Monday, August 30, 2010

America's been Becked

Well America, do you feel transformed? I know I don't.
For that is what Glenn Beck, Fox News' mad prophet promised us. He told us a miracle would take place during his "Restoring Honor," rally last Saturday, and I wanted my freaking miracle!. Did the Potomac part so all of those Tea Baggers could scurry across into Virginia so they wouldn't see any black people? No, it did not. Did the heavens break open and God's voice come down to anoint Beck as the new chosen one? No, God didn't show up. Probably didn't want to upstage Sarah Palin, as it is common knowledge God is a Republican and wouldn't want to diminish her chances in 2012 (please run for president Sarah... Please!). Did Jesus step up to the stage and embrace Glenn as his new buddy and official spokesperson? Nope. Beck took that upon himself, letting us know that God speaks through him, in between sales pitches for Goldline doubloons.
Beck later insisted that a flock of geese flying overhead at the beginning of the rally was sent from God, and was his miracle since they'd been trying to get the air force to do the same thing for over a year and they wouldn't do it.
As Bill Press pointed out, if a flock of geese flying overhead is a miracle sent from God, then Washington D.C. must be one of the holiest places on the planet.
Beck had stated that 200 years from now we would be able to look back at this rally and say to ourselves this was the point that America turned back toward it's "traditional values," and began the process of "restoring it's honor." I doubt if anyone will remember the event 200 hours from now.
The scene was the National Mall in Washington D.C., the steps of the Lincoln Memorial specifically. The exact spot that 47 years previously the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Had a Dream," speech, which aimed to end racial segregation in public schools; laws prohibiting racial discrimination in employment, protection from the police for civil rights workers, and a $2.00 federally mandated minimum wage, among other things.
Beck states he choose August 28th arbitrarily without realizing it was the anniversary of MLK's most famous speech. Mr. Beck is a liar. Choosing that date automatically insured he would receive untold publicity which is exactly what happened. The day after the rally was announced progressive radio talk show hosts like Bill Press were rightfully outraged at Beck's blatant attempt to piggyback on Rev. Kings' memory and name, and spoke about the intended rally at length, even going so far as attempting to get the National Park Service to revoke Beck's permit to gather at the Lincoln Memorial (Beck didn't even have a permit until last Thursday). Beck needed publicity, and the media gave it to him.
Dr. Kings' March on Washington drew somewhere between 200,000 (police estimate) mostly black (75 to 80%) followers to 300,000 (leaders of the march). How many of Beck's Tea Bag lemmings were bused into D.C. for Saturday's affair (and I must be fair here, because I am a fair person, damn it! People were bused into the city in 1963 as well)?
Well the Park Service and police don't estimate crowd sizes anymore after being criticized for possible errors in the past, so... it's anyones guess really, but...
CBS, the television network, not the Calvary Baptist theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, hired a company to take pictures of the rally from fixed balloons, then took those pictures and gridded them out into little squares to count people in a somewhat methodical manner, and estimated 87,000 showed up, with a margin of error of 9,000, so anywhere from 78,000 to 96,000 attended the rally.
Nobody else thought to do that. NBC Nightly News estimated the number of people in attendance as “tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands” (wow! Talk about pinning it down). ABC somehow came up with, “the rally has attracted more than 100,000 people.” Fox News estimated the crowd at over 500,000. And not to be out done, certifiable Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who held her own rally after Beck's (is she actually too crazy for Glenn Beck?! 1,000 crazier people showed up for her) soliciting campaign donations, made this pronouncement: "We're not going to let anyone get away with saying there were less than a million here today – because we were witnesses."
Beck himself most likely made the most accurate statement concerning the size of the crowd while addressing them, "I have just gotten word from the media that there are over 1,000 people here today.”
Quite the jokster that Glenn. Yeah, there were at least 1,000 there, that's for sure.
Who were these people? Why were they there? What did they want? What did Beck give them?
They were mostly white, "overwhelmingly" white the Washington Post reported. Many said they were afraid the country was going in the wrong direction, with the advances in health care coverage for more Americans and all. Restrictions on Wall Street skullduggery... that's just big government, and they didn't want big government, because big government would undoubtedly interfere in their lives some how, like providing for the common good, build roads, defend the nation, fund scientific research, attempt to regulate those unscrupulous businesses that would do us harm just to make a buck. They don't want that... except when it comes to their medicare or Social Security payments, then its okay (I won't even mention that those programs are socialist... won't mention it at all). They say they're very concerned about the amount of spending the federal government has been doing under President Obama, and they're worried about the deficit. Why? How does federal spending (which actually helps during a recession), or a federal deficit of any magnitude affect the average person's daily life? What do those concerns mean when trying to get a job? Being in a recession, or "economic downturn" as the administration would claim, does affect available jobs, so why campaign against tactics that have been proven to spur the economy and create jobs (such as infusion of cash into the economy by the federal government)? If I didn't know any better I'd say they were being coached by Fox News and the Republican Party. Not only that, they're being coached to ignore their own best interests, something the Republicans are particularly adept at doing.
And if I had to guess I'd say most of these people were not unemployed, or on Social Security already, and using Medicare.
When asked what specifically they want to see changed and why, very little direct information is given, just generalities, "things have got to change," and "Obama must go." Some were worried about taxes going up despite available evidence to the contrary.
What did they come to see?
Sarah Palin told the crowd, "We must restore America and restore her honor," before paying tribute to some personnel from the armed forces... which didn't have anything to do with the rally, but why let that dampen the continuing fervor over... what? Who knows? I sure don't. They weren't exactly clear about what they were all worked up about at the "Restoring Honor," rally.
And Beck himself... he came off like something out of "Elmer Gantry." Actually that story comes pretty close to describing Mr. Beck and his sermon on the mount on the Lincoln steps.
He ordered the crowd to "recognize your place to the creator. Realize that he is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us." He asked his audience to pray more. "I ask, not only if you would pray on your knees, but pray on your knees but with your door open for your children to see."
What does injecting religion into... I don't know, I guess they're talking about politics, and "traditional American values" (like separation of church and state?), things like that, have to do with... anything?
I want to know one thing though, one thing that the name of the rally implies, and that I've asked myself and have heard others ask on some of the radio programs that I listen to. When exactly did America lose it's honor?
Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff appeared on "The Ed Show" Thursday, and he asked the very same question.
"My question is, when did America lose that honor? Did we lose that honor when we invaded Iraq for nonexistent WMD? Did we lose the honor when we opened Guantanamo, when we allowed extraordinary rendition? Did we lose the honor when we said water boarding wasn't torture? Or maybe did we lose our honor when Glenn Beck said the President of the United States had a deep-seated hatred for white people?
"Because if it was those things," Sekoff added, "he's a little late to the game."

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