Beck rally is poisonous for America
For anyone who may not watch television, heavily browse Facebook, or have an unhealthy appetite for frenzy, it might come as news to you that Glenn Beck held a rally recently to “Celebrate America’s heroes and heritage” officially known as the Restoring Honor Rally. It took place Aug. 28 at the Lincoln Memorial, the same day and location of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech. Beck reported this as a coincidence, something many civil rights leaders rightly did not buy.
Celebrating heroes and heritage is great, but after heavy inspection and scrutiny, this seems more like a “get heavily political-religious-extremists riled up about fringe politics” rally. Tea party members were well represented; former Alaska governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was present, and Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King Jr.) made an appearance, among others.
No chalk board to draw out contrived “connect the dots” illustrations (Beck‘s preferred style of explanation) is necessary; let’s put two and two together. Beck held a supposedly non-political and non-religious rally (and co-hosted the “Divine Destiny inspirational patriotic meeting” with David Barton at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts the day before) supposedly to honor America’s heritage.
He had Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 Presidential candidate as a guest; for most of the rally the message was, according to Beck, about “Restoring America and its honor,” and, “America today begins to turn back to God.”
Out of the sheer irony of possibly inspiring a conspiracy theory, can’t you see what is going on here? I think we all know whom Beck is going to endorse for presidency in 2012.
It’s not reassuring that he is garnering the support of thousands of voters, some of who may be UH students and can easily point them in any direction he wants. The situation where an obscenely popular person sways the opinions of overeager and frighteningly unquestioning listeners isn’t a situation where you can close your eyes and expect it all to go away on its own.
The problem is, Beck’s also a bit of a fear-mongerer. He excels at stirring up emotions of the extreme variety through paranoid conspiracy theories, occasional audience baiting, and the frequent reference to divine mandates from God.
This is not a positive aspect for someone who has a radio show, a television program, and owns a media company. What is potentially dangerous is that Beck is exaggerating truth in the hopes of gaining support of millions; this is not something that should be left unchecked.
If they were serious about putting aside differences, Republicans and Democrats would have been working together for months — if not years — and partisanship amongst both parties would be the norm.
This obviously is not the case. Since Beck loves to take quotes from founding fathers and remove them from context as much as possible, I’m sure this quote from Benjamin Franklin will be appropriate:
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
David Haydon Is a political science junior and may be reached at [email protected]