28 August 2010

Why Glenn Beck is Right (Meaning Correct, Not Just Reactionary)

Glenn Beck speaks at his 'Restoring Honor' rally in front of
the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010
(Image © AP Photo/Alex Brandon).

I never thought I'd say it, but here goes. Glenn Beck is right! Reviving the message of Martin Luther King , Jr. would indeed go considerable distance toward restoring honor to America.

Unfortunately, Beck fails to grasp the implications of his call; MLK Jr.'s message entails radical politics of just the sort that he and his reactionary followers would find appalling. After all, King preached a message of progressive political-economic reform. For instance, he demanded a universal guaranteed income to directly address the widespread poverty that plagued the U.S. in the 1960s and continues to do so today. He also spoke and acted in solidarity with striking workers - indeed, he was shot in Memphis where he had traveled to support the demands of sanitation workers seeking to exercise their right to form a union. King also spoke eloquently against American military aggression in Viet Nam; his message on that score translates more or less seamlessly to our current disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, let the Merry Becksters re-orient their politics to accommodate King's message. We'd all be much better off.

The fact that those on the left are so pre-occupied with the resonance of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, suggests that they too ought to look more closely at Dr. King's message. He did not stand for freedom and civil rights in the abstract, but for freedom deeply embedded in circumstances of solidarity and justice and peace and equality.

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Blogger Ian said...


29 August, 2010 05:14  
Blogger Randy H said...

In yesterday's Times, Ross Douhat tried to put a positive spin on Beckstock by characterizing it as a rally for conservative, middle-class religious people. I suppose I have no problem with that--take out the "conservative," and define "religious" loosely, and that would include me.

The limiters in the description are what take the rally away from Dr. King's message. Dr. King's message was one of solidarity. He spoke of inclusion--"all God's children" would be able to sing of America the Beautiful. A rally defined by political-economic-religious criteria is not for "all God's children," it is about a circumscribed "us." We're taking America "back," and making it "ours" again. The rest of God's children are not our concern.

31 August, 2010 13:28  
Blogger Tom White said...

We can all agree on the ideal, it's the process used to get there that we humans seem to be unable to agree on...

01 September, 2010 12:52  

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