The tens of thousands of almost exclusively white Beck fans who traveled to DC to hear nothing they haven’t heard before from the self-proclaimed Rodeo Clown must wonder what THAT was all about … and they should be wondering why on earth they paid to be a part of it. (Hint: you fed one man’s enormous ego.) Was it enough to gather and know that others shared your beliefs in ‘death panels’ and ‘Obama is a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya’ and ‘FEMA camps’ and ‘tax cuts for the rich will create jobs’?
Here are some things to ponder about this utter obscenity of an event that was Beck’s Divide Divine Destiny / Restoring Honor / “reclaiming” civil rights without talking once about CIVIL RIGHTS (i.e. remember when white men couldn’t vote or had to drink from segregated water fountains or didn’t earn as much as women or minorities?) / etc etc:
- Beck’s fans love MLK, because Beck “rented it” — so there! (the Lincoln Memorial location or the anniversary of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech — or both, I suppose).
- Restoring Honor: “Honor” is a wingnut code word that defines the term in the same way that the old Confederacy defined the term. And when paired with the word “restoration” it is a call for a return to an American rooted in the White Supremacy of the Confederacy.
- 87,000 Rubes: But what about the Special Operations Warrior Foundation donations? It turns out that everyone who donated money yesterday were tricked. Shocker. All of the estimated $5.5 million in donations are earmarked to pay for the event first and the troops get the leftovers. So most of that money pays for Beck’s ego-stroking and if there’s any money that falls into the seat cushions of Beck’s limo, well that money goes to the SOWF. Nice. How do we know this? The fine print buried at the bottom of the official Glenn Beck website: “All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will be retained by SOWF.”
- It was a religious event – of course! Religion = politics to fundamentalists: The emerging media narrative on Glenn Beck’s rally is that it was a “religious” event, not a “political” event: Glenn Beck Leads Religious Rally at Lincoln Memorial. But they’re completely missing the point. In this context, there’s no distinction between “religion” and “politics.” The extreme right wing religious views promoted by Beck, David Barton, and Sarah Palin are their politics.
- American Theocracy: Patrick Sadowski, wearing a polo shirt with eagles and stars and stripes, said that he belongs to the Constitution Party, because “I feel the Republicans and the Democrats are the same people who own all the horses in the race.” He said that he favors candidates of any party as long as they are “biblically based.”
- Divine Yawn: The Glenn Beck fans on my subway car after today’s rally were a subdued bunch. They didn’t seem energized by having spent time with their idol and many thousands of fellow fans. Why not?
- Not a political event. Whether officially a tea party event or no, tea party infrastructure [was] heavily involved in the rally’s promotion, logistics, and attendance. (So was Freedomworks.)
- Facts always have a librul bias: The right-wing blogosphere reports that 500,000 people showed up to Beck’s MLK-appropriation rally. The mainstream media has a slightly different count. But don’t let facts fool you – obviously the only numbers that matter are the ones that we make up out of thin air. Besides, 87,000 people is actually pretty good for a rally organized by a radio talking head turned Fox news messiah. Really, it’s quite sizable compared to many other cults.
- Now THIS is a huge crowd!
- Snoring Honor: [Beck] started weeping while telling the crowd that somewhere out there was “the next George Washington”. Dunno about you, but when I saw pan shots of the crowd — which was one of the whitest crowds in D.C. in recent memory — I mostly thought I saw “the next Timothy McVeigh.” But your mileage may vary.
Movements — real movements that make a difference and stand the test of time — are about more than buzz words, television personalities, and self-aggrandizement. Change — transformational change that sets nations on new courses — is more than vague, shallow promises about “freedom.”
Labor unions created a movement. Women’s suffrage was a movement. The fight for civil rights is a movement. The ongoing struggle for equality for gays and lesbians is a movement. In each case, the grievance was as clear as the solution. There was no mystery as to what these patriots were fighting for. Their struggles and successes made the nation stronger, better, and more perfect.
The folks who gathered in D.C. today were awfully excited about something. The fact that it’s not altogether obvious what that might be probably isn’t a good sign.
UPDATE ** What Reason TV saw at the Beck rally: