Glenn Beck’s Racism Is an Affront to MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Vision
America, the first step in your spiritual and political redemption is finally at hand.
Or so Glenn Beck would have us believe. After an eight-month build-up that began at an Orlando retirement community last November, Beck is now making the final preparations for his “Restoring Honor” rally on the National Mall, scheduled to begin early on Saturday morning with a salute and a prayer in front of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of the Fox News host’s loyal fans.
On a stage at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, Beck will headline a bevy of conservative guest speakers familiar to his radio and television audiences. Most notable among them will be Sarah Palin, whose political career received early and enthusiastic support from Beck. Despite the event’s sponsorship by the NRA, the host maintains the rally will be a “non-political” event, meant to honor American troops overseas and grounded in the nonpartisan themes of “faith, hope, and charity.”
Since Beck first announced the event, much critical attention has been paid to the date. This Saturday is the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that is also enshrined in the national mythology as one of the finest expressions of American ideals. Beck claims that the scheduling is mere coincidence. But he has eagerly claimed King’s legacy, and the meaning of Aug. 28, as his own. On the May 24 edition of his radio program, he described himself and his conservative-activist legions as “the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement”; liberals, he claimed, “are perverting it.” He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.” Two days later, he reiterated his intent to “reclaim the civil rights movement,” since “we were the people that did it in the first place.” More recently, he has described the alleged scheduling coincidence as “divine providence”—as God’s way of telling Beck he walks in King’s footsteps.