Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beck's rally

According to the New York Times' coverage of the Glenn Beck-organized rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:


“Something that is beyond man is happening,” Mr. Beck said in opening the event as the crowd thronged near the memorial grounds. “America today begins to turn back to God.”


Let's clear up something here, Mr. Beck: I'm an American, and you don't speak for me.

Don't trouble to deny that you would like nothing better than for non-Christians to be a despised minority in this country. If you genuinely believed in the truly positive, uplifting aspects of Christianity, you would not prate on about how "others" hate this nation. You spend so much time harping on hate, you are totally blind to the need for constructive bridge-building between the groups you seek to set against one another. You don't seek mutual understanding. You don't seek understanding at all, in fact. You desire nothing except self-aggrandizement and the stoking of fear -- fear of "the other," whatever or whomever that might be according to your needs of the moment.

This nation achieved greatness in spite of opportunistic con men like you. The values you espouse are not those of "the Founding Fathers." They had an expansive vision of what this nation could be, fueled by the best in human nature and human creativity. What is your vision? As far as I can tell, you want to return to a vision of the country as it never was: a nation of white Protestant families living tidily suburban lives, just like the image presented by '50s sitcoms. Gays, blacks, Muslims, atheists, liberals -- they have no place in your vision. "The other" is simply not supposed to be part of your grandiose fantasy.

You play to simple people's desire for simple, simplistic answers to the question, "What's wrong with the world and how can we fix it?" You try to pass yourself off as merely a voice for the downtrodden, for the overlooked, for the self-proclaimed, self-styled "victims" of the modern age.

Please.

Your followers are confused and scared by the world. However, they're not victims.

The world is complex. It's not black-and-white. It's the product of billions of people with competing visions. In some of those visions, America is the enemy. But if you start off with the premise that "they" are all out to get "us," you can kiss the possibility of finding friends goodbye. And if you spit in the eyes of your neighbors -- the people who live in other states, other towns, other houses, including the ones literally next door -- if you preemptively declare that the vision of America you seek to create has no room for these people, you are helping to destroy this nation. That's you, Mr. Beck. You, and the millions who have, in their fear and their anger and their confusion, embraced your vicious, divisive vision.

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