Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial attracted huge crowds, with estimates up to 300,000+. The pictures are quite impressive. The rally was to benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a great organization that helps the families of fallen special forces with scholarships and counselling, as well as financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel.
The weeks running up to the event were filled with hysteria on the part of the neo-pravda media and particularly race-baiting huckster Al Sharpton, who had his own rally, "Reclaim the Dream" on the same day. He seems to feel that Beck was attempting to usurp MLK and the "I have a Dream" speech. This was not Beck's intent, as the actual event proves quite clearly. They acknowledged the importance of the day, and some spoke about MLK's speech and it's importance to the country, but ultimately the day was about loving and honoring our country and the troops who fight and die for us. According to some, Beck seemed to be stepping into Billy Graham's shoes, not Martin Luther King, Jr's.
The day seems to have utterly flummoxed the press. They simply don't know what to make of it. For weeks they have been lambasting Beck for his presumptions, his nerve in stepping all over MLK's dream and, of course, highlighting Sarah Palin's participation in an attempt to illustrate how ultra political and fringe-y the whole thing is. Apparently her mere presence made it a political event (what office is she running for, again?).
Because they could not attack the politics of the event (mainly because there wasn't any), they had to resort to their trusty favorite fall back position and point out the "predominantly/overwhelmingly white" audience. Interesting how none of them mention Sharpton's predominantly black audience for his rally. But that point isn't relevant or important. To hear the MSM report it, there wasn't a single minority face in Beck's entire rally, and besides, the few that were there were obviously confused/misled.
Today, the New York Times' Ross Douthat wrote an op-ed piece on Beck's rally titled "Mr. Beck Goes to Washington". This article is about as close to a grudging, backhanded compliment as a thing can be:
For a weekend, at least, Beck proved that he can conjure the thrill of a culture war without the costs of combat, and the solidarity of identity politics without any actual politics. If his influence outlasts the current election cycle, this will be the secret of his success.
The article was as fair a representation as one could hope for from the Times. No snarky comments (even though Sarah Palin was mentioned - a minor miracle in and of itself), and no mention of the overwhelming whiteness of the crowd that others are so fixated on. There was, however one paragraph that was a bit objectionable:
Similarly, one could call the rally a gross affront to the memory of King, who presumably wouldn’t have cared much for Beck’s right-wing politics. But one could also call the day a strange, unlooked-for fulfillment of King’s prophecies: 47 years after the “I Have a Dream” speech, here were tens of thousands of white conservatives roaring their approval of its author.
A "gross affront"? According to his niece, Alveda King, who spoke at the rally, Dr. King was a republican. Beyond that, as a reverend, he was a christian - a conservative christian - and as such, one would think that he might just embrace Beck's right-wing politics. One would also think that the good reverend would be happy that a huge crowd of "predominantly/overwhelmingly white" Americans who had gathered to celebrate this great country and restore the judeo-christian ethics at her heart would hail him as a hero and great American, whose teachings should be a guiding light for all Americans. What is so "strange" and "unlooked-for" about that? Isn't that what the dream was really about - the content of character, not the color of skin? One might wonder, however, at his thoughts on Sharpton's rally and march. Ms. King believes her uncle would have enjoyed Beck's rally (which is prompting critics to say she is "besmirching" his legacy), viewing it as an extension of his vision because it (via the Daily Caller):
“demonstrates the spirit of love and unity and peace.”
According to singer Lloyd Marcus:
“If Dr. King were alive today, he’d feel as if he stepped into the twilight zone,” Marcus said. “He’d feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened to my dream? And, are you telling me that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the likes of those guys now are running the civil rights movement? Oh, good Lord! What happened?’ He would be totally appalled.”
Sharpton has been at his race-baiting best. In his speech Saturday he said:
"They may have the Mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform, but we have the dream....
They want to disgrace this day, and we not giving them this day. This is OUR day and we ain't giving it away."
Which is more disgraceful - Sharpton's pitting the black community against the white in a shameless attempt to relive his glory days marching arm in arm through Washington while laying claim to a man simply based on his race - a man whose whole message was about surpassing identity politics - or a peaceful rally to honor not just Dr. King, but also the country he loved? Dr. King looked to the future - a future where race didn't matter. Rev. Sharpton's entire purpose in life seems to be a quest to highlight racial division and keep the country believing we have not moved past 1963. Unfortunately for him, race has nothing to do with it and his hystrionics merely illustrate how obsolete and out of touch he is.
This event was a defining moment in our history. There were many people who felt a vague discontent under the milder progressivism of Bush and Clinton, which became more pronounced when Barack Obama took office and embarked upon his quest to "fundamentally transform" America. It is this transformation that has people up in arms, and no matter who is driving the car, it is the inevitable transformative crash that is feared. This is not about race. This is a choice between wanting to restore this country to the judeo-christian ethics and values and dynamic free market system our founders put in place or fundamentally transforming it into an offshoot of the European Union, to freeze in time and slowly disintegrate into obscurity.
Sharpton and the media do not want to have that conversation and bring that choice to the fore, because they know they will lose. And so they bring the debate down to a level that they can get the upper hand on. Relevancy seems optional, at this point.
One final thought - isn't it amazing how those who have been squawking about tolerance for weeks now when it comes to the ground zero mosque are suddenly showing just how intolerant they really are? When it comes to Beck having a rally to stoke the fires of patriotism and love of God and country, suddenly the left is all about shutting him down and stifling his first amendment right to free speech. The intolerance over Beck's event has been overwhelming, from blatantly, transparently fraudulent and yet completely expected accusations of racism to outrage at his "usurping" MLK and his messsage of unity.
No hypocrisy here, move along, move along.