…that Glenn Beck was a lot more palatable, mostly because he hadn’t been born yet.
Right now, thousands are in Washington D.C. attending Beck’s Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial. The event is shrouded in controversy due to the fact that Beck — whose racial-acceptance track record isn’t exactly spotless — scheduled the event for the same location and date that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
I’ve kept quiet about this, mostly because a lot of people in the public eye have done a great job of showcasing the ridiculousness of Beck’s stunt scheduling. However, leave it to Jon Stewart, who delivered the most delicious and on-target skewering, to once again outdo the mainstream media and make me feel the need to toss my two cents into the fountain of fury directed at Beck.
I might be late on this but here it is: Maybe we shouldn’t be mad about the Glenn Beck rally. To get angry over it is to give it power. There’s no way anything that happens today is going to be even partially as iconic, moving or memorable (or articulate, for that matter) than what happened at the Lincoln Memorial 47 years ago.
I was really mad about Beck decision to have the rally there on that date with an appearance from the Queen of the Mama Grizzlies herself. My anger only boiled higher as the event drew near. But, finally, after watching Stewart’s takedown, I got it: None of this matters. Just as us tokens out there define ourselves first so no one else can, I’m choosing to take the power out of Beck’s hands.
Let’s be honest, are our children going to read history books years from now that devote text to the Restoring Honor rally? Maybe, if the Texas Board of Education has its way, but probably not. The odds are, the rally will be nothing more than a really good story with no staying power, and we’ll be mentioning it in the same breath as Mel Gibson and Montana Fishburne. At best, today’s rally will be fodder for the inevitable VH1 special, “I Love the ’10s.”
I’m glad people in the media are upset and have pointed out how insensitive Beck has been not only to history, Dr. King’s legacy and the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Beck is using highly coded racial language (“African-Americans don’t own Martin Luther King” and various mentions of taking back the Civil Rights Movement…hmmm, just like the Tea Partiers are taking back America from the black president, yes?) to stir ire. But I’m taking a stand. I’m not letting it work. We’ve recognized, we’ve ridiculed, we’ve wretched; and now it’s time to move on.
According to Stewart’s segment on “The Daily Show,” Beck at first claimed he had no idea he’d scheduled his rally for the same date and location as the March on Washington. Stewart says that’s entirely plausible. It is plausible, I just don’t think it’s what happened. I think Beck’s claim is intellectually dishonest. He knew exactly what he was doing, knew he’d get press for it, and things have worked out well for him.
It may seem hypocritical to blog almost 800 words on how I don’t care about something, but you can’t ignore something unless you’ve recognized it first. Otherwise, you’re not ignoring it, you’re just ignorant of it, much like how Beck “didn’t realize” the March on Washington occurred on August 28, 1963. Maybe Beck is ignorant. Or maybe he’s bothered by Dr. King’s legacy and how synonymous today’s date is with civil rights. Perhaps Beck is so furious over how intrinsically linked Dr. King is with the word “honor,” that Beck decided to try and leech some of that credibility. Maybe Beck would’ve been better off not conceding Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement all of that power. Maybe the strongest statement Beck could’ve made against our “racist president” and his “Marxist” ways would’ve been to remain silent.