A pretty good (certainly not completely objective, but by today’s horrendous standards of objectivity pretty good) article by Mary C. Curtis sets up the dilemma of Glenn Beck’s “8/28″ rally at the Lincoln Memorial:
Glenn Beck Rally in D.C. Saturday: Honoring MLK’s Legacy — or Hijacking It?
Forty-seven years ago today, hundreds of thousands of Americans joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and witnessed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech, which summed up the hopes of generations.
Today, crowds are repeating that trek – by bus, train, car and plane — to the nation’s capital, with their own hopes and dreams about what America should stand for.
Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin — two conservative stars known more for their divisive political views than for their King-like stands for social justice — will lead Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally to pay tribute “to America’s service personnel and other upstanding citizens who embody our nation’s founding principles of integrity, truth and honor.”
At the same time, the National Action Network plans a “Reclaim the Dream” rally in Washington to honor King and the civil rights movement in its own way. Its leader, the Rev. Al Sharpton, acknowledges Beck’s right to rally, but not his claim to a part of King’s legacy.
One thing all sides and Glenn Beck himself can agree on: Beck is not Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nevertheless, when Beck and Palin speak to a crowd gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, just like that day in 1963, the symbolism will be unmistakable.
Cindy Spyker, who is driving a group of 10 from Charlotte, N.C, has been to Washington before, for the 9/12 taxpayer rally last year and the protest of the health care reform bill. A member of CAUTION (Common Americans United to Inspire Our Nation)
, she said Beck is “one of the very few people willing to say what needs to be said, whether people like it or not. America was created on Christian-Judeo values.” The country has “turned away from faith,” she said, and “has to get back to principles like honor.” Spyker, 51, said of today’s rally: “Of course, it’s not so much the civil rights thing. What he’s trying to get across — content of character — is not about what we look like. It’s about who we are and how do we conduct ourselves, especially when people aren’t watching.”
Marette Parker will be taking a bus from Charlotte to a different Washington destination. Parker, 42, who is organizing a North Carolina chapter of National Action Network, is attending the group’s rally, starting at Dunbar High School and followed by a march to the site of the proposed King Memorial, which she said is “long overdue.”
Parker said that if King were alive today, he would “be proud that times have changed,” but would be saddened by problems that still exist. “We all have to come together as a community,” she said, “to mentor and motivate our young people.” She thinks Beck’s rally is “trying to hijack this particular day and steal media coverage,” she said. “We can’t let this happen.”
On his radio show Wednesday, Beck said: “I know that people are going to hammer me because they’re going to say, ‘It’s no Martin Luther King speech.’ Of course it’s not Martin Luther King. You think I’m Martin Luther King?” He said he has prepared only a few talking points so he doesn’t get in the way of “the spirit.” Though he has said the date wasn’t chosen with the anniversary in mind, when he found out he called the coincidence “divine providence.”
Whites “do not own” the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, and “blacks don’t own Martin Luther King,” Beck said on his show in June. “Not only is the event non-political, we have continuously encouraged those attending to avoid bringing political signs, political flyers, ‘I heart the RNC’ T-shirts and other similar partisan paraphernalia. There are plenty of opportunities to talk about politics. This isn’t one of them.”
Like I said, Mary Curtis did fine. Her only display of bias is her describing Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin as harboring “divisive political views” without characterizing Al Sharpton the same way. Because I can guarantee you that conservatives find Sharpton’s views every iota as divisive as liberals find Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin’s. But I can live with that.
What I can’t live with is the notion that Glenn Beck has “hijacked” Martin Luther King, whether he intended to make the great civil rights leader a major part of his event or not.
So-called black “civil rights leaders” are arguing that Glenn Beck has no right to hold his August 28 event in front of the Lincoln Memorial because that hearkens us to Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech. And that hijacks the legacy of Martin Luther King – who was black.
But if that’s the case, then Martin Luther King himself was hijacking the legacy of Abraham Lincoln – who was white. Glenn Beck hit that one out of the park.
For those lefties who argue that Glenn Beck should be banned from “hijacking” King not because of race, but because of ideas, then conservatives can argue that King STILL hijacked Lincoln. Because Abraham Lincoln didn’t stand for the radical race-based crap that the left argues that Martin Luther King epitomized.
The greatness of both Lincoln and King was that they transcended their race and became moral heroes of every people of every color and even every creed.
And like it or not, Glenn Beck has as much right to appeal to Martin Luther King as any black person does. And it’s frankly racist to argue otherwise.
And speaking of racism, how would blacks have reacted had whites staged a counter-event to compete with, say, Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March? You don’t think there would have been cries of outrage? Yet that’s basically what Al Sharpton did today.
One of the interesting issues underlying this debate about “hijacking” comes from the most famous lines in King’s speech:
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
For the most part, that last line almost seems to be an embarrassment of the pseudo civil rights movement of today. Maybe Martin Luther King said it, but he didn’t really mean it. And conservatives are determined to hold the civil rights movement accountable to that standard.
As the pro-liberal and pro-Democrat so-called “civil rights leaders” denounce Glenn Beck and conservatives, which side is guilty of refusing to make “the color of their skin” the primary issue?
Allow me to quote myself:
I am beyond sick of this crap. Where’s the CONGRESSIONAL WHITE CAUCUS that dedicates itself to securing political benefits for white people, and blacks be damned??? Where’s the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WHITE PEOPLE that is operating with prestige and acclaim??? Where are the HISTORICALLY WHITE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES that exist to educate white students rather than black students??? Where’s the UNITED CAUCASIAN COLLEGE FUND that exists to give scholarships to white students for the sake of being white??? Where’s the NATIONAL WHITE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE to secure business opportunities for white people against black people???
Hey, let me ask a more compelling question, given the occupant of the White House: where’s the national major white Republican politician who spent 20-odd years in a “church” that espoused a commitment to the white value system, which entails a commitment to the white community, a commitment to white self-determination, a commitment to the white family, a commitment to white education, a commitment to the white workforce, a commitment to the white ethic, a commitment to white progress, a commitment to support white institutions, and a commitment to pledge allegiance to all white leadership?
It’s not simply that liberals aren’t advancing a color-blind society; it’s that all they see is color, and they rabidly fixate on color and use color as an ideological weapon in every single imaginable way they can.
And, yeah, for the record, I’m just as sick of this crap now as I was back then.
One of the things that made Martin Luther King a transcendent figure was the fact that he straddled more than just a far left ideology. He reached out and touched ALL people of ALL races. Frankly, if he didn’t do so, he really isn’t all that great of a figure.
Some of what King said touched white people. That was why his movement was ultimately so successful. And why shouldn’t the white Americans who changed their views because of that movement be banned from it now?
The so-called “civil rights leaders” of today don’t want America to know how profoundly racist the Democrat Party has been throughout its history. And they certainly don’t want you to know how rabidly racist and even rabidly anti-Martin Luther King the “spiritual mentor” of Barack Obama was.
But here’s a quote from Jeremiah Wright:
The civil-rights movement, Wright said, was never about racial equality: “It was always about becoming white . . . to master what [they] do.” Martin Luther King, he said, was misguided for advocating nonviolence among his people, “born in the oven of America.”
And why does Jeremiah Wright – Barack Obama’s pastor and spiritual mentor for more than twenty years – so despise Martin Luther King? Because Martin Luther King wanted racial equality, and an emphasis on individual character. Whereas so-called “civil rights leaders” like Jeremiah Wright want the emphasis to be on race-based preferential treatment apart from personal character.
But at least Jeremiah Wright – bigot that he is – had the integrity to honestly represent Martin Luther King’s primary message. In that, he is far more honest than men like Al Sharpton, who dance around it with racial rhetoric, but never land on the heart of King’s message. Sharpton will give equality with one finger, and then immediately take it away with the other hand.
The fact of the matter is that Martin Luther King was a registered Republican, as was his father before him. And the fact of the matter is that:
During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation. Much is made of Democrat President Harry Truman’s issuing an Executive Order in 1948 to desegregate the military. Not mentioned is the fact that it was Eisenhower who actually took action to effectively end segregation in the military.
Democrat President John F. Kennedy is lauded as a proponent of civil rights. However, Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator, as did Democrat Sen. Al Gore Sr. And after he became President, Kennedy was opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King that was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican. President Kennedy, through his brother Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Communist in order to undermine Dr. King.
In March of 1968, while referring to Dr. King’s leaving Memphis, Tenn., after riots broke out where a teenager was killed, Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, called Dr. King a “trouble-maker” who starts trouble, but runs like a coward after trouble is ignited. A few weeks later, Dr. King returned to Memphis and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Not many people today – black or white – know that we would have had a powerful Civil Rights Act in 1957, but that Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, Sr., Robert Byrd, and other Democrats opposed it. The mainstream media propagandists have really done their job well.
Nor do they know that the often-lauded 1964 Civil Rights Act was largely the result of Republicans’ efforts and support:
Mindful of how Democrat opposition had forced the Republicans to weaken their 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts, President Johnson warned Democrats in Congress that this time it was all or nothing. To ensure support from Republicans, he had to promise them that he would not accept any weakening of the bill and also that he would publicly credit our Party for its role in securing congressional approval. Johnson played no direct role in the legislative fight, so that it would not be perceived as a partisan struggle. There was no doubt that the House of Representatives would pass the bill.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Everett Dirksen had little trouble rounding up the votes of most Republicans, and former presidential candidate Richard Nixon also lobbied hard for the bill. Senate Majority Leader Michael Mansfield and Senator Hubert Humphrey led the Democrat drive for passage, while the chief opponents were Democrat Senators Sam Ervin, of later Watergate fame, Albert Gore Sr., and Robert Byrd. Senator Byrd, a former Klansman whom Democrats still call “the conscience of the Senate”, filibustered against the civil rights bill for fourteen straight hours before the final vote. The House of Representatives passed the bill by 289 to 126, a vote in which 79% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats voted yes. The Senate vote was 73 to 27, with 21 Democrats and only 6 Republicans voting no. President Johnson signed the new Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.
Liberals have fought long and hard for racial quotas and preferential treatment for blacks. But the greatest civil rights leader of all was fundamentally opposed to them.
Let’s listen to Frederick Douglass, escaped slave and greatest of all champions of civil rights, has to say:
Frederick Douglass ridiculed the idea of racial quotas, as suggested by Martin Delany, as “absurd as a matter of practice,” noting that it implied blacks “should constitute one-eighth of the poets, statesmen, scholars, authors and philosophers.” Douglass emphasized that “natural equality is a very different thing from practical equality; and…though men may be potentially equal, circumstances may for a time cause the most striking inequalities.” On another occasion, in opposing “special efforts” for the black freedmen, Douglass argued that they “might ‘serve to keep up very prejudices, which it is so desirable to banish’ by promoting an image of blacks as privileged wards of the state.”
So, as a Republican, exactly why is it that I should be banned for life from honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, and why can’t I explain what aspect of his message won my support?
Al Sharpton and those who decry Glenn Beck as “hijacking” Martin Luther King are profoundly wrong for insinuating that nothing Martin Luther King preached supported the Republicans’ message. Especially when King himself was a Republican when he was teaching those things; and especially when it was Republicans who were hearing his message and responding to the changes he urged on America.
And for the record, given the fact that Glenn Beck specifically focused on honoring our heroic troops and the tremendous Special Operations Warrior Foundation (go here to donate), it’s all the more despicable that demagogic ideologues such as Al Sharpton would demonize it.
I’ll guarantee you whose side our SEALs Delta Force, and other Special Operations warriors are on, whose children will be provided for if they fall fighting for this nation because of Glenn Beck’s event today. Beck raised more than $5 million today.
Update, August 30: Al Sharpton said this about Glenn Beck:
“They want to disgrace this day and we’re not giving them this day. This is our day and we ain’t giving it away,” said Revered Al Sharpton. He and other civil rights leaders staged a separate rally nearby to mark the dream speech anniversary.
A day for “us.” Black people. And specifically, only black people who think like Al Sharpton.
The only racist bigot who “disgraced this day” was Al Sharpton and those who think like him.