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