Glenn Beck: The White Knight Who Rode into Washington DC on an Ass
By Fahim A. Knight-El
The social commentator Glenn Beck stepped outside of his familiar role as a television social critic and radio commentator and jumped onto the big stage calling a march on Washington. This writer initially wasn't going to waste his time analyzing and assessing Beck’s event, but it appears the corporate media is continually trying to give him and his event credibility. (Reference: Glenn Beck YouTube Clip Lincoln Memorial Speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47V-dpiLM78).
This writer started officially blogging December 2007 and this article will represent my one hundredth (100) article and I had something a little different in mind which to commemorate this small feat. But as a writer who enjoys exercising critical thinking, I found it difficult to pass on giving my two cents commentary on the Glenn Beck fiasco. There are a lot more pressing issues of importance in America, which are impacting the political, economic and social landscape of a sin sick nation than me scrutinizing Beck. However, this writer was somewhat initially intrigued by the messenger Glenn Beck and his message because often the true climate and sentiments of the dominant society are to be found in the rhetoric and message of these fringe movements and organizations. (Reference: YouTube Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtH7vH4yRcY).
Beck's stage persona at the Lincoln Memorial was a bit toned down from his usual rightwing and outlandish bully pulpit facade of spewing hate and divisive politics (Beck on this day appeared more diplomatic and conciliatory). He on this occasion cloth himself in a messianic garment—evoking God, religion, Bible, etc. This appeared to be a strange tactic and strategy by Beck; may be it was the Tea Party's way of reaching out to the religious right and using this forum as a measure of political consensus building, in particular as they look down the road to the presidential elections of 2012.
Beck's new spiritual evangelical decoy lacked conviction and passion. If you are going to profess religion and appear as a televangelist, he should have taken some lessons from Reverend Joel Osteen and/or Reverend T.D. Jakes on how to convey the principles of religious hustle (religious hustle is old and reliable trade, it has made many of the clergy rich and wealthy) and be effective doing so. Also if this is going to be Beck's new public approach he needed to at least take some theology and divinity courses in which to learn how to better package religious con. There are some effective ministers who could teach him all the tricks of the trade.
But Beck did say that he was short of money as his rally neared and with emotions he said he put it in the Lord's hands and like a good hustler from the pulpit he informed his congregation (I meant Tea Party constituents) that the Lord sent him a five to six million dollars blessing (he did not reveal who the donor was).
Beck understands that white America is dissatisfied and he has tapped into their dissatisfaction (only one hundred percent dissatisfaction can bring out about one hundred percent change) and they are ready to listen to anyone whom they believe can offer a solution to America's problems. Beck and the conservative gang desire for us to believe that America's problems started with the election of America's first black president and is requiring us to overlook the eight dismal years of President George W. Bush reign.
This writer is neither a democrat nor republican, I have no respect for the American electoral process, it has always been a sham and it allows the ignorant masses to believe and think that they are part of a participatory democratic process (American electoral process is controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberger group). This statement qualifies my position and it allows my readers to be assured that I have no political bias or party affiliations. I have come to know and understand that the ballot and vote even in a so-called Democratic society is predetermined by the Invisible Rulers).
This writer, in his writings have been very critical of President Obama's administration and does not get a pass from me just because his skin is black and is hailed as the first African American president. But conservatives have this selective amnesia when it comes to exercising short term memory, in particular when it requires them to recall and take ownership of all the political, economic and social mess and wayward direction that President George W. Bush left our nation at the end of his presidential term.
The national deficit doubled under Bush from five trillion dollars to over twelve trillion, deregulated the govern rules for Wall Street (this contributed to the collapsing of America and world's economic markets) and Bush led us into two wars with the Islamic world—Iraq and Afghanistan (both were orchestrated to further enrich the Bush and Cheney clans with oil and dope money). Thus, many have just come to the realization that Bush left the American people with one of the worst economies in almost 80 years, which was not seen since the Great Depression of 1929. Glenn Beck up until this past Saturday wanted the American people to believe that President Obama was responsible for America's economic woes.
Also I was a bit confused about Beck's theme "Restoring Honor" I guess the premise of the theme was given to be rooted in the "pristine" values (exemplified in liberty and freedom) espoused by the patriotic principles of our nation's founding fathers. There is a deep seated nostalgic belief held amongst some Americans that the best ideological prototype of patriotism was imbued in those Americans who fought and died as patriots in the American Revolutionary War of 1776 and gallantly declared our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which led to America's sovereignty. The establishment of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 embodies what American freedom means to the heart and soul of the compatriot and it is these historical events which many flag-wavers draw their inspiration.
But I as a so-called African American know that many of the Founding Fathers of the United States were slaveholders and this, in my opinion, is inconsistent with their historical and modern moral interpretations of valuing freedom and independence above all else. Yet at the same time these great patriotic American Statesmen did not value freedom for the millions of Africans (black folk) who were deemed Chattel Slaves (drawers of water and hewers of wood); this included our nations first president George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. (Reference: Glenn Beck on Dr. Martin Luther King and the Founding Fathers: (Reference: YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm3vS5YxGws&feature=related).
Beck galvanized the white disenchanted and I think that even he was surprised that over one hundred thousand or more white citizens (as the cameras scanned his massive crowd, I did not see much racial diversity present) heard his clarion call and traveled from various parts of the country to this venue in Washington DC. Beck had teased them on FOX Television and on his syndicated radio broadcast by inciting them and appealing to their raw emotions that something was un-American about the political direction our nation was headed; thus, characterizing our commander-in-chief as being a racist and socialist. He fed his constituency enough venom to create a cesspool of political poison to inject every white American with lethal dosages of high potent manipulation and deception (interpreted to mean just blame blacks and Latinos for all the problems plaguing America). (Reference: Tim Wise YouTube Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UJlNRODZHA).
Beck stated that when he picked the date of August 28 to hold his rally he did not realize that it was the date and place that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. perhaps delivered his most defining "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial. At least that is what Beck wanted us to believe and it was difficult for me to accept Beck's word that it was an innocent mistake based on his volatile, contentious and antagonistic history toward people of color; I did not find his explanation believable. Beck who is a professed Mormon (raised as a Roman Catholic left his upbringing religious denomination in 1999), a religious cult, (yet he has the audacity to question whether or not President Obama is a Muslim or Christian).
Beck did try to reckon with his perception of Obama’s theological worldview by prefacing it as being a theology of liberation. Jesus Christ taught a liberation theology—he condemned the oppressor Pontius Pilate and the Roman Government and his message was designed to liberate those who were oppressed. Beck doesn’t understand that whenever there is an oppressor and oppressed, it creates an antagonistic contradiction which has always justified the necessity for a liberation theology.
Perhaps Beck wasn't required to study African American history because the Mormon's Patriarch and founder Joseph Smith taught from the Bible that blacks were inferior and up until the 1970s (this type theology perhaps appealed to Beck’s conservatism) it was taught by the Mormons that black skin was cursed and inheritably evil. Dr. Daniel Poling, religious editor of the National Educational Association stated: "The essential Mormon interpretation of the Old Testament asserts that the African race descended from Cain. For his crime against his brother, Abel, a 'mark' was put upon Cain. Mormon theology teaches the idea that the 'mark' was a black skin. Thus, the skin color of blacks through all history is enough to condemn them on sight."
"Mormon doctrine lists another strike against the black community. According to their belief, the spiritual ancestors of black people failed to perform properly in their pre-existent state. In what Mormons call the 'War of Heavens' (in which Lucifer and about one-third of the hosts of heaven were cast down) some groups took a neutral position during this celestial conflict. Mormons are taught that these despised neutrals are the spirits that have inherited black people now living on earth." (Reference: C. Eric Lincoln; “Race, Religion, and the Continuing American Dilemma”; p. 149).
They were not permitted to hold priesthood positions in the church of Latter-Day Saints. Doesn't this theology sound similar to the teachings of the Knights of Ku Klux Klan? Perhaps Beck, the ex-substance abuser and drug addict was so delusionary in his civic and social studies classes that he missed that part of American history (the Civil Rights movement and the fight for desegregation). If so then his political ignorance and negligence are excusable relative to him usurping the date of one of America's great icons.
Let me come out with both gun barrels drawn and point them not just at Beck, but at the so-called big three Civil Rights leaders and organizations—Al Sharpton (National Action Network), Benjamin Jealous (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People—NAACP), and Marc Morial (National Urban League). How in the hell did black Civil Rights leaders allow this self-proclaimed prophet, Glenn Beck to hijack the historical setting of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., March on Washington, which was held forty-seven years ago at the Lincoln Memorial? (Reference: Al Sharpton on YouTube Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyo1bGDruoI).
However, if nothing else this writer supported Glenn Beck and the Tea Party’s cavalry having the right to peacefully assemble any place they please because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution grants them that right as American citizens. Thus, that much of Beck's agenda I was in total agreement (and would have stood shoulder to shoulder with him clinching the U.S. Constitution); he had every legal right to assemble at the Lincoln Memorial, although in black America's minds this date and place (August 28 at Lincoln Memorial) have always been reserved for the King March on Washington celebration.
This writer does not claim to know much about the process of securing a permit which to lock an event in on the mall grounds, but I am quite sure the United States Park Service and the bureaucratic entities have stringent criteria and mandates for organizations looking to assemble on the grounds of the capitol. I do not think Dwight E. Pettiford is still the chief of the U.S. Park Service police, but he spent many years on Durham, North Carolina city police department and may be he could have given me some insight on the process.
Glenn Beck and his backers evidently pulled the permit before Al Sharpton and the black Civil Rights organizers in which to hold their "Restoring Honor" rally on August 28. This writer was looking for criticism from black pundits who should have lambasted Sharpton, Jealous and Morial for derelict in duty for not doing their organizational due diligence to insure that the commemoration of Dr. King's day relative to the March on Washington would be honored in the true spirit of the march (only the Lincoln Memorial could have sufficed the spirit of the original intent) because I do not know if you can separate the historical symbolism (the setting and plot) from the message and the big meeting that Dr. King, A. Phillip Randolph, Roy Wilkins and Bayard Rustin called into existence in 1963.
Many black critics jumped all over Beck for intentionally attempting to co-opt the spirit of the Civil Rights movement, but very few had the courage to criticize these so-called black leaders for allowing Beck to sneak underneath them and embarrassed them by beating them to the permit. No one took any blame—Sharpton, Jealous, Morial, etc., had pie all over their faces that this white boy was standing where they should have been; giving an incoherent and rambling speech about American values. Beck doesn’t realize that what the conservative acclaim as American values are more rooted in mysticism of Freemasonry than the notion of Christianity because most of the Founding Fathers were Masons who had transcended the Christian faith and understood that the Supreme Deity was seen more complete in the context of the principles associated with the Occult, Esoteric and Gnostics teachings.
But lets be clear, Beck may be have stolen a day and got away with—he will never measure up to the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; King after that speech left a nation mesmerized and eventually forced a nation to come the grips with remedying some of the past injustices inflicted on African Americans by forcing congress to enacting two of the most important pieces of legislation in modern U.S. history, which was the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and 1965 Voting Rights Bill. Beck even went a step further he invited the slain civil rights leader’s niece, Alveda King as one of his speakers on the dais and what one must understand is that blood doesn’t necessarily validate whether or not family would embrace the struggle or betray struggle of a family member who was considered to be an iconic leader and figure in America history.
Beck was smart enough to hire some good black gospel and spiritual singers and must say the music was good, but it was overshadowed by what should have been taking place on that date, place and time and it left a sense of emptiness inside of me to see Beck standing there defining the American dream. Beck had a feel good session and nothing tangible evolved from the "Restoring Honor" rally; oh he did mention that this was a day to honor I guess falling American heroes who were part of special forces operations (I wonder how much of that six million dollars or more that Beck collected will he donate directly to military families).
I don’t know if the rally completely satisfied the red meat urge of Beck’s constituents and it appeared to have left the good ole boys not fully charged, after all many of them came to hear a fire and brimstone talk that would be full of racist antidotes and political cynicism.
Adam Serwer of the American Prospect is a guest blogger at the Plum Line Blog at www.washintonpost.com stated: "All of which invites the question of why liberals wrung their hands so publically over Beck's spectacle, as though this event might actually dwarf the 1963 March on Washington in terms of historical and political significance. At this point, it's obvious that Beck's stunts have a self-conscious hint of irony to them. His increasingly messianic self-conception and his outsize comparisons between himself and important American figures seem deliberately designed to make liberals issue angry public denunciations, which only increase his profile and solidify his stature in the conservative movement, where Pissing Off Liberals is actually more important than anything else. He's figured out how this hustle works. What I don't understand is why liberals keep indulging him with their outrage."
The 1963 march on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was for Jobs and Freedom and forty-seven years later we are still asking our former slave master's children for jobs and freedom in 2010. Some of us are still looking towards the federal government to save us and we think that we have a sense of entitlement. Sharpton and the Civil Rights marchers convened at the historical Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Washington, DC (the first black public high school in America) where syndicated talk show host Joe Madison served as the master of ceremony. I listened to a slew of preachers mount the rostrum and none of them offered any solutions to the 400 year old problem confronting America, which is the black dilemma. They were all reflecting on the "I have a Dream" speech and I was saying to my eleven year old daughter they needed to wake the hell up and move beyond what Dr. King said forty-seven years ago and demonstrate the ability to be proactive.
Dr. King grew in his analysis of the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968 many of these Negroes who are professing King today rebuked him and condemned him for viewing the Civil Rights struggle as not just a national struggle, but an international struggle. Why haven't black leadership created jobs and industry for their own people and stop this begging the government for assistance and handouts?
Sharpton, Jealous, and Morial these Negroes live lavish petit-bourgeois life styles and it is insane to be pushing for a government sponsored jobs bill forty-seven years after King (what lessons have we learned since Dr. King’s assassination) and have failed to embrace the concept of doing for-self. The Civil Rights movement has to move beyond the symbolic image of Dr. King and the commemoration of great speeches in which year after year do nothing but continue to beg the United States Government for food, clothing and shelter.
Sharpton has positioned himself as the self-proclaimed leader of black America and yet he let Glenn Beck out maneuver him and really out maneuvered forty to sixty million African Americans and there he stood on August 28 at Lincoln Memorial delivering his “I have a scam” speech. Beck knew this was the date and place King gave his monumental speech, but this was a way of being disrespectful towards the history and culture of African American people. His ultimate objective was to create a frenzy and controversy amongst his Tea Party loyalist. Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity are really the new faces and voices of the conservative movement in America.
It is they who are molding and shaping the conservative political framework better than the National Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele. Let’s be for real there are very few Republican leaders that can galvanize close to one hundred thousand persons at a mass rally. Beck is not even considered to be a legitimate political voice and yet this television news host has demonstrated that he is a voice to be reckoned with in American politics. That doesn’t say much about the state of American politics or may be just to the contrary, it speaks volumes about who the real conservative players are.
Fahim A. Knight-El Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-EL can be reached at fahimknight@ yahoo.com.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight-El