Sep 8, 2010

Beck and King, pt. 4: Book or Nothing

The more I read about this rally, alps on alps arise.  There's just so much to cover, so much that needs to be said that it is frankly beyond my capacity to say it all.  Much as it pains me to admit it, I've taken on a project that is beyond me: I could write a book on this and still not be done.

I could contrast the moral courage of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the face of actual persecution to Glenn Beck's paranoid rantings about people coming for him (apparently he failed to stand up for the communists and the labor unions so there's no one left to stand up for him), and the ludicrous extreme to which he took it.

I could criticize a bunch of white people who, feeling disenfranchised during the administration of a black man, held a rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's greatest speech.*

I could compare Beck's execration of "socialism" (by which he means the government doing anything he doesn't like) to King's view that:
We must develop a program that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation, as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual's ability and talents. And, in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We've come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operations of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will.

I could talk about his support for the racist dog-whistle of states' rights, made all the more damning by his criticisms of the 14th amendment regarding rights of brown people.

I could point out his dishonest gold schemes as a way of casting aspersions on his character.

I could blast Beck's Second Amendment persecution fetish and the signs that show up at Tea Parties as diametrically opposed to the principles of nonviolence articulated by King:
The other thing is that I am concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice. I'm concerned about brotherhood. I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about these, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate. Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that.

I could mention that Beck believes himself says that he believes himself to be at the start of another Great Awakening, mentioning as spiritual forebear one George Whitefield, a man partially responsible for the re-introduction of slavery in Georgia.

I could simply throw up my hands in surrender and nitpick the difference between 'held' and 'beheld' because the horrific juxtaposition of Beck and King broke my mind.

I could share other perspectives, and reflect on the creepy sense I got from studying all this that Beck and company actually seemed to sincerely admire King despite the manifold contradictions involved in that.  A vast chasm has been fixed between the two, but Beck, in some small corner of his deluded brain, has looked at King and had an inkling that here is something admirable, and there may be hope in that.

There are a hundred more topics besides just these, a hundred contradictions and observations.  I can't possibly cover them all, and since researching Beck in particular and the Tea Party in general makes me bounce back and forth between disbelieving laughter, gut-clenching fear, frothing rage, and heartsickness, I call it quits.

There is one more thing to be said, but since this entry has grown too long already I'll save it for the next one and then be done.

*Of course it's possible to disagree with Obama's policies and decisions.  I myself disagree with quite a few.  But when the first black man elected president loses the white vote with a jaw-dropping disparity relative to the popular vote and suddenly thousands and thousands of white people come out of the woodwork yelling things like "restore America!", "take our country back!", "states' rights!" and "screw the 14th Amendment!" ... well, there's only so many places you can go with that, and none of them are pretty.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. look, i don't have a problem with commenters posting links to relevant stuff, even relevant stuff that they've written--i do that myself. i do, however, object to a random stranger spamming a link to a conspiracy site that's only tangentially related to the topic at hand.

    I don't know if MLK Jr's assassination was a conspiracy, but granted that I can't do anything with the knowledge, acquiring it isn't worth the countless hours of sifting through evidence, argument, and counter-argument that a well-informed opinion on the subject would require.