching the wealth of the rich man. They don’t know who their enemy is.

My impression is that Glenn Beck is tapping into the frustration of poor whites.  Hopefully he will also tap into the wisdom of MLK.

I came across the following MLK quote in the book about Simone Weil by Robert Coles. Coles is examining Simone's attitude toward her own Jewishness ...

"For the House of Morgan, the Jews have been, maybe still are, a godsend," I once heard Martin Luther King say. He often asked himself why people misunderstand or hate others, and so doing, do themselves so much damage.

"I have begun to realize how hard it is for a lot of people to think of living without someone to look down upon, really look down upon. It is not just that they will feel cheated out of someone to hate; it is that they will be compelled to look more closely at themselves, at what they don't like in themselves. My heart goes out to people I hear called rednecks; they have little, if anything, and hate is a possession they can still call upon reliably, and it works for them. I have less charity in my heart for well-to-do and well-educated people - for their snide comments, cleverly rationalized ones, for the way they mobilize their political and even moral justifications to suit their own purposes. No one calls them to account. The Klan is their whipping boy. Someday all of us will see that when we start going after a race or a religion, a type, a region, a section of the Lord's humanity - then we're cutting into His heart, and we're bleeding badly ourselves. But then, I guess there's lots of masochism around!"

- Spoken in the course of a personal interview, January 10, 1963, in Atlanta, Georgia
Anonymous | 8/27/2010 - 6:45pm
Stanley,
Nice!  Attack someone's perceived motives rather than the arguments and ideas.  Its easier!
Stanley Kopacz | 8/27/2010 - 6:19pm
I'm sure Mr. Beck, after one of those hateful attacks, cries all the way to the deposit box.  After he started on CNN, a cheapo replacement for "The Capital Gang", I deprogrammed CNN from my satellite box and, of course, Fox "News", his present venue, was never programmed in in the first place.    It only took a minute of watching him to get the gist, and to shut him out.
Anonymous | 8/27/2010 - 4:54pm
I heard Glen Beck interview Alveta King today.  I don't ordinarily listen to Beck on the radio or watch him on TV but I tuned him in while in the car because of the controversy.  I must say that this interview made me want to tune him in more.  There was nothing in this interview that a Catholic would not be very proud to support!  Alveta King will be at the rally this weekend.  She has had hateful attacks because of her decision to attend.  She is a defender of human rights for the most defenseless of humans.  There seemed to be a sincere bond between Beck and Alveta King as they talked about some of the hateful attacks against them.
Helena Loflin | 8/27/2010 - 7:06pm
Jon Stewart made fast work of Beck last night in a segment entitled, "I Have a Scheme!"

Also, ColorOfChange.org is speerheading a "Turn Off FOX" project targeting businesses with public televisions tuned to FOX "News."  (Toxins are so bad for our environment.)

Beck is a punchline.  Tomorrow he'll be preaching to however many people the Koch brothers and their front, Freedom Works, manage to bus to D.C.