Let it be noted here, that this uppity Negro said it early on: there will be a Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin ticket in the future–very possibly in 2012. Either one as a president, although I do think Beck is a chauvinist and it would certainly be a lot for him to play second fiddle to Sarah “Plain and Tall” Palin, but that’s another issue entirely.
At worst, I am convinced that Glenn Beck will be opening a church following this stint in the media.
Okay, now that my predictions are out of the way, I want to discuss this rally that Beck held this past Saturday.
I woke up that morning already having some expectations in my head about what to expect. Honestly, I think the only reason I stayed watching the CNN live feed as long as I did was because I was anxious to see what rhetoric was Alveda King going to put out there. Yes, King of the famous Atlanta King Family with the personhood of Martin Luther King, Jr. whom Glenn Beck was attempting to pay homage to by doing this event. Additionally, I figured that since it had been played up so much in the media that I might as well tune in to see some of it.
When I tuned into the CNN live feed, I must say, I wasn’t impressed.
I just thought the backdrop would have been a bit more flashy, but it wasn’t. And I think my personal biases came to the forefront because watching the demagoguery of Glenn Beck speak literally made my skin crawl. From his speech to his small intros he had acting as what appeared to be a de facto emcee, his logic and train of thought comes off as pure stream of consciousness in oral form. But, I think that’s symptomatic of this neo-conservative and Tea Party ideals. Honestly, think of any random Sarah Palin speech, especially her exit speech at Alaska’s governor: it made ZERO sense to the thoughtful listener. It came off as a bad sermon fraught with just random catchphrases.
Yes, a sermon.
Let’s be clear, Glenn Beck dropped more theology in his speeches than Al Sharpton does in his radio program in a week (save that Prophet E. Bernard Jordan mess) on this past Saturday. This is where I get off the boat. I can’t even take Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin seriously anymore. Well, I haven’t for a very long time, but the old guard conservative stalwarts usually have something to say compared to these new fools. I’m sure the mere existence of Glenn Beck makes George Will grind his teeth at night when he’s sleep.
Then, somewhere, Glenn Beck turned a corner.
A few people remember his rants on CNN Headline News channel and I remember mentioning his name in a post, at the time he mattered about as much as CNN Rick Sanchez (who I do like though) in the grand scheme of things. His show would come on midday and he didn’t have a nightly news following. But, FoxNews clearly had their eye on him and gave him prime time. If you remember all through the election he was going off on Obama. The following are just some of the antics that Glenn Beck has graced the media with.
Okay, those were the usual dealings of Glenn Beck that we were used to, mostly sticking to calling the Democrats and Obama “communists” or “fascists” or “socialists” or suggesting that Obama was turning into Hitler with some of his proposed policies. But somewhere earlier this year, nearly two years after the debates around theology surfaced surrounding Obama’s candidacy and Jeremiah Wright, Beck launches a new tirade that does the unique blend of jingoism and American Christianity and passes it off as traditional mainline Christianity. I dare say that it is truly the religion of Americanity.
Just listen to these clips.
Glenn Beck, completely ignored the crucible in which James Cone wrote his book Black Theology and Black Power and that was the modern Civil Rights era. And of course the modern Civil Rights era can’t be understood in a vacuum devoid of the Jim Crow south, Reconstruction and slavery here in the United States, all of which Beck politely ignored in his whole invective against liberation theology. But, it’s one thing to address liberation theology from a political point of view, but Glenn Beck turned the corner and truly turned into a TV evangelist by drawing charts out about doctrines of salvation, professing his own faith, explaining to us what the cross represents and what the empty tomb represents.
This poses a problem because we live in a day and age where persons who watch Glenn Beck are more apt to allow Beck to question their pastor whom they’ve sat under for the last 10 years rather than allow their pastor to question Glenn Beck! You know why? Because just as much as Beck may criticize liberation theology for merging politics and religious thought, Beck is doing the same thing. From the moments he begins to relate God and country together for the sake of a political stance, he merely reshaping the consciousness of the gullible TV viewer to that which he wants to believe.
Aside from all of this Beck is just a religious illiterate. His rhetoric is clearly based on sheer ignorance of historical facts when it comes to general Christian history starting with the early Church and his outright dismissal of basic American history. He and Sarah Palin make the claim about the “founding fathers” establishing this country on Christian principles, which flies in the face of historical facts: Thomas Jefferson was a deist who wrote his own Bible, and was summarily elected to the presidency of the United States, and many others, including Benjamin Franklin opposed organized religion in many forms. The others were members of denominations (Lutherans, Presbyterians, Espiscopals and Congregationalist) that are by ALL accounts liberal: The Congregationalists lead to the founding of the United Church of Christ, of which current President Obama was formerly apart of; the Presbyterian Church USA is known world wide for their commitment to social justice at home and abroad; and the Episcopal church that has gay bishops.
Yup. The Founding Fathers, gotta love ‘em.
Naturally, I get scared, as your average Negro when I hear white folk talk about “going back to” or “restoring our country’s values” which are all key phrases of both Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin use. When I hear such anachronistic language or the ubiquitous invocations of the “founding fathers,” my mind goes back to a time when Africans in America were at best considered 3/5ths of a person, the Negro had no rights that the white man is bound to (thank you Justice Roger Taney, from the Dred Scott decision of 1857). And to hear Glenn Beck bloviate about liberation theology as if oppression of the masses doesn’t exist, and to watch a hankerchief head Negro like Anthony Bradley somehow act as if living in America has been a perpetual level playing field when it comes to racial matters makes my butt itch like I sat and rolled in a field of poison ivy!
We need to be aware that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and subsequent Tea Party adherents are attempting to wrest control of the mind of the masses to believe in this religion of Americanity. They want us to worship Americanity at the altars of WalMart and Wall Street. But please believe that this cult-like mentality of Americanity is fueled by the twin demons of consumerism and capitalism. What Beck is aware of is that this war of American culture as he sees it, will not be won by force, but rather by the minds. It’s a psychological warfare. Most despots know that once the fear of the “other” has been established, the masses become mere sock puppets in the hands of the dictator.
Daily, I become more and more convinced that the ilk of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the Tea Partyers want to establish a theocracy much like the Roman Catholic church prior to the Protestant Reformation, they want to have the Americanity Catholic Church where they’d reestablish the sale of indulgences which could worked out by how much you produced and therefore consumed, and ultimately reshape God in their own image for their own benefit.
Frankly, I’m a little scared.
First, I didn’t really support Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network’s protest rally on the same day. I felt that strategically it was a bad counter move. It was certainly a sacrificial pawn or two potentially opening up some moves for the opponents bishops or knights. I personally felt that by staging a protest rally against your opponent merely gives the opponent more publicity and press. I think that if Al Sharpton had staged his rally on the same day that Glenn Beck’s event would have been smaller and wouldn’t have garnered as much attention; he was the leading local news story for Friday night.
Similarly, I was more interested to watch Alveda King and her traveling band of gospel misfits who gospelized the word “unity” (sang youuuu-niteeee) and other themes about coming together, God and country all rolled into one, rather than watch the rally on a football field at Dunbar High School in NW DC. I clicked back and forth between the two live feeds and I caught snippets of notables like Ben Jealous, Ed Schultz, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Freddie Haynes saying stuff I’ve heard before, so I flipped back.
Frankly, I wasn’t impressed.
I think it was evidence of the old guard yet again missing the target. Their intentions were certainly in the right place, but this time, the execution was tactically wrong in my opinion. Additionally, I’d be very interested to know how many of the persons speaking there were under the age of 40, under 35, or even under 30. Granted this generation of 20 year olds could stand to be less apathetic, much of the problem really is failure for the old guard to step aside. Honestly, who is Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton training to replace them, who’s young?
I think the problem older blacks have is failure to properly train the younger generation and trust that they did trained them well. That is to say, once you retire, RETIRE! Go to another state and don’t come back except on holidays. Too often once the reigns get handed over, its really the same thing, Wash, rinse and repeat. Blacks in leadership positions in the black community are like a black shirt faded over time from repeated washing. It’s lost it’s luster, and it’s only doing the bare minimum. It’s still a shirt, but its a faded shirt that no longer pops when you enter a room or turns heads and garners the attention it once did. And even still, the shirt one day will wear out and develop holes and be no more than rag–what then?
What will it take for us to wake up?
Keep it uppity and keep it truthfully radical, JLL