Rally 'round the what, Glenn?
I'm no apologist for Glenn Beck, but I think it's a bum rap to say he has hijacked the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech by scheduling Saturday's "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial. Beck has praised King, if not the "social gospel" that King's son insists is part of his father's legacy.
Moreover, the criticism of Beck is based on the idea that he seeks to substitute his view of race relations (and other issues) for King's. But that assumes there is a clear Beck view on offer, other than that we should honor U.S. military forces. So far the larger meaning of the event is elusive.
Don't go by what I say. Read Beck's stream-of-consciousness description of the purpose of his much-demonized rally. Some highlights:
"[H]opefully, we will mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. At least we will begin to look at those things, start to maybe challenge that we haven't valued those things high enough — honesty, integrity, merit, personal responsibility, family and God. That is why we call it the 'Restoring Honor' event."
"It's the same story whether you call it Atlantis, New Jerusalem or Zion. It is the shining example of a place where people work together in peace and friendship and worship God and make things better together. Have we even been striving for that? Have we? Make no mistake, the flame of freedom is dwindling. The shining city on the hill, the sun is setting. If you don't want it to go out on our watch, then you must stand in the blaze. The fire of truth that does not burn those who stand in it, but consumes everything that is not. Point others to the truth."
It's hard to take offense at this spiel, because it's hard to make much sense of what, exactly, Beck wants to happen in the United States of Atlantis. Maybe we'll find out Saturday.
-- Michael McGough
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